This week Microsoft has released their 12th overall development build as they continue work on the expected seventh feature update for Windows 10. That feature update, known by its code name 19H1, is expected in the March/April 2019 time frame.

These early builds give us some indication where Microsoft might be headed with this upcoming release when it comes to features, capabilities, and other tweaks to the operating system. As they have with past builds, it seems the Windows team is focused on the user interface and additional security enhancements.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any plans for big feature updates however, with everyone still waiting on the re-release of the October 2018 Update, I imagine the engineers in Redmond are waiting to unveil those until after they get the delayed sixth feature update out to end users. Of course, this is assuming that there are going to be big feature changes to this feature update.

It is possible, based on the challenges with recent feature updates and the monthly cumulative updates, that Microsoft might choose to focus on fit and finish with the 19H1 update instead.

Until then, we can keep an eye on what work is being done in the 19H1 development branch and this weeks build, 18277, has a handful of UI tweaks among the updates.

Action Center

In past versions of Windows 10, in order to change the brightness of your screen, you had to make sure a Quick Action tile was placed in your Action Center and then you clicked on that to change the level of brightness. There was usually four options for brightness in this configuration.

In Build 18277, Microsoft has replaced the Quick Action tile with a slider that appears below the Quick Action tiles when you are using the expanded view. Now you can have much finer control over the brightness of your screen rather than just four incremental options.

In addition to the new brightness slider, Microsoft has now given end users the ability to edit their Quick Action tiles layout. Just right click when viewing the Action Center and select Edit. You can then drag and drop the tiles in your preferred order and click on the pin to remove ones you do not need. There is an Add option at the bottom of this edit area to insert additional Quick Action tiles you want access to in the Action Center.

Unfortunately, at least for right now, the brightness slider is only visible when the Quick Action tiles view is expanded and there is no option to place this slider above the tiles. I think these would be two tweaks that would further enhance this UI enhancement.

Scaling of Apps

Microsoft introduced this setting in December of last year in order to help users deal with various scaling issues that caused apps to appear blurry. In Build 18277, Microsoft is now flipping this to on by default so that blurry apps are dealt with automatically by Windows 10.

Focus Assist

A new automatic rule has been added to Focus Assist in Build 18277 that allows you to keep notification toasts from appearing on screen when you have apps open in full screen mode. This setting is not on my default so you need to toggle that switch if you want to use this rule.

For anyone who presents from their Windows 10 device, this will be one more step that will help with preventing those notification interruptions during any full screen presentations/demos.

Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG)

For those of you on Windows 10 Pro, WDAG is available and can give you a protected browsing environment that is sand-boxed from the rest of your system.

A new setting to WDAG in Build 18277 allows the user to control access to their camera and microphone when using WDAG in Microsoft Edge. 

Note: Your Camera and Microphone must be enabled in Windows Settings > Privacy > CameraWindows Settings > Privacy > Microphone in order to use this new option. Your system must be 64 bit, have at least a 4 core CPU, and have 8 GB of RAM.

To activate WDAG and access this setting follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security
  2. Under the App & browser control > Isolated browsing settings, click on Install Windows Defender Application Guard
  3. Once the Windows Features dialog opens, scroll down to Windows Defender Application Guard and click the checkbox. 
  4. Click OK and this feature will be added to your system and a progress dialog will appear on screen. Note: A reboot is required once the installation is complete.
  5. After the reboot, head back to Windows Security > App & browser control > Isolated browsing and click on the Change Application Guard settings.
  6. On the Application Guard settings page you can now toggle access to your camera and microphone during WDAG browsing sessions. You will also find other options to control access to the data downloaded while browsing, copy and paste, printing files, and advanced graphics options.

I have all theses screens in sequence below as part of the screenshot gallery to visually show you the sequence.

Emoji 12

A new batch of emoji are being worked on for the Windows 10 19H1 feature update and they can be accessed using the “WINDOWS KEY + .” keyboard shortcut.

Changes, Improvements, and Fixes

There are 22 documented issues addressed in this build and a handful of known issues, so be sure to take a close look at the release notes for Build 18277 as you install/test the new setup. 

The Windows team is also expanding access to the Cortana and Amazon Alexa integration so if you want to test that out use the short survey to let them know you are interested. A link to that survey is in the release notes.

Windows 10 19H1 Build 18277 Screenshot Gallery