Category Archives: Windows Insider Program

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15240 for Mobile

Hello Windows Insiders!
We are releasing Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 15240 to Insiders in the Fast ring. For this flight, it’ll be a bit of a staggered release and it might not show up for you until tomorrow morning. Please be patient while waiting for the build to show up.
What’s New in Build 15240 for Mobile
Emoji 5.0: Just like we did on PC, we have added support for the latest Unicode updates – including new snacks, actions, dinosaurs, and even fantasy characters like genies, fairies and zombies – to Windows 10 Mobile in this build. They’re all accessible via both the touch keyboard and the Emoji Panel. 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:

Examples of updated emoji – before:

And after:

Chinese Lunar Calendar: We have received questions about supporting the Chinese Lunar calendar on Windows 10 Mobile. The power of a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app is that it can run on any Windows-based device. The Calendar UWP app supports the Chinese Lunar calendar on both PC and Mobile. Here’s how you  can enable the calendar on Mobile:

Launch the Calendar app
Select Settings >Calendar settings
Enable “Alternative Calendars” and select Chinese and Lunar in the dropdowns.

Et Voila – you have the Chinese Lunar Calendar on your phone!
General changes, improvements, and fixes for Mobile
We fixed the issue where trying to update Windows Store apps saved to your SD card resulted in an 8007000B error. Apps installed on SD cards should update without any issue.
We fixed an issue where there was no icon shown for Windows Update for either new notifications or on the settings page under Settings > System > Notifications & actions.
Known issues for Mobile
Occasionally, Narrator speaks phrases in English rather than the chosen non-English language.
There is a problem with the HP Elite X3 with wired docks where the portrait orientation setting is lost when the external display is disconnected and reconnected. A workaround for this is to reboot the phone after tapping the “OK” button instead of disconnecting and reconnecting. This workaround must be performed every time you connect to an external display you want to use with Continuum in portrait orientation.
When installing or updating a Windows Store app, you may see error 80070057. As a workaround, you can get the latest app by uninstalling the older version of the app from your device and reinstall latest version from Store.
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona

Announcing Windows Server Insider Preview Build 16257

Hello Windows Insiders!
Today we are very excited to be releasing Windows Server Insider Preview Build 16257 to Windows Insiders. To access, register at the Windows Insiders for Business program or the Windows Insider program and then navigate to the Windows Server Insider Preview download page.
This release also includes the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) packages. When installed on a Windows 10 client, RSAT allows a user to remotely manage and administer Insider builds of Windows Server via GUI tools. Valid on Windows 10 client builds greater than 16250.
General Scenario Highlights
Developers and Containers:
New base container images (available on Windows Insider Docker Hub repo)
Optimized Nano Server base image (over 70% smaller)
The .NET team is providing a preview image based on Nano Server with .NET Core 2.0
The PowerShell team is providing a preview image based on PowerShell 6.0

Optimized Server Core base image (over 20% smaller)

Support for SMB volume mounting
Infrastructure for Orchestrators
Networking enhancements for ongoing Kubernetes work
Named pipe mapping support

Bug fixes, performance enhancements
Cloud Guest:
IIS
TLS info: administrators can make specific recommendations to default to HTTPS

Disaster Recovery
Storage Replica Test Failover

Guest + Host better together
vPMEM in Guest: Tenants can use and manage PMEM/SCM
Tenant-Aware VM Start Ordering: App Ready / OS Heartbeat for better load balancing
Guest RDMA

Improvement in time accuracy
Azure enlightened clusters – optimized to run on Azure IaaS
Cloud Host:
Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) host
Security
Shielded Linux VM
SDN: Encrypted virtual networks
Secure clusters
SMB 1 disabled by default

Resiliency and Availability
SDN: Reduced downtime for tenant connections through gateways
Spaces Direct: Scoped Spaces to mitigate impact of multi-node loss
Spaces Direct: Marginal drive handling for predictive detection of drive failures

Efficiency
Data Deduplication available for ReFS
New Data Deduplication DataPort API for optimized ingress/egress
Space efficiency with ReFS Compaction
Performant Spaces Direct Multi Resilient Volumes (MRV)

Hyper-converged Scale
Cluster Sets: Significantly increases hyper-converged SDDC cloud scale by grouping multiple clusters into a larger fabric

Hardware support
Support for Storage Class Memory (SCM) in Spaces Direct

What’s New in Build 16257 for Windows Server
Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is available on Windows Server
Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is now available on Windows Server along with a compliment of Linux distributions.
Test WSL on Windows Server.  WSL runs unmodified Linux (ELF64) binaries natively.  With the additions of WSL you can run node.js, Ruby, Python, Perl, Bash scripts or other tools that expect Linux behaviors, environment, or filesystem-layout, the ability to install and run Linux with WSL expands the tools at your disposal on Windows Server.
At this time, WSL does not support persistent Linux services (such as daemons and jobs) as background tasks. To enable WSL and install a Linux distribution, see Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Install a Linux distribution in the Windows Server 2016 Installation Guide on GitHub.
Read more in this blog or follow the installation guide to try it out.
 
How to Download
The latest Windows Server build and matching symbols are available for download here. Matching Windows Server container images will be available via the Docker Hub. For more information about Windows Server containers and Insider builds, please visit http://aka.ms/containers/insiders.
The following keys are available for unlimited activations of Windows Server. These keys may be used throughout the pre-release cycle.
Server Datacenter Core: B69WH-PRNHK-BXVK3-P9XF7-XD84W
Server Standard Core: V6N4W-86M3X-J77X3-JF6XW-D9PRV
NOTE: If you signed up for Windows Insiders for Business using an AAD account, there is a temporary issue with access to the Windows Server Download page using AAD accounts. If you registered using an MSA account at the Windows Insider program, your MSA account may be used to access the page and to download builds until this is resolved.
It’s all about your feedback! 
Use the Feedback Hub app to provide feedback on Windows Server builds. Feedback Hub comes pre-installed on Windows 10. Register a Windows 10 device with the Windows Insider or Windows Insider for Business programs. Open the Feedback Hub application. Choose the Server category and then the appropriate subcategory for your feedback. Please indicate what edition and build number you are providing feedback on. The Feedback Hub app cannot scan a server for diagnostic information, however you may manually attach screenshots or other files to your feedback entry.
We encourage you to visit the Windows Server Insiders space on the Microsoft Tech Communities forum to collaborate, share and learn from experts.
The expiration date for this server preview build is 12/4/2017.
Known issues 
The background tasks infrastructure service (Bisrv.dll) may cause a system crash because of a null class pointer read error (0xC0000005) or a failfast corrupt list entry (0xC0000409) during a Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) launch, or because of a critical process bug check (error code 0xC0000409, bug check 0xEF) in the host process for Windows services (Svchost.exe).
Calling into the firewall service may hang: Apps that call into the firewall, such apps that use networking, may become unresponsive until the user reboots because of an application hang end-task error (0xCFFFFFFF) in the Windows firewall API library (FirewallAPI.dll), which occurs when the library is blocked on an advanced local procedure call (ALPC) port while attempting to diagnose a connection failure and retrieve information.
Cluster Sets: A couple of key functionalities to enable end-to-end testing of Cluster Sets scenarios are not present in this build, so defer all evaluation of this scenario to a future build.
Bugcheck during volume creation: A stop error may occur during volume creation in a cluster. The recommended workaround is, after restarting the computer, to delete the volume and try creation again.
Bugcheck during volume repair: A stop error may occur during volume repair in a cluster. The recommended workaround is to restart the computer. No corruption or data loss is expected.
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona

The Beam Machine

A Retrospective
In late 2016, the Windows Insider team did something new. We hosted a real-time Webcast. While the concept of a webcast is not new, this was the first one for us. We hosted it during the development cycle for the Creator’s update and we timed it with the first Bug Bash. It was a small but fun session and we immediately knew it was something we’d want to do again. When the second Bug Bash for the Windows 10 Creators Update occurred in February of this year, we hosted two more webcast sessions. Each session was a success and brought in more Insiders from around the world. The webcasts provided an opportunity to chat directly with, for Insiders to chat with one other, and to have a little face-to-face time with some of the Microsoft employees they engage with frequently on social media.
As with anything new, there were some growing pains. The webcast sessions were fun and engaging, but the broadcast itself was a bit rough around the edges. There were a few technical difficulties with the streaming software, the PC hosting the video stream was a bit underpowered, and Insiders reported the video quality as being sub-par. Although the general feedback about the webcasts was positive, we knew we could make some improvements and provide a better experience.
What to do?
Insider feedback in-hand, it was time to make a few changes, but where to start? The easy thing to tackle was the video quality. We used a small lower-resolution webcam for the original webcasts, so making a change here was straight-forward. To enhance this part of the webcast experience, we acquired a Logitech BRIO 4k webcam. It is the first 4k consumer webcam and during our internal testing with it, it provides a huge leap in video quality compared to our previous hardware.
The Logitech Brio
Next up for review was the broadcasting software.  Our first broadcasts were run using OBS Studio with FTL.  This software was simple to set up and configure and was easy to become familiar with for our webcasts. Knowing we wanted to get progressively “fancier” over the course of time, we posed some questions to the web community and to our partners on the Beam team as to what the best software out there is and were pointed to XSplit Broadcaster. While we haven’t hosted a webcast using this new software, it does look like it will allow us to achieve some of our future goals with providing higher quality webcasts.
Having tackled two of the three important aspects of the webcast, it was time to overhaul the computer being used to host the broadcast. That brings us to the birth of the #BeamMachine.
The #BeamMachine
How do you start a new PC build?  If you could pick out the parts and build to your own specifications, what hardware would you choose? The core of any new PC builds comes down to two key questions: what is your budget, and do you want an Intel or AMD based setup? Our focus for this build was video streaming, a function that is CPU intensive and is good to support with the proper RAM.  We weren’t building a gaming rig, so we didn’t need the most cutting edge graphics card. The rest of the core components would fall into place as we compiled our parts list.
Wanting to build a solid machine that would be somewhat future-proof, we chatted with some partner teams and set our build expectations. As much fun as it is to spend money on new computers, we have budgets too! Being the figurative core of the new build, the first part up for consideration was the CPU.  Intel has a reputation for being the fastest and most cutting-edge, but that performance comes at a price. Comparatively, AMD recently released their new Ryzen series processor and the initial reviews on performance were promising. Keeping our budget in mind, the new Ryzen chipset was now the focal point of the build. The difference between the 1700x and the faster 1800x was $100, so we decided to splurge a bit and go for the faster version.
The AMD Ryzen 7 1800x Processor
Having settled on a processor, the rest of the #BeamMachine build fell into place quickly. Being a first-generation processor, the list of compatible motherboards was somewhat limited, but thankfully some of the better-known OEMs have already been working on their supporting hardware. Given our timeline for the build, general availability, and MSI’s reputation for ease of setting over-clocking configurations, the new X370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard rose to the top of our build list.
MSI’s X370 Gaming Pro Carbon
Next up was RAM and the choices were bountiful. Honestly there were more options than we could sort through. There’s a lot to take into consideration though. What speed RAM do you want? Are you going to over-clock it?  What’s the performance vs. cost ratio?  I personally have had great past experiences with G.Skill RAM and overclocking and quickly settled on a choice.
G.Skill Trident Z RGB RAM
Next on the list was graphics.  As mentioned before, we didn’t need the most powerful graphics card out there since it’s not vital to the streaming experience. Knowing this wouldn’t be a constraint, there were plenty of options to select from. Hard drive capability was another important factor if we were going to record the video streams, so we made sure to put a high-quality solid-state drive (SSD) on the build list.
Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD
At this point we were down to the finishing components. We needed to top off the build with a quality power supply, a case that would show off the internal components, and we made the decision to add a closed-loop liquid cooling system (because hey, why not!).  With these final components selected, the #BeamMachine was ready to go! Well, on paper at least.  Now it was time to order parts and wait for the boxes to arrive. Over the course of about two weeks, boxes arrived one-by-one until the full slate of components was ready to go and the new PC was ready to come to life. It was finally time to start building!
Here’s a quick recap of the system components used in the build:
AMD Ryzen 7 1800x CPU
MSI x370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard
32GB (4x8GB) G.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 RAM
Samsung EVO 960 M.2 NVME solid-state drive
MSI GEFORCE GTX 1050 TI graphics card
Corsair H110i liquid cooling system
Corsair RM750x power supply
Thermaltake X71 full-tower case
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste
And of course, some awesome LEDs to make the build stand out
Thankfully we took many photos throughout the build process as we wanted to document and share the build process for anyone who has never assembled their own PC, or for those who love watching new PCs come to life.  Without further ado, let’s get to the photos!
The pile of internal components.

A freshly unboxed PC case.
The new MSI motherboard, complete with built-in M.2 SSD slots.
Time to start building!
What’s a PC build without a little Mountain Dew? And a CPU!
The new AMD Ryzen 7 1800x CPU taking its place.
Dropping the new SSD into place.
Next in: the Corsair RM 750X Power Supply.
A fully-modular power supply is a dream for cable management! 

It’s starting to look a little like a PC!
Now for some cooling capability: Corsair H110i liquid cooling unit.
Yours truly attaching the radiator to the top of the case.
The Corsair H110i comes with the necessary AMD Ryzen bracket!
Four quick snaps and our 32GB of RAM is quickly installed.
Graphics anyone? Remove two accessory panels from the back of the case and the new MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a quick install.
Attaching up the case header pins, some fan plugs, and of course… the speaker!
Easy clean: the Thermaltake X71 case has a removable magnetic mesh top.
A view from “the dark side”. Cable management is important!

The end is near!
A quick-power on to ensure all is well and that the BIOS posts as expected.
Who is going to clean up this mess?

The #BeamMachine is alive and well. And in the words of the late Bob Ross, “we’ll put a happy little tree right here…”
In total the build took a little over two hours. I’ll admit that I’m picky about cable management, a topic that many home PC builders tend to be very particular about (and rightfully so). If you’re going to take the time to build a beautiful new PC, it’s worth putting in the effort to do it properly.
Overall the build went very smoothly; there were no hardware install problems and with the careful consideration put into the parts before purchase, all the hardware chosen was fully compatible and we did not encounter any inter-operability issues. It’s nice when a build comes together! There’s something special about putting in the time and effort to build it yourself, and while not all Windows Insiders out there build their own PCs, there are no doubt many of you who have gone through this same process and felt the wave of joy when it boots and posts after you press the power button for the first time.
Any time you set out to create something, be it a piece of software, a new PC build, or something as altruistic as sharing feedback on a bug or new feature idea you have, you’re taking the time to invest yourself. You’re investing in your abilities, your ideas, and your desire to have an impact. Windows Insiders invest every day via participation in this program. Our efforts to build a new PC to better connect with you all via our monthly webcasts is another way of showing our appreciation for all you do day-in and day-out to make the Insider program the success it has become and will continue to be. I look forward to connecting with you and am excited about our new series of webcasts.
Continue creating, and as Dona always says, “keep hustlin’”!
– Jason

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16184 for PC + Build 15208 for Mobile

Hello Windows Insiders!
Today we are excited to be a) hosting our very first Insider webcast from the brand new #BeamMachine AND b) doing our first ever build release during a webcast. We are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16184 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. We are also releasing Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 15208 to Insiders in the Fast ring.
What’s New in Build 16184 For PC
My People: Technology is all about making it easier for you to connect with your most important people. Whether you want to share a photo, make plans for dinner, or get an answer from a friend or coworker – My People is here to take it to the next level and bring the people you care about most to the center of your experience.

You can now:
Pin your people to the taskbar – we’ll suggest some to start with, or you can pick your own! (Note: you are currently limited to having 3 people pinned to your taskbar currently.)
View multiple communication apps together and filtered to each person on your taskbar.
Choose the app you want to use to chat and we’ll remember for next time.
By now, you are wondering ‘but how do I host this party in my taskbar?’. To start with, go to the Store app and make sure you have all the latest updates for the Skype, Mail, and People apps. Then click on the People icon in the taskbar to activate the first run experience and get setup.
Note: Contact syncing is enabled by default following system settings in versions 11.13+ of Skype. If you have an older version of Skype you will need to manually enable contact syncing via the Skype app settings.
Have feedback you want to share with the team? We want to hear it! You can send us feedback by tapping the ellipsis in the People flyout and selecting “Send feedback”, or by opening the Feedback Hub and sharing your thoughts in the Desktop Environment > My People section. We have some more work on its way for this that will soon be lighting up for Insiders, including our improved Share story for People, so stay tuned!
New experience for Gmail accounts in Windows 10 Mail & Calendar apps: Last week, we announced we’re introducing a new experience for Gmail accounts in the Windows 10 Mail and Calendar apps that brings our latest features such as Focused Inbox and richer experiences for travel reservations and package deliveries that were previously only available to those with an Outlook.com or Office 365 email address. Windows Insiders will be the first to try out the new experience as the roll-out gradually happens over the next few weeks. You’ll know the new experience is available for your account when you are prompted to update your Gmail account settings.

Changes, improvements, and fixes for PC
We fixed an issue where night light could get stuck in a disabled state.
We’ve updated Start to use the improved XAML scrollbar style announced during Creators Update development.
We fixed an issue from recent flights where dragging an app from Start’s All apps list into the tile grid would result in Start crashing.
We fixed an issue for those using Windows in Japanese, where on first login after an upgrade certain apps would unexpectedly appear at the bottom of the Start’s All apps list for an hour or until being launched, instead of the normal sorted position.
Since the preview picture in Start Settings only previewed background and theming changes, which are already available to be previewed on their corresponding Settings pages, we’ve made the decision to remove it.
We’ve improved the loading performance of the Notification Settings page.
Some audio drivers have an “encoding Audio Processing Object” feature; this is commonly known as “Dolby Digital Live” or “DTS Connect”. This takes the output of the Windows audio engine mix, encodes it (as Dolby Digital, DTS, or some other format) and sends it out over a S/PDIF optical link for decoding by an external audio receiver. An issue was introduced which resulted in this feature no longer working, which is now fixed.
We fixed an issue from recent flights resulting in Photos crashing if you opened a picture from the Collection page and then pressed the back button in the title back.
We fixed an issue resulting in Counter Strike Global Offensive hanging or freezing during game play on the latest builds (16176+).
We fixed the issue where pressing F12 to open the Developer Tools in Microsoft Edge while F12 is open and focused may not return focus to the tab F12 is opened against, and vice-versa.
Known issues for PC
ADDED: PC Reset via Settings > Update & security > Recovery will not work on this build.
Some Insiders have reported seeing this error “Some updates were cancelled. We’ll keep trying in case new updates become available.” in Windows Update. See this forum post for more details.
Double-clicking on the Windows Defender icon in the notification area does not open Windows Defender. Right-clicking on the icon and choosing open will open Windows Defender.
Surface 3 devices fail to update to new builds if a SD memory card is inserted. The updated drivers for the Surface 3 that fix this issue have not yet been published to Windows Update.
exe will crash and restart if you tap any of the apps listed in the Windows Ink Workspace’s Recent Apps section.
Insiders who use Simplified Chinese IMEs or the Traditional Chinese Changjie or Quick IME to input text will find that the candidate window doesn’t appear when typing into certain apps. If you press space, the first candidate will be finalized. Using the number keys will not finalize any other candidate. If the candidate you need is not the first one, for now you will have to enter your text into an app where the candidate window appears, such as Notepad, and copy it into the desired text field.
Navigating to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update may crash Settings app. You can simply re-open the Settings app again and it should work again.
The “Save” dialog appears to be broken in several desktop (Win32) apps. The team is investigating. This will break things such as Chinese IME, etc.
Localized apps on localized x64 Windows 10 Insider Preview builds will not work.
We’ve heard some reports that the Action Center isn’t opening as reliably in recent builds, and are investigating.
Changes, improvements, and fixes for Mobile
We’ve fixed the issue where some Insiders were unable to open both the Connect UX page and/or the “Add Bluetooth or other devices” setting on the Bluetooth Settings page.
We fixed an issue resulting in an unexpected extra ~20 sec being added to the phone shutdown process due to a deadlock if you tried to shut down soon after switching from one network to another.
Known issues for Mobile
A small percentage of devices may experience text message backup loss related to backup and recovery of the messaging database.
The copyright date is incorrect under Settings > System > About. It shows as 2016 when it should be 2017. Thanks to the Windows Insiders that reported this!
Insiders may experience random shutdowns on some devices.
In some cases, the WeChat app may crash on launch.
 Community Updates
Many Windows Insiders have asked to be introduced to members of the team beyond the four of us they engage with daily on the Twitters/forums. This is something we’ll do in these blog posts and publish them on our SHINY new website that will debut in June. Today we’ll start with the Windows Insider team.

First a quick walkthrough of how our org works.
Windows and Devices Group – thousands of people who build Windows, our apps, devices and services. Within WDG are a group of people called.
Community Champs + FlightOps – Engineers throughout WDG who live and breathe customer data/feedback – these are all the lovely humans who help make flight/no flight decisions based on data and feedback from Windows Insiders. Each person is responsible for a specific area from Core UX to deployment and are the main evangelists for customer feedback for their area. Within this group are a bunch of folks you all probably know well.
Windows Insider Team – a scrappy group of six who represent the Windows Insiders both internally and externally. Here we are below left to right with our Twitter handles. Please get in touch with us if you want to know about the things we’re working on!
Dona Sarkar (@donasarkar) – Chief #NinjaCat wrangler Dona’s main responsibility is making sure the right bugs and features are being invested in by the engineering teams for this release and future releases and communicating back to Insiders. Another responsibility is engaging with all of the other community engagement programs in Microsoft and figure out how they can Insider like Windows does. A third area of investigation is figuring out how to empower Insiders to grow and use their technical superpowers to create a lasting impact in their world.
Blair Glennon (@jbglennon) – Baseball loving Blair leads the Windows Insider Program for Business sub-program and owns Insider Insights. He is the one who partners with our AMAZING data science team to understand the happiness and health of our overall community. Through both quant and qual data (cluster/trend analysis, surveys, side convos at meet-ups), he helps us determine what we need to do to better co-create Windows and the Insider program with you all.
Jason Howard (@northfacehiker) – #TeriyakiTuesday-loving Beam Master Jason leads social sentiment from Insiders to communicate to the overall WDG org. He also spends a ton of his time helping Insiders get unblocked on build issues and rolling up lists of top issues to the product teams. He is also the creator and owner of the monthly Insider Beam webcasts.
Tyler Ahn (@skrelnick) – Chihuahua-mom Tyler leads the Global fan programs and the Insider MVP Program. She is partnering with Brandon on the website spec and launch and thinking about how to create Insider-in-a-box so you can run Insider programs within your own organizations! She has over a decade of experience doing business development in emerging markets and has the superpower of taking an activity and figuring out how to scale it globally eg CAT-in-a-box, forums, etc. She has been an INVALUABLE asset for our team as we think about building products and services to empower EVERY person and organization on the planet to do the thing.
Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) – Bat’leth wielding Brandon owns the main communication to Insiders. He works with the Community Champs to make sure the features and bugs are represented in our communication. Brandon is working on the Insider all-up social media strategy as well as content creation for our shiny new website.
Jeremiah Marble (@jeremiahmarble) – Global negroni hunter Jeremiah is the architect of the Windows Insider Program. He drives projects for our core audiences and projects, deciding where and how to grow our community. This year, he’s focusing heavily on global entrepreneurs and creatives. He also leads our “Co-Creating with Sub-communities” initiative, which will launch its first pilots in June. As a third area, he’s looking at ways to better connect Insiders seeking to help others. Jeremiah was a founding member of the Windows Insider Program and our current “village elder”.
Keep hustling team,
Dona

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