Just days after Microsoft showcased a huge number of cool new features that will be provided in Windows 10, Microsoft has unleashed the January build for the Windows Insider Program. This build is version 9926, for those keeping track, and it offers several services that were revealed to the public on Wednesday. Unfortunately, not everything shown during the press briefing is available in this particular build.
"The gap between 9879 and 9926 is the longest you should expect to see with the program, because of the holidays and the need to add and stabilize feature payloads," said Microsoft's Gabe Aul. "We'll get new builds out faster moving forward – thank you for being patient with us."
For those unwilling to wait for Windows 10 Technical Preview to download the new build on its own, Insiders can open up the PC Settings app, click "Update and Recovery," then "Preview Builds." The "Download Now" button should be available. At press time, we're still waiting for the update to download, but we expect the file to weigh in around 3 GB.
So what's new with Build 9926? We'll finally see Cortana on the desktop, as well as a new Start Menu, a new Settings app, and better connectivity to wireless audio and video devices. There's also new Photos and Maps apps, the new Xbox app and a brand new standalone Windows Store "Beta" that will work alongside the Windows Store that's already baked into Windows.
"Sorry it's confusing to have two, but we wanted to give you an early preview of the new Windows Store," Aul said. "It includes a new visual design which will be common across PCs, tablets, phones and the web. It works well within a window and can be updated independently from the OS (this matters because it allows for more frequent updates). Keep in mind this is a preview."
Aul also pointed out that this build features changes that are based on the Insider Program feedback. For instance, support for additional languages has been added, along with a progress bar so that Insiders can see how long it will be until the new preview build has fully downloaded (currently, we only have a spinning circle). Other feedback-based changes include fixing the keyboard lights when Caps Lock/Num Lock/Scroll is toggled, the ability to pick a default folder when opening File Explorer, and more.
Aul also listed several known problems with Build 9926. For starters, the battery icon will appear on the lock screen even if the PC doesn't have a battery. Start Menu tiles now show "truncated" names, and devices such as the Surface Pro 3 may have a reduced battery life. Cortana also has a problem with basic and complex reminders, and the music app will disappear if minimized within 16 seconds after it's launched.
Finally, Aul's update said that the Windows Insider Program will be extended to phones next month. More details regarding that release will be provided soon. In the meantime, Microsoft has provided a "sneak peek" video that shows what is new in this particular build, which is embedded below.