Microsoft Preview Build 18298 Makes Many Small Upgrades to Windows 10

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft released Windows 10 Preview Build 18298 to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program this week. Rather than introducing one standout feature, this update makes a bunch of small improvements to various aspects of the operating system, from sign-in options to accessibility tools. The company's also released updates to Feedback Hub, Snip & Sketch and the Game bar via the Microsoft Store to upgrade those utilities.

Preview Build 18298 is the first notable release to Windows Insider Program members in a while. That's probably because Microsoft suffered a series of failures involving Windows 10 updates over the last few months. The company infamously delayed the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to mid November--at least for people who aren't using certain hardware or software--and pulled a cumulative update because it was too unstable.

It's hard to hype people up about upcoming versions of Windows 10 if the most recent versions are still unavailable on many systems. The show must go on, however, and that's where Preview Build 18298 comes in. The update introduced the ability to create a security key via the Settings app to quickly "unpin" folders and groups from the Start menu and to create bigger and brighter cursors that should be a little easier to see.

This build also brought several changes (UTF-8 encoding, a modified indicator, etc.) to Notepad. Narrator got a bunch of improvements, too, ranging from an improved reading experience to a brand new Narrator Home page in the Settings app. Microsoft's also making it clearer when it's released a Windows 10 update that requires a reboot by giving the Power icon in the Start menu an orange indicator whenever such an update is available.

The releases closed out with improvements to Feedback Hub, Snip & Sketch and the Game bar. The changes to the first two were essentially performance improvements, bug fixes and quality of life changes that won't drastically change the way those utilities are used. But we have no doubt the nine people that we playfully estimate use the Game bar will appreciate the ability to look at and share screenshots without leaving the game far more.

As usual, Preview Build 18298 also includes bug fixes and performance improvements, as well as the grab bag of known issues to which Windows Insider Program members should be no strangers. Aside from hawking its Bing Insider Program to people looking to finish up their holiday shopping, Microsoft ended its blog post by reminding folks that the first bug bash for Windows 19H1 will run from January 11-20.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.