Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 Offers Mixed Reality, Gaming Improvements

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program. This new build includes many improvements to Windows 10 input sources, the Microsoft Edge browser, and the operating system's ease of access. But the real stars are bug fixes for various aspects of Windows Mixed Reality as well as the ability to keep an eye on your GPU's performance via Windows 10's Task Manager.

Windows Mixed Reality has become increasingly important to Microsoft. At its Build developer conference in May, the company revealed a new Fluent Design system to encourage developers to make apps that work on tablets, VR HMDs, and everything in between; announced new motion controllers for WMR headsets; and set up several demo stations where people could experience HoloLens and Acer's WMR HMD for themselves.

Preview Build 16226 is all about refinement. Here's the list of fixes and improvements to Windows Mixed Reality, per Microsoft's blog post:

The Mixed Reality software download issue has been fixed. The workaround that has been provided for the last flight can be removed. You could directly upgrade to Build 16226 and get the Mixed Reality software.360 Video issue with video quality has also been fixed.New Teleportation Model also introduced in this flight, where we transitioned to a much easier teleportation and navigation model only using the left joystick.Speech improvements where we have improved the speech interaction experience through out Mixed Reality platform.Headset Reliability Improvement where we are going to continuously improve on this in future flights.We also fixed issues when trying to get out of limited mode.We fixed the issue where the Mixed Reality Portal does not shut down cleanly.We fixed the issue where Cortana now opens up apps correctly within the Mixed Reality environment.We fixed the issue where there is multiple gaze cursor in exclusive mode apps.We also fixed the issue where the Boundary is set smaller than the actual.

Of note are the new teleportation model, the commitment to making headsets more reliable, and the improved speech recognition. All three aspects will prove critical as Microsoft attempts to convince people that Windows Mixed Reality isn't just for gamers. The company believes you'll eventually do much of your computing through an HMD, but that can only happen if everything is easy to use and as reliable as current devices.

Preview Build 16226 also includes several gaming-related improvements. One is the addition of an Xbox Networking section in the Settings app that can "identify and resolve issues preventing you from using voice chatting and playing multiplayer games with other Xbox Live users." The other is the ability to monitor "GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component" and graphics memory usage stats in Task Manager.

Many enthusiasts probably use third-party software to make sure everything's running like it's supposed to. Windows 10's built-in Task Manager is supposed to cater to everyone, though, and Microsoft's decision to include GPU monitoring highlights just how mainstream discrete graphics have become. (Another sign: Apple's decision to upgrade the graphics cards in its Mac lineup and to finally support external GPUs in macOS.)

Microsoft said this GPU tracking is "still under construction" and that you "will find issues and bugs." That's to be expected in the Fast ring, though, and giving feedback on Task Manager could help make sure the utility is more polished when it reaches mainstream Windows 10 users.

You'll also find new emoji, an improved Edge, and many other changes in Preview Build 16226. We expect future builds to be just as feature-packed, especially as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update's release approaches. Microsoft made it clear at Build that it wants to continue to rapidly update Windows 10 with the community's feedback, which means the Windows Insider Program is likely to keep moving at full speed.

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.

  • shpankey
    Like almost everyone else, this gets stuck installing and completely hoses up windows update. Avoid like the plague.