Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 10 which contains a host of changes, including a fresh spin on screen grabbing and a small but useful tweak to Focus Assist that gamers will appreciate.
Build 17661 is for Redstone 5, the update expected to arrive towards the end of the year (which we might anticipate will be thrillingly called, let’s say, Windows 10 November 2018 Update). It has been delivered to those on the ‘fast ring’ as well as ‘skip ahead’ testers (and going forward, those on the ‘fast ring’ will receive RS5 builds, following the release of the April 2018 Update).
In this build, Microsoft is offering what it describes as a ‘modern snipping experience’, which aims to more effectively allow you to screen grab, and scribble notes on those grabs.
Now you can hit ‘Windows key + Shift + S’ (or you can change this to simply hitting Print Screen, or a pen button – if you have a stylus) to bring forth a snipping toolbar that allows you to take a grab of the full screen, or snip a rectangle or freeform shape. This is dropped straight into the clipboard, and a notification pops up allowing you to swiftly open the Screen Sketch app with your snip inside (letting you annotate it and so forth).
Yes, Screen Sketch has been made into a standalone app – it was previously part of the Windows Ink Workspace – meaning it gets all the benefits of being an application, such as updates from the Microsoft Store, support for multiple windows, and indeed multiple tabs within Sets.
Speaking of Sets, this is Microsoft’s new feature which brings the concept of tabs from the web browser to the wider desktop interface, and ‘skip ahead’ testers have been playing with it for several builds now. They will continue to do so, and most new ‘fast ring’ testers will now also get Sets, although for the time being, a minority won’t. Presumably that will change in time.
And gamers will appreciate that Focus Assist – the ‘do not disturb’ mode that kills notifications, previously known as Quiet Hours – turns itself on automatically when you’re playing a game (although you can always disable that behavior, should you wish).
Furthermore, Microsoft has pushed forward with the Fluent Design interface, and Task View now gets the benefit of acrylic (a nifty blur effect for the background).
Windows Defender Security Center has also been given a more succinct name: Windows Security. Bigger changes are in the pipeline here, with Microsoft promising refinements in terms of the presentation of actions which demand the user’s attention.
On top of that, there’s the usual big list of general tweaks and fixes, which you can digest in full if you want to peruse Microsoft’s blog post.