The new Action Center in build 16215

Microsoft has officially released Windows 10 build 16215 to the Insider fast ring. It builds on the accidental release last week, adding some significant tweaks and features. Included are changes to the Start and Action Center, as well as new Cortana, Edge, and Pen features.

Start Menu and Action Center Changes

In a blog post on Thursday, Windows Insider head Dona Sarkar ran through some of the changes in this build. Here’s a quick summary of Start and Action Center changes:

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  • Start improvements include:
    • Acrylic: If you have transparency enabled for Start, you’ll notice it’s now been updated to use the new acrylic design.
    • Vertical resize: No more glitches at the bottom of the frame.
    • Horizontal resize: The frame now starts resizing horizontally immediately (like vertical resize), as opposed to only “snapping” to certain widths.
    • Diagonal resize: The frame can be resized diagonally!
    • Resize grips: It’s now easier to “grip” the edge of the frame to start resizing.
    • Tablet mode transition: Smoother transition into tablet mode.
  • A new look for Action Center: Action Center has been redesigned based on your feedback to provide much clearer information separation and hierarchy. And the new design for Action Center also includes elements of our Fluent Design System such as acrylic! (and in case you were wondering, we’ve also added acrylic to our notification toasts!).”

Edge and Cortana Improvements

Significant changes also came to Edge. Users of Microsoft’s browser can now pin specific websites from the taskbar for easy access. It also supports full-screen mode, EPUB annotations, and the ability to ask Cortana when viewing PDFs in the browser.

It combines with some quality of life improvements that should make the browser feel a little slicker. Microsoft has improved transitions, both for the splash screen and when opening and closing tabs. Additionally, you can now add tabs to favorites by right clicking on them.

As mentioned earlier, Build 16215 also introduces some new and very interesting functionality to Cortana. As part of the AIs ‘vision’ expansion, she will search your camera roll for posters and prompt you to create reminders about events.

 

Cortana also has some new features for Pen users. Circling relevant information on a web page lets Cortana recognize the time and suggest follow-ups.

Other enhancements for Pen build on this, with a new handwriting panel that shifts writing automatically and lets you edit text on the fly. You can also scroll directly with the Pen, rather than searching for scroll bars or using your finger.

There are plenty more improvements in this build, including new keyboard and accessibility features. It’s one of the most extensive yet, and you can view all the changes in detail on the Windows blog.

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