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Microsoft releases new Windows 10 preview with WSL 2

Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview with download, Narrator, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and inking improvements. The update bumps Windows 10 from build 18912 (made available to testers on June 5) to build 18917. These builds are from the 20H1 branch, which represents the Windows 10 update that will arrive in the first half of next year.

Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released seven major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, April 2018 Update, October 2018 Update, and May 2019 Update.

The biggest addition in this release is undoubtedly WSL 2. WSL is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows. Microsoft announced the development of the next version last month. WSL 2 is based on a Linux 4.19 kernel that uses technology built for Azure. Because it uses a real Linux kernel, WSL 2 can run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows. This changes how Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer’s hardware. WSL 2 even supports running Linux Docker containers natively, so that VMs are no longer required. It also brings new commands.

For users with very low connection speeds, setting download throttling as a percentage of available bandwidth may not be enough. This build adds a new option to throttle the bandwidth used by Delivery Optimization as an absolute value. You can set this separately for foreground downloads or background downloads. Although this option already exists for IT Pros who use Group Policies or MDM policies, it’s now available in the settings page (Settings => Update & Security => Delivery Optimization => Advanced Options).

The Narrator app continues to get better. Its data table reading has improved when navigating a table using table navigation commands. Narrator now reads the header data first, followed by the cell data, and then the row/column position for that cell. Additionally, Narrator only reads the headers when the headers have changed.

Microsoft says it is converging its whiteboarding experiences. The updated Windows Ink Workspace is smaller and has a direct link to the Microsoft Whiteboard app. It includes an infinite canvas, optional backgrounds (including graph paper and solid dark grey) to choose from, rainbow ink support, and multiple pages.

Bug fixes

This 20H1 build includes the following bug fixes and improvements:

  • Fixed an issue where some users experienced a 0x8007000E error code while downloading the build due to high RAM consumption.
  • Fixed an issue where users couldn’t use the desktop Features on Demand “add a feature” option.
  • Fixed an issue where dragging the emoji and dictation panels was unexpectedly laggy.
  • Rolled out a change to address an issue where if the taskbar was set to autohide, launching the Start menu would first hide the taskbar before bringing up the Start menu.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in the Start menu and taskbar going 100% transparent on secondary monitors or after projection.
  • Updated the new File Explorer search experience to now be dark when used in dark theme. Note – this experience is still in the process of rolling out.
  • Fixed an issue where Windows Security would crash if launched from Settings when using an Arabic display language.
  • Fixed an issue where the audio service might hang on shutdown if spatial audio was turned on.

Known issues

This build has nine known issues:

  • This update might fail the first time you try to download it with a 0xc0000409 error code.
  • For Home editions, some devices might not see the “update installed” on the update history page.
  • For Home editions, some devices might not be able to see the “download progress %” change on the Windows Update page.
  • There has been an issue with older versions of anti-cheat software used with games where after updating to the latest 19H1 Insider Preview builds may cause PCs to experience crashes. Make sure you are running the latest version of your games before attempting to update the operating system.
  • Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly.
  • Tamper Protection may be turned off in Windows Security after updating to this build. You can turn it back on.
  • When using the Bopomofo IME, the character width is suddenly changed to Full width from Half width.
  • File Explorer search is rendering in an unexpectedly small area and clicking it results in a crash.
  • If you install builds from the Fast ring and switch to either the Slow ring or the Release Preview ring, optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

As always, don’t install this on your production machine.

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