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Microsoft Suggests Windows 10 Preview Problems Mostly Fixed Now

Microsoft claimed today that it has fixed the major bluescreen problems that affected some testers of its Windows 10 preview builds.

The bluescreen problems affected builds 9841, 9860 and 9879, according to Gabriel Aul, a data and fundamentals team lead at Microsoft's Operating systems Group. Windows 10 preview testers were greatly affected by a "0xAB bluescreen" for build 9879, as well as an "Explorer.exe crash" affecting that same build.

The Explorer.exe crash affected "about 12% of PCs" using the preview, according to a December 8 Microsoft Windows forum post, which provided a workaround solution. However, the workaround isn't needed now. Aul indicated yesterday in a Twitter post that the latest hotfix issued for the Windows 10 preview had addressed the Explorer.exe problem. He added, in a blog post on Friday, that Microsoft had "fixed the most frequently occurring bluescreens and user mode crashes that were reported by you in builds 9841, 9860, and 9879."

One of the preconditions for testing the Windows 10 preview, which is done by joining Microsoft's Windows Insider program, is that testers have to accept the updates that come down via the Windows Update service. That's a somewhat new approach by Microsoft for its Windows previews. It subjects testers to whatever may come down the pipe, good or bad.

Aul's blog post noted that the Windows 10 preview crashes had delivered some pain for testers. He also noted that "we hit a couple of bumps with servicing that affected you as well." He explained that Microsoft's build and servicing processes were being conducted "faster than ever before" and that Microsoft would eventually smooth it out.

Despite all of its problems, this Windows 10 preview has had the greatest number of testers compared with the number of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 testers, according to Aul. There are more than 1.5 million registered Windows 10 preview testers, with 450,000 actively using it. Microsoft has fixed 1,300 software flaws that were reported by the testers to date, he added.

Microsoft is also incorporating some user suggestions in its Windows 10 preview builds. Aul listed the following additions, which were added based on user feedback:

  • Ability to specify a default folder to open when starting File Explorer
  • Ability to turn off the reporting of "recent files and/or frequent folders"
  • The addition of a Start Menu animation

Microsoft will talk more about Windows 10's features in a January 21 presentation, which is expected to have a consumer focus. Microsoft also has been touting Windows 10 as bringing benefits to business users, especially for those who found the Windows 8 transition, with its touch-screen emphasis, to be a bit jarring.

Windows 10 is being designed to run on hardware with the same requirements as Windows 7, Microsoft noted, in a blog post. Microsoft is also working to ensure that "compatibility between Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 is excellent."

Aul said that Microsoft isn't releasing any more Windows 10 preview builds this month, although he acknowledged that builds 9888 and 9901 had already leaked. Microsoft has a caveat for users of build 9901. It won't get automatically updated with the next build because of a software flaw. Consequently, build 9901 users will "need to upgrade manually using the ISOs that are released" by Microsoft to continue to get updated Windows 10 preview builds.

Microsoft may be planning regular monthly releases of Windows 10. The final product is expected to arrive in either the late summer or early fall of 2015.

Aul didn't indicate when the next Windows 10 preview will arrive, although a "January technical preview" is expected to arrive next month. Microsoft has said that a "developer preview" version of Windows 10 will be available in early summer 2015.

Microsoft has generally experimented with its product release cycles in recent years. The company seems to be releasing product updates when deemed ready, rather than based on a fixed schedule, which was its past practice. Its preview releases seem to follow an even more unpredictable pattern these days, and they are arriving with flaws that used to cause Microsoft to pull them. Aul suggested that this faster release cycle is helping Microsoft to release more polished software products at a faster pace than in the past.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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