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article imageMicrosoft reveals some of the next Windows 10 features

By James Walker     Oct 10, 2016 in Technology
After shipping the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is now working on the next batch of features set to be released in early 2017. Last week, it launched a new Insider Preview that provides a first glance into some of the coming improvements.
Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14942 on Friday. It is the first build of the upcoming "Redstone 2" Windows 10 update that includes notable new features for Windows Insiders to try out. Although nothing really significant has been revealed yet, the changes pave the way for more additions in the future.
Visually, Microsoft has tweaked the Start menu in a small way. It's now possible to collapse the app list in the menu, reducing its width a little. The toggle allows you to emphasise the live tiles on a tablet device, clearing the vertical list of app names out of the way. Microsoft said the feature is a "top feedback request" from Windows Insiders.
Windows 10 Start menu hide app list
Windows 10 Start menu hide app list
Microsoft
In a less user-facing change, Microsoft has changed the way in which service hosts operate. Service hosts are Windows components that provide some of the operating system's core functionality. They are groups of services that are managed collectively. This approach was adopted in Windows 2000 to save memory on the limited hardware of the time.
Today's computers have far more memory than any Windows 2000 machine. Today, even the cheapest Windows 10 tablet will have 1GB of RAM. In the time of Windows 2000, 256MB was the recommended amount. To reflect this change, Microsoft has announced it is going to begin splitting up service hosts into separate processes on devices that have 3.5GB of RAM or more.
Service hosts (before)
Service hosts (before)
Microsoft
This move will make Windows more reliable. Services will no longer be bundled together so if one crashes it won't affect any of the others. The isolation of each service will directly lead to greater security too, preventing an infected service from hijacking others.
It will also be easier for users, developers and support workers to troubleshoot problems. Windows' Task Manager currently shows the combined amount of CPU and memory use for each service host, representing upwards of 20 services each. With the update, each service will be represented individually, giving you a better understanding of which services are using your computer's resources the most.
Service hosts (revised)
Service hosts (revised)
Microsoft
The rest of the changes in this early Redstone 2 build are fairly minor. Precision touchpad support has been tuned, making gesture and swipe recognition more reliable. Microsoft has also expanded the Active Hours range so Windows 10 Pro users can assign up to 18 hour periods as "Active Hours." During this time, Windows will not automatically install updates. Windows 10 Home still has a 12 hour upper limit.
Finally, Microsoft announced a new initiative designed to connect Windows Insiders with the community around them. The company has designated October as its "#WINsiders4Good Give Month." During the month, Windows Insiders will connect with each other and Microsoft retail stores. Each group, led by a Microsoft store, will use its technical and creative knowledge to help the local community and a non-profit organisation solve a long-standing problem.
"Look around: the same social problems that have been around for generations are growing ever more complex," said Microsoft. "It’s time to use both sides of ourselves, BOTH the creative and the technical skills we all have to solve some of these." Windows Insiders can participate in the program via the instructions online. You can sign-up to be an Insider at insider.windows.com. You'll be able to get involved with Microsoft's Give Month and download the latest preview releases of Windows 10. The changes made with this release are expected to be made available to the public early next year.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, windows 10 insider preview
 
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