Smooth as Butter Animations in the Visual Layer with the Windows 10 Creators Update

The Windows 10 Creators Update marks the third major release of the Windows UI platform APIs. With each release, an attempt is frequently made to simplify features introduced in prior releases. This encourages Universal Windows Platform (UWP) developers to standardize on these features. The new hide and show implicit animations are an example of this.

At the same time, too much standardization can potentially lead to conformity, so with each new release more powerful visual features like the new custom animations are also added, which allow developers who are willing and able to dive into them to customize their user interfaces and stand out from the crowd. This inherent tension between ease of use and the power to customize rewards developers for their efforts while also making sure that no one gets left behind.

Hide and show animations for page transitions

Page transitions, often accompanied by state transitions as visual elements, are added to the visual tree of the new page. In fact, a lot of interactivity in UWP simply involves deciding which content to show and which content to hide as the state of the app changes. More often than not, this is tied to changing the value of the Visibility properties of the elements on the screen.

In the Creators Update, two new implicit animation techniques have been added to help you make these transitions more fluid: ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitShowAnimation and ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitHideAnimation. Whenever a UIElement is loaded or when that element’s Visibility property is set to Visible, the implicit animation associated with it using SetImplicitShowAnimation will play. Similarly, whenever the user navigates away from a page or when a UIElement is hidden, an animation associated with it using the SetImplicitHideAnimation method will be invoked. These two mechanisms make it easier for you to include motion as an inherent aspect of all your visual elements, while providing a seamless experience for your users.

Connected animations

Implicit animations are great for animating controls inside a page. For navigation transitions between pages, however, the Visual Layer provides a different mechanism known as connected animations to help you make your UI even sweeter. Connected animations help the user stay oriented when she is performing common tasks such as context switching from a list of items to a details page.

The Windows UI platform APIs provide a class named the ConnectedAnimationService to coordinate animations between the source page and the destination page during navigation. You access the service by calling the static GetForCurrentView method. Then in the source page, you invoke PrepareToAnimate, passing in a unique key and the image that should be used for the transition animation.


ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().PrepareToAnimate("MyUniqueId", image);

In the destination page, you retrieve the image from your ConnectedAnimationService service and invoke TryStart on the ConnectedAnimation while passing in the destination UIElement.


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");
if (animation != null)
{
    animation.TryStart(DestinationImage);
};

In the Anniversary Update you did not have much control over this animation technique. Everyone got pretty much the same standard one. With the Creators Update, on the other hand, you have lots of new superpowers to personalize your transitions with:

  • Coordinated animations
  • Custom animations
  • Better image animations

Just to reiterate the point made in the introduction, the goal in designing the Windows UI platform APIs is to provide an awesome experience out of the box so you can copy the standard samples and get beautiful, fast and visually appealing visuals. At the same time, this shouldn’t ever take away from your ability to personalize the user experience to create something truly unique and wonderful with powerful new tools, like coordinated animations and custom animations.

Coordinated animations

A coordinated animation is a type of animation that appears alongside your connected animation and which works in coordination with your connected animation target. A coordinated animation gives extra visual flair to your page transition.

In the coordinated animation sample above, caption text that is not present in the source page is added to the destination page. The caption text is animated in tandem with the connected animation. We are doing two things here (in designer terms): providing context between the source and the destination using our connected animation while also adding visual interest with a coordinated animation at the destination. In user experience terms, though, all we’re doing is making the app’s transition animations look really cool.

Coordinated animations are fortunately also easy to implement. The TryStart method of the ConnectedAnimation class provides an override that allows you to pop in an array of visual elements you want to animate in a coordinated fashion. Let’s say that your caption text is in a visual element that you’ve named “DescriptionRoot.” You can add this as a coordinated animation by tweaking the previous code like so:


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");
if (animation != null)
{
    animation.TryStart(DestinationImage, new UIElement[] { DescriptionRoot });
};

That’s a lot of power packed into a little argument.

Custom animations

By default, the connected animations in the navigation sample move in a straight line from the origin position in the source page to the target position in the destination page. If you select a box in the far-left column, it will move more or less straight up, while if you select a box in the top row, it will more or less move directly left to get to that target position. But what if you could put some English on this?

You can with custom animations, introduced in the Creators Update. The custom animations feature lets you modulate your transitions in four ways:

  • Crossfade – Lets you customize how elements crossfade as source element reaches destination
  • OffsetX – Lets you customize the X channel of Offset
  • OffsetY – Lets you customize the Y channel of Offset
  • Scale – Lets you customize scale of the element as it animates

In order to customize a particular part of a connected animation, you will need to create a keyframe animation and add it to your page transition using the SetAnimationComponent call like so:


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");

var customXAnimation = Window.Compositor.CreateScalarKeyFrameAnimation();
customXAnimation.Duration = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().DefaultDuration;
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(0.0f, "StartingValue");
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(0.5f, "FinalValue + 25");
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(1.0f, "FinalValue");

animation.SetAnimationComponent(ConnectedAnimationComponent.OffsetX, customXAnimation);

Note that you use expressions to get the starting and ending values of the connected animation.

Awesome image animations

The Creators Update also introduces improved image interpolation for connected animations where the image size and even the relative dimensions are changing between the source and the destination—for instance transitioning from a square to a rectangular image.

This interpolation happens automagically so you have less to worry about.

Implicit animation support for property sets and shadows

Finally, animation capabilities are also extended in the Creators Update by allowing you to apply implicit animations to property sets and shadows.

This change provides developers with even more creative flexibility and the ability to modify shadows in interesting new ways, as shown in the code sample below.


var shadowBlurAnimation = compositor.CreateScalarKeyFrameAnimation();
shadowBlurAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(1.0f, "this.FinalValue");
shadowBlurAnimation.Duration = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(1);
shadowBlurAnimation.Target = "BlurRadius";

//Associating animations with triggers 
implicitAnimationShadow["BlurRadius"] = shadowBlurAnimation;
implicitAnimationShadow["Opacity"] = shadowOpacityAnimation;
implicitAnimationShadow["Scale"] = shadowScaleAnimation;

implicitAnimationVisual["Translation"] = translationAnimation;
            

//Applying Implicit Animations to objects 
content.Properties.ImplicitAnimations = implicitAnimationVisual;
shadow.DropShadow.ImplicitAnimations = implicitAnimationShadow;

Wrapping up

The visual power being made available to developers through the Windows UI platform APIs have basically always been a part of the UI Framework. They just haven’t always been accessible until now. Think of this as a UI nuclear reactor being handed over to you to play with. With this awesome power, however, also comes the responsibility to create sweet UI and beautiful interactions. Go forth and be amazing.

To learn more about the topics covered in this post, you are encouraged to voraciously consume the following articles and videos:

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Nano Server No Longer Supported for Infrastructure Workloads

   When Windows Server 2016 was released last year, one of the features that I myself, and much of the community were excited about was the new installation option called Nano Server. The way I’ve always described Nano Server is that it’s like Windows Server Core, but on steroids. It is a completely gutted, only-what-you-need installation option, and it’s an installation option that really talked to my Linux and open-source roots. I loved the idea of having only what was absolutely necessary installed on a server, not just because of the attack surface reduction, but because of the reduction in software to maintain on the system as well. I remember running Gentoo Linux on some systems simply because it was a “compile from source” type of distribution and I loved the idea of again, only installing the needed bits, and with Nano Server I felt like we had arrived at… Read More»

Read the post here: Nano Server No Longer Supported for Infrastructure Workloads

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Windows Template Studio 1.1 released!

We’re extremely excited to announce the Windows Template Studio 1.1. In partnership with the community, we’ve been cranking out and iterating new features and functionality. We’re always looking for additional people to help out and if you’re interested, please head to our GitHub at https://aka.ms/wts.

How to get the update:

There are two paths to update to the newest build.

  • Already installed: Visual Studio should auto update the extension. To force an update, Go to Tools->Extensions and Updates.  Then go to Update expander on the left and you should see Windows Template Studio in there and click “Update.”
  • Not installed: Head to https://aka.ms/wtsinstall, click “download” and double click the VSIX installer.

Improvements to the Wizard:

  • Page Reordering
  • The first page doesn’t have to be the Blank page
  • Renaming of pages and background tasks
  • Offline improvements
  • Initial work for supporting localization
  • Code analysis was added

Page updates:

  • Grid page added
  • Chart page added
  • Media/Video page added
  • Web View page has been enhanced

Feature updates:

  • Store SDK Notifications added
  • SettingStorage now has a binary save option (not just string based)

Template improvements:

  • Navigation panel moved to UWP Community Toolkit
  • Styling adjustments
  • ResourceLoader performance improvement

For a full list of issues fixed in the 1.1 release, head over to Github.

 What else is cooking for next versions?

We love all the community support and participation. We’re partnering with additional framework Caliburn.Micro and have a branch currently under development with Nigel Sampson. We’re talking with Prism and Template 10 to see how those frameworks can also be added in. In addition, here are just a few of the things we are currently building out:

  • Fluent design in the templates
  • Project Rome features as options for your project
  • Right-click->add support for existing projects
  • Localization in the wizard
  • Accessibility supported in both wizard and in the templates

If you want to help out, please head over to https://aka.ms/wts.

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This Week on Windows: Spotify in the Windows Store, 360° videos, E3 and more

We hope you enjoyed today’s episode of This Week on Windows! Check out our Windows 10 Tip on how to watch 360° videos with the Windows 10 Creators Update, catch up on all the Xbox news out of our E3 Briefing, learn more about the launch of Surface Laptop and Surface Pro, head over here for six things you need to know about Windows 10 S, or, keep reading for what’s new in the Windows Store.

In case you missed it:

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There has never been a better time to buy a Surface

Surface Laptop

If you’ve been waiting to purchase your new Surface, there’s never been a better time. We announced last week that at all physical Microsoft Stores in the US or Canada, when you trade in an old device, including an Apple MacBook or iPad, you will receive up to $850 off most Surface devices, including the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop*.

Microsoft Store associates will help find the right Surface for you with a device fitting, and with the new Surface Migration Assistant app, you can easily transfer all your files, pictures, music and settings to your new Surface device without missing a beat. Come into a Microsoft Store and let us show you how easy it is to make the switch to a Surface.

Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store this week:

djay Pro Sale – Buy for $39.99

djay Pro

Thirty million downloads are powerfully persuasive recommendations – and djay Pro ($39.99, regularly $49.99, June 19-25, 2017) doesn’t disappoint. Now, get all its amazing features and effects – including Surface Dial integration, for scratching – along with the access to millions of tracks that Spotify integration delivers, for 20% off June 19-25.

Sling TV Cloud DVR comes to Windows 10

Sling TV

This week, discover more features and easier, better viewing with Sling TV Cloud DVR – now for Windows 10 (free to download; services start at $20 per month; $5 per month more for 50 hours of DVR storage). Sling TV Cloud DVR gives even more control over how, when, and where you watch. More channels allow you to see more of your favorites. Schedule, manage, and record on most channels with Windows 10.

Want to record content from local FOX channels, Nat Geo, or FX? No problem – they’re part of the new channel lineup. If you have a favorite episode, epic sports play, or another never-forget moment, just choose “Protect” in the Manage DVR section, and it’s saved as long as you subscribe. Signing up is easy – you add Cloud DVR just like any other extra on Sling TV. Just sign in to your account on sling.com and select “Add Cloud DVR.” Change the way you watch – and enjoy – on Sling TV, today!

Spotify

Spotify logo in blue and red

Spotify for Windows 10 is now available to download in the Windows Store. We first announced our partnership with Spotify in early May and are thrilled to bring the Spotify app to Windows 10 and Windows 10 S customers following on the heels of the release of Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S last week. The Spotify app is available today in all 60 countries where Spotify is available. Learn more in this blog post!

Kong: Skull Island – Buy from $14.99

Kong: Skull Island now in the Windows Store

When a group of scientists set out to explore an uncharted island in the South Pacific, they get more than they bargained for when they encounter the island’s extraordinary – and terrifying – wildlife. Kong: Skull Island ($29.99 UHD, $19.99 HD, $14.99 SD) is now available to own in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store four weeks before Blu-ray.

Have a great weekend!

*Offer valid from June 15, 2017, to July 31, 2017, while supplies last. Available only in Microsoft retail stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada. To receive full store credit towards the purchase of a new select Surface device, a customer must trade-in qualifying Surface Pro device subject to these terms. To be eligible for trade-in, you must own the qualifying device, device must power on, battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate, and be in fully functional, working condition without broken/missing components, cracked display/housing, liquid damage, modification(s) or have device warranty seal broken to be considered working. Cannot be password protected, and include original chargers/accessories. Must contain a hard drive. Any appraised value will be determined at trade-in and provided as a Microsoft retail store credit. All trade-ins are subject to Microsoft’s discretion and approval. All trade-ins are final. Recycle for Rewards program provided by CExchange, LLC., and other terms and conditions may apply. Not valid on prior orders or purchases; cannot be transferred or otherwise redeemed for cash or gift cards. May be combinable with other offers. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Other exclusions and limits may apply. See store associate for details.

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Sweet UI made possible and easy with Windows.UI and the Windows 10 Creators Update

Since its original debut with the Windows 10 November 2015 update, Windows.UI.Composition has been empowering developers to build fast, beautiful, sweet user interfaces in UWP and has been providing enhancements with every subsequent Windows release. At Build 2017, we revealed what all of this continuous work has been leading up to: The Fluent Design System (aka ‘Project Neon’).

Moving from classic ‘Flat Design’ to Fluent Design requires the visual and performance capabilities that the Composition APIs offers along with the interop features that let you draw on this power from your XAML layer. In case you are not yet familiar with the concepts behind the Composition APIs, here’s a quick refresher on what the Composition APIs are all about.

The Windows.UI.Composition namespace allows Universal Windows Platform (UWP) developers to use a new Visual Layer that will get them closer to the metal, graphically speaking, while still using familiar technologies like XAML and C#. By getting closer to the metal, actually down to the system compositor level, developers are able to get great visual performance and custom UI experiences. By working through the XAML layer, developers get the ease of use they have come to expect out of UWP. This is basically a best of both worlds scenario that puts great responsibility in the developer’s hands. And with great responsibility, as we all know, comes great power.

So why do you need all these graphical and UX superpowers? In addition to giving pizazz to your UWP apps, access to the system compositor level also helps your users to accomplish their tasks faster and more fluidly. For instance, when you use Composition effects to blur a background in response to a click, you are focusing the user’s attention on her current task and removing distractions. This is the sort of subtle UI implementation that actually makes your user’s life easier – and it works best when your user doesn’t even know that you did anything for them. They are just left with the impression that your app is easy to use and feels fast, even if they can’t exactly put their finger on the reason.

The Visual family

To better understand the basic principles of Windows.UI.Composition, it’s important that we also introduce you to the visual family. In order to get fast and fluid effects, you need direct access to something called the system compositor (sometimes also referred to as the DWM). The system compositor is agnostic to the UI thread and doesn’t really care about being on the UI thread or blocking threads. Things happen very quickly at the system compositor level, where everything that is about to be sent to the display screen gets put together. This is also where you get to add additional effects if you want to just before shipping all your visuals to the display.

The visual family lives down at that compositor level where things happen rapidly. The visual family is made up of Visuals, ContainerVisuals and SpriteVisuals. The SpriteVisual class inherits from container visual, and the ContainerVisual class inherits from the base Visual class. There is also a Compositor class which acts as the senior member of the visual family. It quite literally creates visual objects if you need them and also manages the relationship between an application and the system compositor process.

The visual family is a lot of fun. Let’s say your XAML, many levels above, has a Grid object. That Grid will have a member of the visual family assigned to it. In technical parlance, we say that the Grid is backed by a visual. Once you grab hold of this backing visual, you can start to animate it using the composition animation system. If it is a ContainerVisual, then you can add additional visuals to it. Finally, you can also create sprite visuals, using the compositor factory class, in order to add brush effects to your visual using the Windows.UI.Composition effects system.

What’s new for sweet UI in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Several highly requested UI.Composition features have been added in the Creators Update to support fast and fluid UI as well as the Fluent Design System, for instance:

  • SVG support
  • Normal and Virtual Surfaces
  • Hover Interactions
  • Implicit Show and Hide
  • Expression Helpers
  • Offset stomping fix

At first these can seem like small disconnected improvements. Brought together, however, they will make creating beautiful UI both faster and easier.

XAML support for static SVG files

Vector images are often better for icons and logos because they can be resized without losing image quality. Before the Windows 10 Creators Update, however, vector graphics were not supported in XAML and working with iconography in UWP typically involved multiple versions of every image to adapt for multiple DPIs.  Now that that problem is solved, not only does XAML support static SVG files, but they also work with the Composition APIs.

Normal and virtual surfaces

The CompositionDrawingSurface has been a core component of the Composition APIs since the beginning, facilitating interop between XAML and Direct2D or Direct3D. The Creators Update is introducing the CompositionVirtualDrawingSurface for situations where only a portion of the content needs to be shown to the user at any given time. It basically bridges the concepts of graphics culling in video games and the development of infinite lists in desktop enterprise apps.

Independent hover interactions off the UI thread

One of the most powerful things about the Composition APIs is that they allow effects and animations to run independently of your main UI thread at 60 frames per second. With the Creators Update, this feature will also apply to hover animations in order to light up the many pointer activated effects that are a major part of fluent design.

There is also a subtle computer etiquette benefit to this new feature. Have you ever watched a busy animation play while your app’s UI was hanging and tried to move your mouse around in circles to try to make the animation go faster, but it has no effect? That is now a thing of the past.

Implicit show and hide

If you look at the code behind any UWP app, you will likely find that a large portion of UI code is devoted to setting visibility properties on UIElements in order to alternatively hide and show content. With this understanding, the Composition APIs now allow you to associate animations with your visual elements that are implicitly triggered when you hide or show them.


    ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitShowAnimation(MainContent, mainContentShowAnimations);
    ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitHideAnimation(MainContent, mainContentExitAnimation);

Implicit hide and show animations allow you to continue using this basic UI metaphor while also making it easier to create elegant visuals around them.

Expression helpers

Expression animations provide a way to create mathematical relationships between composition objects that can then be used to drive animations. The results of applying expression animations can often be breathtaking.

One piece of feedback we received about how we implemented expression animations is that it depends heavily on long strings of text like the following:


  rotationAnimation.Expression = &amp;quot;ACos( ( (A.Offset.X * B.Offset.X) + (A.Offset.Y*B.Offset.Y) + (A.Offset.Z * B.Offset.Z) ) / ( Length(A.Offset) *  Length(B.Offset) ) )&amp;quot;;
  lineVisual.StartAnimation(&amp;quot;RotationAngle&amp;quot;, rotationAnimation);

The phrase “magic number” may even have been raised with respect to this. Just in time for the Creators Update, the Expression Builder Library is being introduced to provide you with type safety, IntelliSense and autocompletion as you create your own amazing expression animations.

Translation property

In earlier versions of the Composition APIs, there was a complication in the way UIElement properties were shared between the XAML layer and the Visual Layer that could cause the actual position of the visual to be overwritten or “stomped” in response to layout changes. While there was a workaround previously, there is now an actual fix with the new translation property. To prevent offset stomping, you now just need to enable the new Translation property through the ElementCompositionPreview class.


ElementCompositionPreview.SetIsTranslationEnabled(Rectangle1, true);

This is one of those issues that, if you’ve run into it before, you will feel a slight sense of relief. Just add a mental bookmark for yourself about the Translation property until you need to use it.

The sample gallery

The best way to deep dive into Windows.UI.Composition is by pulling down the sample code that the Composition team created and published to Github. The Windows UI Dev Labs samples, as they’re called, are extensive and visually rich. The samples extend from simple photo effects to complex parallax animations on XAML controls.

Don’t hesitate. It’s hard to really grasp the magnitude of the visual capabilities you are getting with Windows.UI.Composition until you see for yourself all that it empowers you to do.

Wrapping up

In addition to diving into the sample gallery on Github, which is highly recommended, you can also learn more about Windows Composition through the following articles, videos and blog posts.

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 for PC

Hello Windows Insiders!

Today we are excited to release Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring!

What’s New in Build 16226 For PC

New features in Microsoft Edge

Giving you more control over closing tabs: Building on our work in Build 16199, we’ve updated Microsoft Edge to ensure the X in the tab band is always available to close a tab, even when a JavaScript (i.e. alert, prompt, etc.) dialog is showing within Microsoft Edge. Additionally, closing the Edge window always remains an available option. You can also access many browser capabilities (i.e. favorites bar, settings, etc.) while a dialog is showing.

Making it easier to move from another browser: Users can now migrate Cookies and Settings from Chrome to Microsoft Edge, which will make it easier for users to make the move to Microsoft Edge as their primary browser.

More EPUB improvements in Microsoft Edge

Copy and Ask Cortana: Now, when you select your text, you can Copy and Ask Cortana in addition to adding notes, highlighting and underlining. Cortana can help you do a little research while you’re reading an EPUB book!

Now, when you select your text, you can Copy and Ask Cortana in addition to adding notes, highlighting and underlining.

Ink Notes: Got ink? Add a note and write or draw on it with your pen.

Got ink? Add a note and write or draw on it with your pen.

To see your note, just hover over the note button—no need to open it.

To see your note, just hover over the note button—no need to open it.

Books roamed across devices: Your books from the Windows Store are available on your Windows 10 devices, and your reading progress, bookmarks, and notes are kept in sync.

Improved Favorites experience in Microsoft Edge:

New experience when saving new favorites: You can now view your favorites as a directory tree when you save new favorites, and collapse or expand folders from within the “Add to favorites” dialog. Just click the “Save in” folder list to get started!

You can now view your favorites as a directory tree when you save new favorites, and collapse or expand folders from within the “Add to favorites” dialog.


Edit URL for Favorites:
You can now edit the URL of any favorite in the Favorites menu or the Favorites Bar. You can use this to update the location of a site that has moved, or to create Bookmarklets in the favorites bar.

You can now edit the URL of any favorite in the Favorites menu or the Favorites Bar.

Favorite manageability for Enterprise: IT admins can now configure favorites via group policy and mobile device management, including the ability to define and lock pre-configured favorites in addition to the user’s favorites.

Emoji Updates

Emoji 5.0! We have added support for the latest Unicode updates – including new snacks, actions, dinosaurs, and even fantasy characters like genies, fairies and zombies!

They’re all accessible via both the touch keyboard and the Emoji Panel. Bonus: Along the way, we also updated our emoji pickers to now make it possible to access the profession emoji and gender diverse options for some of our people actions (for example, you can now select male or female face palm).

Finally, we’ve tweaked some of our original emoji designs based on your feedback and to improve consistency with how the emoji is displayed on other platforms (while maintaining our Windows style).

New emoji include:

New emoji included in this build!

Examples of updated emoji – before:

Examples of updated emoji – before.

And after:

Examples of updated emoji – after.

Search for emoji in Emoji Panel: We’ve updated the hardware keyboard’s new Emoji Panel to now provide a search feature! After opening the panel via the Win + period (.) or semicolon (;) hotkeys, keep typing! The words you type will be used to filter the emoji displayed. If you close the panel by clicking “x” button or pressing Esc, the words will remain. We’re still working on enriching our emoji keywords – have any suggestions? Log feedback! Note: The Emoji Panel is currently only available when the en-us keyboard is active.

Search for emoji in Emoji Panel.

Dark theme for Emoji Panel: Do you love dark theme? Because we do ????. If you have dark theme enabled (via Settings > Personalization > Colors), you’ll now see the Emoji Panel background display using dark colors instead of light.

OneDrive Files On-Demand

Last week, we released OneDrive Files On-Demand to Windows Insiders running Build 16215 and higher. This is essentially like OneDrive placeholders – but better. This was a highly requested feature from Insiders so be sure to check it out!

Additionally, we wanted to make sure that our customers are in control of all file downloads from the cloud. When they use OneDrive Files On-Demand (or another cloud provider), and an app (like a photo editor) tries to download files that the customer has stored only in the cloud, we’ll show a message displaying: what’s being downloaded, which app is requesting the download, and options to dismiss the message, cancel the download, or block the app from downloading. (We also added a way to unblock apps in Settings > Privacy > App-requested downloads, in case you change your mind.)

 App-requested downloads with OneDrive Files On-Demand.

Touch Keyboard Improvements

Shape writing for more languages: In addition to English, Shape writing is now available on the new touch keyboard for the following languages: Catalan (Catalan), Croatian (Croatia), Czech (Czech), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Netherlands), English (India), English (United States), English (United Kingdom), Finnish (Finland), French (Canada), French (France), French (Switzerland), German (Germany), Greek (Greece), Hebrew(Israel), Hungarian (Hungary), Indonesian (Indonesia), Italian (Italy), Norwegian, Persian (Iran), Polish (Poland), Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian (Romania), Russian (Russia), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Swedish (Sweden), Turkish (Turkey), Vietnamese (Vietnam).

If you speak any of these languages, please take a moment to try it out and log feedback. If you have anything you can specifically repro consistently, be sure to mention it in the problem report.

Note: For this and the below work to work, the language resources will need to be downloaded. If you upgrade with the language, it should happen naturally, but if you add the language after getting the build, you may need to go to Optional Features and manually download them. If language resources for that language have not been downloaded, then you will see the swipe pattern, but no text will be input into whatever field you’re typing in. In addition, you will not see any text predictions.

 Shape writing for more languages.

Text prediction for more languages: We also support text prediction upon your typing on the languages above and more! Please try out your mother tongue with our keyboard!

Touch keyboard for East Asian languages: Now the new touch keyboard supports some of East Asian languages such as Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean!

One-handed curve-flick touch keyboard for Japanese: We’re excited to announce that curve-flick input is coming to the PC! We’ve had this for a while on Windows 10 Mobile, and we know how much you like it, so with today’s build you’ll now be able to use it with the Japanese one-handed keyboard on PC too ^_^. For those who are unfamiliar with it, curve-flick input is an advanced method for quickly inputting Japanese Kana. If you’ve ever used flick input with your phone, please try it out today on your PC and share feedback! (and, if you’ve never tried it on your phone, share your feedback too! We love to hear your thoughts).

 One-handed curve-flick touch keyboard for Japanese.

Moving with ease: We’ve made some adjustments based on your feedback. First: you no longer need to hold the move icon to move the touch keyboard. We’ve removed that, and now you can just grab anywhere on the candidate pane that doesn’t have predictions, and place the keyboard where you want. Second: when using the one-handed keyboard, you’ll find that the left-most option is now “undocked”. If you use this option, then whenever you relaunch the touch keyboard it will appear back in the location it’d been in before being dismissed.

Paste away: If you have text copied to your clipboard, you’ll now see a clipboard icon in the touch keyboard candidate pane. Tapping it will paste the clipboard contents into the text field with focus.

Shifting up a gear: We’ve heard your feedback, and we’re very excited to let you know that with this build of Windows, you can now use the shift key to cycle between capitalization states – just like on W10M!

Updated settings flyout: We’ve updated the design of our settings flyout so you can now easily access Language Settings, Keyboard Settings, or help if needed.

 We’ve updated the design of our settings flyout so you can now easily access Language Settings, Keyboard Settings, or help if needed.

Other UI and reliability improvements including:

  • We fixed an issue where the X to close would turn white on white if you hovered a mouse over it.
  • We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard would stop launching after you had used the Emoji Panel.
  • We’ve adjusted the emoji section so that it now scrolls horizontally.
  • We’ve added more padding to the emoji section when using the one-handed keyboard.
  • We’ve added a language key to the one-handed keyboard for easier language switching.
  • The emoji section will now stay open after you input an emoji, so you can enter all the emoji you want at once.
  • We’ve adjusted the size of our wide keyboard layout to be a bit bigger.

Refining handwriting and pen interactions in Windows 10

Handwriting panel improvements:

  • You can now erase words in the handwriting panel with the back of your pen.
  • We’ve updated the processed text in the handwriting panel to now be drawn using Segoe UI.
  • We fixed an issue where the font would sometimes be an unexpected size when selecting text and seeing it appear in the handwriting panel.
  • As a result of your feedback, we’ve updated the English mode button in the Chinese handwriting panel to now use “中“ and “英” as a label, instead of “全部”.

Pen scrolling now works in Win32 apps: Building on what we lit up with 16215, you can now use your pen to scroll in File Explorer and other win32 apps.

Windows Sonic spatial sound on PC

Windows Sonic, available in the Windows 10 Creators Update, is now even easier to enable with this update. Plug in a pair of headphones, right-click the sound icon in the notification area, and select Spatial sound to choose your preferred format. You can also configure your 5.1, 7.1, or Dolby Atmos for home theater from this menu if it’s your currently selected default endpoint. You can learn more about Windows Sonic here.

Gaming Improvements

New help options: We have added a new “Xbox Networking” section under Settings > Gaming. Here, we’ll help you attempt to identify and resolve issues preventing you from using voice chatting and playing multiplayer games with other Xbox Live users.

Xbox Networking settings page.

Track your GPU performance: For the Task Manager fans out there, we’re happy to share that we’ve heard your feedback and we’ve updated Task Manager to now include GPU info. Our engineering team used the feedback you gave us that is part of this Feedback Collection https://aka.ms/olx5pn to prioritize and to design the feature – thank you! The Performance tab shows GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode), as well as graphics memory usage stats. The Details tab shows you GPU utilization info for each process. Please note that this feature is still under construction and you will find issues and bugs, as always please send us feedback in Feedback Hub under Desktop Environment > Task manager.

Track your GPU performance in Task Manager.

Settings Improvements

Storage Sense update: Head to Settings > System > Storage > Storage Sense and you’ll find:

  • Delete your previous versions of Windows straight from Storage Sense: With all the work we’ve been doing to enhance Storage Sense features for freeing up space, we felt it just made sense to bring in windows.old clean up too.
  • A new look: Since we’ve added a few new features, we’ve tweaked the design a bit to make everything fit together a bit neater.

Storage Sense updates.

New Remote Desktop Settings Page: As part of our ongoing effort to converge Settings and Control Panel, you can now enable Remote Desktop and configure related settings from Settings > System > Remote Desktop!  We’ve improved this page from its counterpart in Control Panel to help you more easily establish a remote connection to your PC from a Remote Desktop client application. On the new Remote Desktop settings page, you can find associated settings like sleep (“Keep my PC awake for connections when it is plugged in”) and PC discoverability to help you know if your PC is remotely accessible. We also surface your PC name on this page, which you will need to connect from the RD client applications.

Improving your update experience: If an update has failed, when available, to help you better understand what went wrong we will now use a plain text string to describe the error that was encountered. This text, and the error code if visible, will now be selectable so you can easily copy and paste it elsewhere.

Shell Improvements

Reveal: The new Reveal Highlight  behavior is an interaction visualization that helps guide users. Reveal is now enabled by default on ListView and other XAML collection controls in experiences that target the Fall Creators Update.

The new Reveal Highlight behavior is an interaction visualization that helps guide users.

Note: This gif is from our UWP Style Guide, and showcases both the use of Acrylic material, and the use of Reveal. With this update, we are only enabling Reveal by default.

Updated File Explorer context menu: You can now Share a file in File Explorer via the right-click context menu! Right-click on a file in File Explorer or on the Desktop to bring up the context menu, then share away. NOTE: “Share with” in the context menu has been changed to “Give access to”.

Updated File Explorer context menu.

My People Improvements:

  • We’ve added text to the overflow area in the People flyout to make it more clear the people listed there are pinned.
  • We’ve updated the “Switch apps” button in the People flyout to now use the a hamburger icon, to make it more visually distinct from the back button.
  • If you right-click the taskbar, you’ll now find an option to easily turn on or off People.
  • We fixed an issue from the last flight where the People flyout would crash if you tapped “Find and pin contacts”.

Calculator cashes in with a Currency Converter feature

Since the launch of Windows 10, one of the top customer feedback requests we get is to include a Currency Converter function in Calculator.  Wait no longer!  As of desktop version 10.1706.1602.0 (included with the Fall Creators Update, available for update via store as we speak), you’ll find “Currency” as the top item under the “Converters” menu.  It does most everything you’d expect from a Currency Converter, all expressed within the fresh and shiny Fluent Design System we rolled out last month.  One aspect of the feature that we think is interesting is an offline mode…so if you’re roaming internationally and want to see how much that train ticket or souvenir is going to cost without rolling up extra data charges, we’ve got you covered.  As ever, we value and await your feedback on this new feature, so send us your thoughts via Feedback Hub or Store Review!

Currency Converter function in now available in Calculator.

Ease of Access Improvements:

Narrator gains auto-captioning: Narrator can now use artificial intelligence to generate descriptions for images that lack alternative text! The service also includes the ability to extract text from images using optical character recognition. Want to try it out? Turn on Narrator, set focus to the image below, then press Capslock + Shift + D to hear its description. You will need to be connected to the internet for it to work.

Meow.

Improved bitmap scaling for Magnifier: Text will now appear smoother when magnified using Magnifier. To enable or disable this, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Magnifier > “Enable bitmap smoothing”.

Improvements for IT Pros

Windows 10 and SMB1: As part of a multi-year security plan, we are removing the SMB1 networking protocol from Windows by default. This build has this change, however the change only affects clean installations of Windows, not upgrades. We are making this change to reduce the attack surface of the OS. Here are some more details to take note of:

  • All Home and Professional editions now have the SMB1 server component uninstalled by default. The SMB1 client remains installed. This means you can connect to devices from Windows 10 using SMB1, but nothing can connect to Windows 10 using SMB1. We still recommend you uninstall SMB1 if you are not using it. In a later feature update of Windows 10, we may uninstall SMB1 client if we detect that you are not using it.
  • All Enterprise and Education editions have SMB1 totally uninstalled by default.
  • The removal of SMB1 means the removal of the legacy Computer Browser service. The Computer Browser depends exclusively on SMB1 and cannot function without it.

For more information on why SMB1 is being removed, see: https://aka.ms/stopusingsmb1

For more information on software and devices that require SMB1, see https://aka.ms/stillneedssmb1

Hyper-V Improvements: Share your VMs with ease with the new VM Sharing feature! On today’s build you’ll find a new icon in Virtual Machine Connection that will compress your VM into a “.vmcz” file. Double click this file on your destination machine to start importing the VM – easy as that!

: Share your VMs with ease with the new VM Sharing feature!

 

Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) Improvements:

Enhanced learning for predictive input: The IME now understands when you use predictive candidates followed by backspaces, and will adjust the candidates accordingly so you don’t have to repeat candidate selection and backspace each time you frequently want to use only part of a particular predictive candidate.

The IME now understands when you use predictive candidates followed by backspaces.

English predictive candidates with spelling correction: With the Anniversary Update, we added a feature to show English words along with Japanese words in Japanese IME’s predictive candidates. We’ve been improving it over time, and with this release we’re now enable spelling corrections for English candidates as well, so that even if you make a typo we’ll still suggest the appropriate English words. For example “appointment” and “appointments” are shown if you type “apointmen”.

English predictive candidates with spelling correction.

Search from Japanese IME Candidate List: We added the ability to execute search from the predictive candidate window. Specifically, text candidates you’re are not familiar with can now be easily searched from the IME UI. To search for a definition, click on the search icon shown next to the candidate, or highlight the candidate and press the shortcut key (Ctrl + B). Search results will open in browser.

Search from Japanese IME Candidate List.

Also when the comment window is displayed during conversion, you can search about the word by clicking the candidate in the comment window.

[ADDED] Mixed Reality Improvements

  • The Mixed Reality software download issue has been fixed. The workaround that has been provided for the last flight can be removed. You could directly upgrade to Build 16226 and get the Mixed Reality software.
  • 360 Video issue with video quality has also been fixed.
  • New Teleportation Model also introduced in this flight, where we transitioned to a much easier teleportation and navigation model only using the left joystick.
  • Speech improvements where we have improved the speech interaction experience through out Mixed Reality platform.
  • Headset Reliability Improvement where we are going to continuously improve on this in future flights.
  • We also fixed issues when trying to get out of limited mode.
  • We fixed the issue where the Mixed Reality Portal does not shut down cleanly.
  • We fixed the issue where Cortana now opens up apps correctly within the Mixed Reality environment.
  • We fixed the issue where there is multiple gaze cursor in exclusive mode apps.
  • We also fixed the issue where the Boundary is set smaller than the actual.

More information for Mixed Reality developers can be found here.

Changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • If you were impacted by the issue causing your upgrade to get stuck or hung at around 33% trying to update to Build 16215, we fixed the issue and you should be able to upgrade to this build (Build 16226) without getting stuck at 33%.
  • We fixed the issue causing PCs to bugcheck (GSOD) with inaccessible boot device on install, and the Windows Update error 0x80070643 after rollback.
  • We fixed an issue preventing PDFs from opening in Microsoft Edge on some devices with enterprise configurations.
  • We fixed the issue causing some PDFs and sites to open in a cropped view (zoomed in) in Microsoft Edge, causing part of the content to be inaccessible to the user.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous flight where accented characters couldn’t be input properly into Win32 apps using the hardware keyboard.
  • We fixed a Hyper-V issue resulting in some Insiders not being able to connect to VMs in the last flight.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Start now working for a small percent of Insiders on the last flight.
  • We’ve adjusted the application of Fluent Design in Start and Action Center to now be a touch more transparent and let more of the underlying color through. Along the way we also updated the Action Center to use the newer conscientious XAML scrollbar design.
  • We fixed an issue where notifications in the Action Center lost their outline if acrylic fell back to having no transparency, for example on battery saver. We also fixed an issue where the Action Center background might become 100% transparent.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous flight wherein you couldn’t expand notifications displayed in the Action Center.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some inbox apps unexpectedly appearing to be missing after upgrading to 16215 (although Store said they were installed).
  • Snipping tool is now natively per-monitor DPI aware! That means it should no longer be blurry when used in mixed DPI environments, or when changing DPI.
  • We’ve gone through all our image resource files and removed unneeded XMP metadata.
  • We fixed an issue where some of the older control panel dialogs were unexpectedly showing grey sections instead of white.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights where selecting “Restart” in the power options list with a pending update had the same effect as “Restart and Update”.
  • When you right-click the network icon in the system tray, “Open Network and Sharing Center” will now open Network & Internet Settings.
  • We fixed an issue where the Start Fresh page was included in Microsoft Edge’s recovery store, leading to potentially multiple Start Fresh pages being visible in each window after Microsoft Edge was reopened.
  • We fixed an issue where the red heart emoji was displayed in superscript.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in ink lag and short ink strokes not being detected in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue where there was an unexpected Microsoft Text Input Application visible in Start after using the touch keyboard.
  • We fixed an issue from the last flight where Chinese IMEs would hang when typing into Cortana. We also fixed an issue that generally could make the Chinese IMEs hang when typing on the last flight.
  • We fixed an issue for some input methods in the last flight resulting in certain apps crashing if you switched to that input method while the app had focus.
  • We fixed an issue where Cortana’s search box could end up in the wrong place if you set focus to it then brought up the Emoji Panel.
  • We’ve updated the casing of the Settings category “Update & security” to now be “Update & Security” based on your feedback. We also fixed an issue from the last flight where it might hang when you tried to open this category.
  • We fixed an issue where the OS Build Info link on Windows Update Settings didn’t do anything when clicked.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the top border of UWP apps sometimes being an unexpected color.
  • We fixed an issue from 16215 where our mini-surveys (we call SIUFs) weren’t popping after the computer had been locked and unlocked.
  • We fixed an issue from 16215 where any external monitor connected to a DisplayLink dock wasn’t working and you’d just see a static logon screen.
  • We fixed an issue from 16215 due to a driver issue where Wi-Fi wasn’t working on certain devices like the Surface Pro 1 and Surface Pro 2 and some USB devices.
  • We fixed an issue from 16215 where printing wasn’t working due to having multiple copies of each printer after upgrading.

Known issues for PC

  • If you have the .NET 3.5 Framework installed, updating to this build may fail and roll back to the previous build. As a workaround, uninstall .NET 3.5 before trying to update to this build and then reinstall .NET 3.5 after you update to this build. For more info, see this forum post.
  • Auto-complete in URL bar of Microsoft Edge may fail on some devices, searching for a partial string instead of the autocompleted text picture. This issue will be fixed in an upcoming flight.
  • Some UWP apps such as Twitter will crash on launch.
  • Word 2016 will crash if you try to ink on it.
  • You may notice some of your inbox apps are now displaying a name that looks like “ms-resource:” and are listed at the bottom of Start. We’re investigating. In the meantime, the app should still launch normally, it’s only the name resource that’s impacted.
  • We’re investigating your reports that the battery status on certain laptops isn’t updating while the device is unplugged.
  • ADDED: If you pinned any websites to your taskbar, those pinned websites won’t work. You will have to in-pin and re-pin your websites to the taskbar.

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

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15226 for Mobile

Hello Windows Insiders!

We have released Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 15226 to in the Fast ring.

Changes, improvements, and fixes for Mobile

  • This build also includes all the improvements from KB4022725.
  • We fixed an issue where some apps could not subscribe to SMS receive notifications.
  • We fixed an issue for Windows Insiders where some binaries stopped working when transitioning from Insider Preview builds to officially released builds.
  • We fixed an audio issue with Bluetooth headphones after Cortana reads an incoming SMS message to the user.

Known issues for Mobile

  • In some cases, the WeChat app may crash on launch.

Keep hustling team,
Dona <3

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