On Thursday, Microsoft released a new Technical Preview of Windows 10, adding new features and screen options and coming one step closer to finishing the operating system, which is due to be released this summer.
Build 10061 is available to users on the “fast track” of the Windows 10 insider program, who get bleeding-edge releases but run a greater risk of encountering bugs and glitches that haven’t yet been ironed out of the software.
The biggest addition in this Technical Preview is a redesigned mail application, which now allows users to quickly switch between their e-mail and their calendars so it’s easy to set up appointments and confirm plans.
Since Windows 10 is meant to run on touchscreen devices as well as traditional laptops and desktops, users can set different swiping gestures to delete or move e-mails, and the new mail app also adds a slew of new formatting features for changing the fonts and colors of e-mails.
The new build of Windows 10 also makes some enhancements to the user interface. One of Microsoft’s goals for Windows 10 is to make an operating system that runs well on computers, tablets, and phones alike. (Windows 8 was meant to achieve the same thing, but was criticized for a tablet-centric design that didn’t always work well on laptops and desktops.) This time around, Microsoft is building a more flexible OS that adjusts to different devices and screen sizes.
Windows 10 contains a Tablet Mode, which now increases the size and spacing of certain elements on the screen so they’re easier to tap with a finger, and removes some items on the taskbar to give you as much screen real estate as possible. The new Windows 10 build also includes virtual desktops – swappable screens that simulate having multiple displays hooked up to the device – and a Task View that shows small previews of all open windows, similar to the way a smart phone does.
Microsoft has said that the final version of Windows 10 will be released this summer, and though the company hasn’t announced a specific date yet, a comment by AMD chief executive officer Lisa Su last week suggests that the software will be available for download by the end of July. Windows 10 will be free for anyone currently running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 on their computer or tablet. Those operating systems together account for about three-quarters of all the Windows machines out there, although there are still quite a few computers running Windows XP, which was released in 2001, and Windows Vista, which was released in 2007.