Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17101 for Fast & Build 17604 for Skip Ahead

Hello Windows Insiders!

Today, we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17101 (RS4) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. We are also releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17604 (RS5) to Windows Insiders who have opted into Skip Ahead.

Flighting to Skip Ahead

Right now our focus is on stabilization for RS4. As part of the stabilization process, we have “forked” RS4 into its own branch called “RS4_RELEASE” just like we did with RS2 and RS3. Going forward – RS4 builds will come from the RS4_RELEASE branch. This also means that we intend to release new RS4 builds to Insiders more quickly to both the Fast and Slow rings as these builds we include mostly bug fixes.

In RS3, we experimented with the idea of flighting two different releases at the same time with something we called Skip Ahead. A subset of Insiders were able to choose to “skip ahead” to the next release of Windows 10 and receive builds from RS4 while we were finishing up RS3. That experiment went well as our engineering teams benefited from the early feedback. So we’re going to do it again!

A subset of Insiders were able to choose to “skip ahead” to the next release of Windows 10 and receive builds from RS5 while we were finishing up RS4.

Up until today – Insiders who opted into Skip Ahead previously were receiving the same exact RS4 builds as Insiders in the Fast ring since Build 17017. Skip Ahead never “turned off” and many Insiders remained in Skip Ahead since joining at the beginning of RS4. Starting today – Windows Insiders who opted into Skip Ahead will now start receiving new builds for RS5 which is our next Windows 10 release. These builds will come from the RS_PRERELEASE branch.

We are only allowing a small subset of Insiders in the Fast ring to opt in to Skip Ahead as we still need Insiders to hammer on RS4. Because many Insiders who opted in last time remained in Skip Ahead, the limit for Skip Ahead has already been met. This means that if you are not already in Skip Ahead, you will see the Skip Ahead option under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program greyed out. If we open Skip Ahead up for more Insiders, we’ll let you know. However once we’ve finished RS4, we will move everyone in the Fast ring back to the RS_PRERELEASE branch and then the Fast ring and Skip Ahead will be back to receiving the same builds again.

Please be aware that builds from RS_PRERELEASE will get less stable as teams start checking in new code. So, things will likely be a little rough as they normally are at the beginning of the development cycle for a new Windows 10 release. If this concerns you or makes you uncomfortable, you may want to consider opting out of Skip Ahead and simply wait for the Fast ring to transition back to RS_PRERELEASE down the road.

What’s new in Build 17101 & Build 17604

Input Improvements

Emoji design updates: Based on your feedback and to improve consistency, we’ve made adjustments to the design of some of our emoji. Examples of updated emoji include:

Before:
Before emoji update.

After:

After emoji update.

Emoji search comes to more languages: Earlier in RS4, we updated the Emoji Panel to support browsing and picking emoji in many new locales. With today’s build, we’re bringing search support to more locales too! Now you can find an emoji by keyword in over 150 locales, including English (Great Britain), French (France), German (Germany), Spanish (Spain), and more. This will help you get the emoji you want easily and quickly. As a reminder, to bring up the Emoji Panel set focus to a text field and press WIN + (period) or WIN + (semicolon).

Emoji Panel in view above Sticky Notes, with the text “chat” in French searching for cat emoji

Windows App Permissions

UWP File System Access: With this build we’re giving you more control so you can now decide which UWP apps can access your full file system. Particular UWP apps will be granted permission to have broad file system access. This capability will be granted on a per app basis by Microsoft. If a UWP app has the broad file system access restricted capability, you will receive a consent dialog prompting you to accept or deny the request. If at any time you change your mind about the decision, you can go to Settings > Privacy where you’ll find a new Settings page for File System Access. On this page, you can turn access on or off globally, and if it’s on you can also turn it on or off for each app that has requested the capability. UWPs with broad file system access will not appear in the Photos, Videos, or Documents privacy settings pages. If you grant broad file system access, this includes Photos, Videos and Documents.

New features for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Last year, as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s update, we announced a new edition of Windows designed for demanding mission critical scenarios targeting advanced users. As part of RS4, we are adding two more features for our most advanced users running these mission critical scenarios:

A new power scheme – Ultimate Performance: Demanding workloads on workstations always desire more performance. As part of our effort to provide the absolute maximum performance we’re introducing a new power policy called Ultimate Performance. Windows has developed key areas where performance and efficiency tradeoffs are made in the OS. Over time, we’ve amassed a collection of settings which allow the OS to quickly tune the behavior based on user preference, policy, underlying hardware or workload.

This new policy builds on the current High-Performance policy, and it goes a step further to eliminate micro-latencies associated with fine grained power management techniques. The Ultimate Performance Power plan is selectable either by an OEM on new systems or selectable by a user. To do so, you can go to Control Panel and navigate to Power Options under Hardware and Sound (you can also “run” Powercfg.cpl). Just like other power policies in Windows, the contents of the Ultimate Performance policy can be customized.

The Ultimate Performance Power plan is selectable either by an OEM on new systems or selectable by a user. To do so, you can go to Control Panel and navigate to Power Options under Hardware and Sound (you can also “run” Powercfg.cpl).

As the power scheme is geared towards reducing micro-latencies it may directly impact hardware; and consume more power than the default balanced plan. The Ultimate Performance power policy is currently not available on battery powered systems.

We’ll continue to tune and evaluate the power plan settings. To submit feedback please use the Feedback Hub and file your feedback under Power & Battery > Setting category.

Productivity focused out of box applications: In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the out of box experience for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations draws from the Pro edition of Windows 10. One area where this is noticeable is the suite of applications installed out of the box visible as tiles in the start menu. In the next release for Windows, you will see for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations productivity and enterprise focused applications in place of consumer applications and games. This was one of the top feedback shared with us by our partners and users and we’re delivering this in our next update.

In the next release for Windows, you will see for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations productivity and enterprise focused applications in place of consumer applications and games.

If you’re a Windows Insider running the Workstation or Enterprise edition, you can see these features in Builds 17079 or greater.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC (Build 17101)

Known issues (Build 17101)

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC (Build 17604)

Known issues (Build 17604)

Introducing the Windows App Preview Program

We’re making it easier to try out the latest app updates with Insider Preview builds with the new Windows App Preview Program. We heard feedback from Windows Insiders that having to opt-in to Skip Ahead to receive the latest app updates wasn’t ideal as it required Insiders to also be on super-early and sometimes unstable builds of the OS. Insiders told us they wanted to be able to try out the latest app updates but be on the latest Insider Preview builds from the Fast, Slow, and Release Preview rings. Now through the Windows App Preview Program, Insiders in any ring can opt-in to preview individual apps.

Insiders can opt-in to previews for the following first-wave of apps:

To opt-in to a preview for an app just go to the Settings or About page of the app and click the “Join preview” button. If the limit has been met for that app preview for the app you will get a notification on clicking the button and as more slots open up you can join the preview. Additionally, if you need to leave an app preview you can do so by also going to the Settings or About page and clicking the “Leave preview” button. These apps are rolling out previews in the next few days, so keep checking the app Settings/About page!

o opt-in to a preview for an app just go to the Settings or About page of the app and click the “Join preview” button.

If you are an Insider who has already opted into Skip Ahead – you don’t need opt-in to preview these apps. We will continue to push the latest app updates to you just like before.

Right now, the Windows App Preview Program is available to Windows Insiders. We will be looking at the feedback we receive from Insiders with the goal of evolving the Windows App Preview Program over time.

No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona <3