In what is very likely one of the last couple of builds for 2018, Microsoft released an unexpected Monday flight of Windows 10 after missing a release last week due to an issue with the intended test build.

That issue is apparently solved in Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18298 and Windows Insiders were caught off guard when the rare early week flight landed on their test devices. This build continues the fit and finish direction of past builds, there have been 15 19H1 builds released this development cycle, and it appears a lot of work has gone towards addressing known issues in this release as well.

The release notes for Build 18298 have all the full details, but I poked around and grabbed a few screenshots, see the gallery below, that highlight some of the more visual changes in this release.

Here’s are some of the tweaks made in this build:

  • When Microsoft unveiled the Windows Light theme for this 19H1 feature update, they stated work was needed on some of the icons in order to help with their appearance on the lighter taskbar. In Build 18298, they have given the File Explorer icon a touchup to add a little darker color in that effort. When you see that image in the gallery below, a sample of my Taskbar in Build 18290 is shown below a shot of the same Taskbar area in Build 18298. It is very easy to see the difference when they are stacked like that in the image.
  • The Snip & Sketch app has been updated and all Windows Insiders will now be getting the active Windows snip and border options with this build. Microsoft stated the feedback has been good on these new features and so the A/B testing is ending so that all testers can try the new features out. For me, this means I am going to phase out the Snipping Tool but I still want to see the option to automatically save snips at some point.
  • A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft announced support for passwordless sign-in to your Microsoft Account on Windows 10 using Windows Hello or compatible security keys such as those from YubiCo and Feitian Technology. At that time you had to go to the Microsoft Account website’s security section to add these physical keys. In Build 18298, that option is now directly available on the Windows Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options page.
  • On the Start Menu you can now unpin entire folders/groups in one action rather than the previously tedious process of removing tiles one at a time until they are all gone to remove the entire group. Just right click on the group title header to get the removal option.
  • Notepad continues to see updates in 19h1 and this build they have added an indicator to show whether or not your text file has unsaved changes or not. If there are changes to be saved, you will see an asterisk in front of the file name in the Notepad title bar. The Notepad team has also added a direct feedback link to the Help menu. New keyboard shortcuts have also been added for opening new instances of Notepad (CTRL + SHIFT + N), opening the Save as dialog (CTRL + SHIFT + S), and closing the current Notepad window (CTRL + W).
  • Feedback Hub has received an update with more detailed settings options and a Feedback Hub Preview program that you can join. Checking for updates is located directly in the app under the About information.

In addition to these visual changes highlighted above, there was also work done on the following areas in Build 18298:

  • Touch keyboard improvements to speed up typing and accuracy.
  • Console updates including additional settings/experimental features.
  • Narrator improvements including updates to Narrator Home, new verbosity levels, reading URLs command, and easier table reading. Check out the long list of updates in the release notes.
  • Ease of Access updates for bigger and brighter cursors.
  • Updates to the Windows 10 Setup Experience when installing from ISO.
  • Windows Update reboot indicator on Power button on Start Menu to make you aware of a needed restart after the installation of certain updates.
  • Game bar updates are also rolling out to all Windows 10 users including Insiders and those on production releases.

There are 30 general changes, improvements, and fixes listed in the release notes for this build and nine known issues.

As I mentioned at the top of this story, I think this is one of the last couple of builds for 2018. My hunch is that we will see one additional build late this week and then one next week to wrap up the year’s development cycle. Microsoft goes into an unofficial hiatus over the holidays, so that means we will not likely see a build in the new year until around mid-January.

Of course, this is all beta testing so anything, including the inclusion of the changes we have pointed out in this story, could change at some point before this feature update is released in the March/April 2019 timeframe. 

Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18298 Screenshot Gallery

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