Microsoft releases its first Windows 10 beta build of the year

The update focuses on backend improvements, and users won't see much change

Members of the Windows Insider Program got their first new beta build of Microsoft's operating system for 2016, and it's a snoozer when it comes to user-facing features.

The new build features improvements to OneCore, the underlying shared core of Windows that's on all the devices running Windows 10 including Xbox One, smartphones and even Microsoft's HoloLens.

According to Microsoft Vice President Gabe Aul, the structural changes to OneCore are almost at the point where Microsoft is comfortable letting teams check in new features for Windows 10, which is good news for those of us looking for a taste of new functionality Microsoft has in store. 

Don't expect any new features just yet. Aul said that it will likely take a few more beta builds before "really noticeable changes" show up, based on the pace of the teams developing them. 

Aul also mentioned again that Microsoft will be easing its criteria for the reliability threshold for the Windows Insider Program's Fast ring, meaning that the company will be releasing more builds this year than it did last year. That comes at a cost to users, though: they'll likely include more bugs than they did in the past.

People who want to make sure that their computers remain reliable while still living in the future should adjust their preferences to take part in the Slow ring, which will have fewer but more reliable updates. 

This build has its share of known issues, too. Microsoft recommends that Insiders who use Citrix XenDesktop avoid the build because of a potential issue that may prevent them from logging in. In addition, users will find that some of their application defaults will be reset, and applications -- including some versions of Skype, QQ and WeChat -- that depend upon Adobe Flash may crash on launch. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

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