More Fluent Design and tweaks to Search & Cortana among new features for Windows 10 Insider preview 18290 for the Fast Ring

Kareem Anderson

With Microsoft’s Windows development offices being primarily in North America, the release of a new preview build was postponed as employees observed the Thanksgiving holiday for the past couple of days.

Being three days removed from the Thanksgiving weekend, the Windows teams is already back at work releasing new builds. Windows 10 Insider preview build 18290 (19H1) is currently being seeded to Fast Ring Insiders and brings a nice list of new things to look out for and provide feedback on.

What’s new in Build 18290

A touch of Fluent for menus in Start

Following up on our jump list improvements with Build 18282, when you update to today’s build you’ll notice we’ve polished up the power and user menus in Start as well – including adding icons for easier identification.

This will also be visible in the power menu on the sign in screen.

Sync your clock

In response to your feedback, we’re adding an option in Date & Time Settings to manually synchronize your clock with the time server. This will help in scenarios where you think the clock might be out of sync, or if the time service has been disabled. We’ll also show the last time that time was successfully synced and the address of your current time server.

Note: This feature is currently only supported for non-domain joined PCs, although in today’s build it will be visible on all devices.

See which app is using your microphone

In Build 18252 we introduced a new mic icon that would appear in the notification area letting you know when an app was accessing your microphone. Today we’re updating it so if you hover over the icon, it will now show you which app. Double-clicking the icon will open Microphone Privacy Settings.

If multiple apps are using your microphone, then it will just list how many are actively using your microphone. We still have a bit more to do, stay tuned!

Improving your Search and Cortana experiences

We’re exploring some options for improving these experiences in Windows. When you start a search now, you’ll notice we’ve updated the landing page – giving recent activities a bit more room to breathe, adding light theme support, a touch of acrylic and including all the search filter options as pivots from the get-go. We’d love to hear your feedback – you can report issues and suggestions to us here. You may notice some other changes as we continue flighting, we’ll have more details to share later.

Windows Update Notifications

Starting with 19H1, when your device has an update requiring a reboot (including new builds we release) you will see Windows Update icon with an orange indicator in the notification area (system tray) alerting you to restart your device.

Other Updates for Insiders

Mail & Calendar (Version 11001.20106): It is now easier to keep track of your tasks from Mail and Calendar in Microsoft To-Do! With the latest Mail & Calendar update from the Store, we’ve added the ability to switch directly to To-Do in our app navigation. This update is rolling out to both Insiders and Retail users as we speak.

As Microsoft continues to get flack over its botched October 2018 Windows 10 Update release, perhaps Insiders will continue to see smaller feature refinements such as the above list. I for one, appreciate the level of detail this preview brings.