Slowly but surely, Windows 10 is getting a fresh coat of paint, one piece at a time. These changes to the look and feel of Windows is what’s known as Microsoft’s Fluent Design language (previously called Project Neon), a long-term project to alter the way certain parts of Windows 10 look and how users interact with the OS. The latest test build available to Windows Insiders highlights more of these design elements that are bound for the next major update to Windows 10.
Preview build 18290 in the Windows Insider program is an early look at Redstone 6 (the October 2018 Update is Redstone 5), which if all goes to plan will be pushed out to the public in the first half of next year. It will be the first of two major upgrades to Windows 10 in 2019.
“When you update to today’s build you’ll notice we’ve polished up the power and user menus in Start as well—including adding icons for easier identification. This will also be visible in the power menu on the sign in screen,” Microsoft says.
Beyond a splash of additional Fluent Design paint, the latest preview build introduces some new features, such as the ability to manually synchronize the clock in Windows 10 with Microsoft’s time server. Microsoft said it added the functionality in response to feedback it received from users.
“This will help in scenarios where you think the clock might be out of sync, or if the time service has been disabled. We’ll also show the last time that time was successfully synced, and the address of your current time server,” Microsoft explains.
Another new feature is the ability to see which app is using the microphone. The latest test build introduces a new mic icon that, when hovered over, shows if one or more apps are using the microphone, and identifies them. Double-clicking the icon brings up the microphone’s privacy settings.
Microsoft made improvements to search and Cortana too. The company says it is “exploring some options for improving these experiences in Windows. When you start a search now, you’ll notice we’ve updated the landing page—giving recent activities a bit more room to breathe, adding light theme support, a touch of acrylic and including all the search filter options as pivots from the get go.”
There are a few other tidbits in the latest test build, including a bunch of fixes and improvements to overall compatibility with certain elements of Windows 10. It’s available to download now for Windows Insiders who are subscribed in the Fast ring.