Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17686 Improves WMR

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17686 to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program. This update includes localization improvements, a new privacy tool, and several changes to the company's burgeoning Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) platform.

The changes to WMR start with Microsoft nixing the requirement for a physical monitor. This update is supposed to make it easier for people who own backpack PCs to use WMR. (Apparently the company doesn't have any terms forbidding people with questionable-at-best fashion sense from using the platform. That's a relief.) You'll still need one when you sign in for the first time, but after that you can set it up to automatically sign in.

Here's how Microsoft described the other changes made to WMR with this build:

  • Apps running in Windows Mixed Reality can now make use of the Camera Capture UI API to capture images of the mixed reality world using the system capture experience. Try running Mail in the Cliff House and inserting an image from your camera in a new message to share an image of the scenic view.
  • We’ve also made some adjustments to the mixed reality video capture experience in this build to make it easier to stop videos from the Start menu.

Preview Build 17686 doesn't just bring changes for WMR. Microsoft has also improved localization features with a new settings page that lets you manually set your "Calendar, First day of the week, Dates, Times, and Currency" by going to Settings > Time & Language > Region. Local Experience Packs offered via the Microsoft Store will also let you improve Windows 10's support for your language of choice.

The smallest change in Preview Build 17686 is a new privacy tool. If you've disabled access to your microphone in your privacy settings, Windows 10 will now show a notification the first time an app tries to use the microphone. Not only should this make it easier to figure out when apps try to listen in, but it also makes it clear that your mic isn't being picked up because of your privacy settings, not a hardware issue.

Preview Build 17686 includes other small changes, such as renaming video clips taken by the Game Bar from "Game DVR" to "Captures," and the usual bugs that accompany pre-release software. One of those issues also sees the Mixed Reality Portal reinstall the Mixed Reality Software without preserving your environment settings, though, which means you'll have to set everything back up if you install this build.

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.