While Windows 10 Build 9901 isn’t rumored to be released until January 21 in conjunction with their planned press webcast event, a pre-release version was leaked in mid-December. MSFT has acknowledged the leak, and their lead of the Insiders Program, Gabriel Aul, tweeted MSFT’s surprising position on the leak, “How could we be upset about lots of people wanting to try our new stuff?”. He has advised, however, that while MSFT is glad so many people are excited and willing to test the pre-beta software, there are still bugs which should be considered before installing.

The primary downside to this leaked build is that the upgrade feature is broken, so moving to the official build later in the month will be possible via new ISO only. The upside, however, is the first look at some cool new features. Many seem to be aimed at narrowing the gap in user experience between the Windows phone/tablet and the laptop/desktop.

Here’s a list of a few noted changes/new features:

  • Cortana integration – The Windows phone personal assistant is being integrated into the desktop search experience. Zac Bowden of WinBeta has shared a nice video demonstration of the Cortana features enabled so far in the leaked build.
  • App store display redesign.
  • Xbox app redesign.
  • New colors and images in the desktop. Task and title bars are dark.
  • Modern app look-and-feel – title bars have been redesigned with a cleaner and more intuitive look, and settings are displayed within the app which seems more logical.
  • Spartan browser – allegedly leaked screenshots of the new minimalistic browser coming in the official 9901 build. Cortana is being integrated with the Spartan browser.

I’ll post more on the new features in a later blog, but I’m certainly looking forward to Build 9901 and the updates on January 21.

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