Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider team at Microsoft, has taken to the Windows blog to announce another software update, this time Windows 10 build 17074.

There’s plenty of new features in build 17074, including reimagined Windows internationalization, Microsoft Edge improvements, Windows Shell improvements, Windows Settings improvements, input Improvements, Handwriting Recognition Updates, and loads of other general changes, other improvements, and some bug fixes that make it better than the last version of Windows as well.

Microsoft Edge has seen a plethora of changes in build 17074 so let’s get started with explaining what they are first.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Hub Improvements: The Edge Hub now shows full names down the left side pane in Navigation view without anything needing to be cut off. You can also collapse this view if you don’t want the full names and would prefer to save space. The Hub now also comes with more content available for you to select, plus makes it easier to navigate than it was before. With navigation still being one of the main reasons people prefer using Google Chrome, that is a good thing. Hopefully, over time Microsoft continues to make Edge more practical to navigate than it currently is, without it crossing the border of copying Chrome, which I assume is its main dilemma that they are trying so desperately to avoid. The most notable change you’ll see is now the chance to get access to your saved favorites from the hub, which does make it more like Chrome, while at the same time still having the Favorites button. Perhaps Microsoft is going to monitor how much success this move has, and then they might remove the favorites button in future updates if more people seem to be interacting with it from the Hub.

Web Forum Autofill Cards: If you’re browsing web forums that require a credit/debit card payment, you can now expect to find Microsoft Edge helping you remember those card details for you after you’ve filled them out at least once. The real value of this is for all the forums you visit and need to pay using your cards after the first one. When you’re filling out your card information for the first time, you’ll be prompted by Microsoft Edge and asked whether or not you would like to save the information for future reference. While Edge will save your card information, it still won’t save the CVV code on the back so others won’t be able to buy things with your details should they ever try. For that reason, you’ll still need to have your card with you, or remember what your CVV code is, when you want to shop at these forums—and keeping it from prying eyes is now just as important, too.

Overhaul for EPUB, PDF, and Reading View: If you’re just getting started with reading from your mobile devices, laptops or desktops, then you should have found out by now about the Kindle app, which can be installed on all three types of computers. What you might not be aware as of yet, however, is that you can also open those books and read them directly from your web browsers instead, provided that they are in the right file format. Opening an eBook with the Microsoft Edge web browser to date has been a pretty good experience but it also just got even better, with PDF and EPUB file types, plus the traditional Reading View that comes native, getting a new reading experience. The changes include a new popover menu for notes, the seek bar is updated for easier scrolling through the book, and the go-to-page now supports PDF Page Labels and EPUB Page Lists. There’s also a new “full-screen reading experience” feature associated with these books that allows you to immerse yourself in nothing but the text if you want.

Grammar Tools for EPUB Books and Reading View: Microsoft has included new grammar software for EPUB books and the Reading View so you can now click the Grammar Tools button and find a button for splitting the words into syllables (when there’s more than one) and three more toggles to choose between highlighting nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Favorites Bar Improvements: Microsoft will now show you the Favorites bar when you have the Start or New tab pages open if there are one or more favorites saved. When you start browsing websites, though, the favorites bar will disappear on its own and get out of your way— that’s supposed to be the time when it thinks you have no intention in using it.

Microsoft Edge DevTools Dock Vertically: One of the reasons geeks often prefer Google Chrome is that you can’t right-click on the background of a webpage and “inspect the element” which is something that many developers appreciate when sussing out the source code of other websites. While there is still no easy option for this that comes close to right-clicking, Microsoft has offered a Developer Tools that you can get access to by using keys on the keyboard. You can view the full list of shortcuts from the Microsoft Edge Developer Tools webpage that they have set up. Once you get the DevTools for Edge up on your computer’s display, you can now dock them vertically, a feature that was suggested to them a few years ago now and has just come to fruition.

Autofill passwords when InPrivate: Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate mode is how you want to browse when you’re troubleshooting things like plugins or when you just want to browse the web privately without anyone being able to see your tracks. Typically this type of mode means you don’t get any of the bells and whistles you expect to find when you’re using it in the normal mode.  Microsoft has made it at least a little bit better now and has included the chance for you to save the password when you’re using Edge in the inPrivate mode.

Windows Shell

Quiet Hours Automatic Rules: Microsoft came up with the Quiet Hours feature when Windows 10 first rolled out, and it’s probably not being used by as many people as they would have hoped. The idea behind it was to stop any notifications and notification sounds during the hours of your choice so you can keep your work going with maximum productivity. The new Quite Hours automatic rules now allow its users to automatically choose what times those hours will be, hopefully making it even easier to use and thus get more people on board. You could also just do what I do and turn the volume down and still take a peek at the notifications as they come in.

Discover Your Folders Easier: No longer will you need to open up the File Explorer from the Start menu’s left side pane to get access to certain folders such as documents and pictures. Now you can have them positioned on the Start menu itself. Some people will probably be confused where to find them now since it has for so long been a part of the Windows Explorer/File Explorer but apparently, this move was done after Microsoft was listening to feedback.

Near Share Improvements: Near Share, a new feature that arrived in Windows 10, is still in its early stages so not many people have heard of it. As a quick low down, you can put two computers in close proximity of each other and share URLs or pictures that are saved locally to a computer now with just a couple of clicks of a button. Near Share in build 17074 comes with some fixes and improvements that make it more reliable than the previous version.

Windows Settings

Revamped Storage Settings: The Disk Cleanup Utility is now part of the Storage Settings that you’ll find in the Settings application. This’ll give you the chance to delete temporary files etc. to free up hard drive space more easily as many people were forgetting how to navigate to Disk Cleanup before this build.

Sound Settings Improvements: The Sound page for the Settings application has been completely rebuilt in recent Windows 10 releases to help make it a one-stop shop for all your audio needs. Microsoft has built on that yet again by adding some more links to other sound help sources and made some more design tweaks as well.

About Settings Improvements: It’s now possible to use your mouse pointer to copy the device name from the About Settings. You can also use this section to find the System info. In addition, when you search for terms such as “computer name” it’ll point you in the right direction of this new updated About Settings page so you can find the device name.

Manage app execution aliases from Settings: Applications can now choose to create an app alias which can then be used to run the executable for the application. You can run these executables from the Command prompt, the Run dialog and even from a batch file, too. It’ll take some time for most applications who want to participate in this to get updated. For now if you want to try one out, you can download the Spotify applications from the Microsoft Store and then you’ll see it in the Settings application and be able to run it from the Command prompt by using its new alias (which is Spotify.exe for those who are wondering).


Embedded Handwriting Panel: Usually when you go to handwrite on your computer’s display it won’t do it within the same field that you used to type text with. In this new build 17074, however, Microsoft has integrated the two of them so you can handwrite in the same field as the text. So who is handwriting you ask? There are a few devices out there, often made by Microsoft, that come with a stylus pen that can be used for handwriting. The default touch keyboard in Windows 10 also comes with a handwriting panel that allows you to enter text into any app. A couple of noteworthy devices that offer this are the Surface Pro range and the Surface Book—the new Surface laptop likely has this functionality too. But it isn’t just Microsoft products that have this feature. Microsoft has also made the same gestures that were available from the handwriting panel like the insert gesture that came out with Windows 10 build 17040 up for grabs in this new build.

There are still many other feature changes, improvements, and fixes for you to check out. If you want to see them all, you can read up on them from the official release notes for Windows 10 Insider Preview build 17074 on the Windows blog.

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