Rare Thursday Windows 10 Preview Build Is Here for the Dev Channel

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Microsoft has released a non-Wednesday Insider Preview Build this week. Today's Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20246 is available for those signed up with the Dev Channel. Since the Windows maker is done with the release of the October 2020 Update, it's also time for things to change for Insider Channels.

"Starting with today’s build, Windows Insiders will notice that the name of the branch we are releasing builds from has changed to FE_RELEASE," Brandon LeBlanc wrote. "Just like we did back in May when we released builds from the MN_RELEASE branch, we are practicing our ability to change which branch flight builds from."

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This shift may make some new features like the theme-aware splash screens, disappear for some Insiders, however, LeBlanc assured it's only temporary.

As our engineers work in development cycles internally, we may prioritize work being done in a specific branch and may need to move Insiders between branches. As a result of the switch to the FE_RELEASE branch, Insiders will notice that some features like the updated emoji picker, redesigned touch keyboard, voice typing, theme-aware splash screens, and others have been removed temporarily. We look to bring these features back to Insiders in the future. As an important reminder – builds from the FE_RELEASE branch are not matched to a specific Windows 10 release.

As noted above, Dev Channel builds are no longer tied to specific versions of Windows 10, however, these new features are likely to land with the 21H1 update. Matching now officially happens when these builds move to the Beta Channel.

Windows 10 21H1 Build 20246: Changes and Improvements

  • We added automatic Linux distro installation to the wsl.exe --install command! This means that users who wish to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux quickly can just type in `wsl.exe –install` into the command line and then will have a fully set up WSL instance ready to go, including their Linux distro of choice.

Fixes

  • We fixed an issue that could result in the Pick Time button in the Windows Update dialog not doing anything.
  • We fixed an issue where hovering over a thumbnail in Task View would display an unexpected border around the item.
  • We fixed an issue where chkdsk could appear to be stuck at 100% due to not printing the message saying it was done.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in a crash when disconnecting certain audio devices while playing audio in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where the Windows Update page in Settings could fail to load if connected to a Wi-Fi network with no internet connection.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing sometimes when clicking the Update and Security category.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Storage Settings unexpectedly showing incorrect category sizes (a higher number than what was visible in File Explorer).
  • We fixed an issue that could lead to a crash when managing partition size in Storage Settings.
  • We fixed an issue that stopped GPU compute scenarios such as CUDA and DirectML not working for some users inside of the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Windows 10 21H1 Build 20246: Known issues

  • We’re investigating reports of installing games from the Store to a secondary non-OS drive will result in the secondary drive becoming inaccessible. To prevent this from occurring you must change the default storage for new content to the secondary drive PRIOR to installing the game. This can be done in Settings > Storage > Change where new content is saved.
  • We’re looking into reports of the update process hanging for extended periods of time when attempting to install a new build.
  • Live previews for pinned sites aren’t enabled for all Insiders yet, so you may see a grey window when hovering over the thumbnail in the taskbar. We’re continuing to work on polishing this experience.
  • We’re working on enabling the new taskbar experience for existing pinned sites. In the meantime, you can unpin the site from the taskbar, remove it from the edge://apps page, and then re-pin the site.
  • We’re working on a fix for an issue causing some devices to experience a DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION bugcheck.
  • We’re investigating an issue reported by some Insiders wherein the taskbar is obscuring the Power button in the Start menu. If this is happening on your PC, you may need to use the Windows key plus X menu to shutdown for the time being.
  • Windows Insiders on ARM PCs such as the Surface Pro X will notice that Windows PowerShell will fail to launch on this build. As a workaround, please use “Windows PowerShell (x86)” or “Windows PowerShell ISE (x86)” from the Start menu if you need to use PowerShell. Or download the new and modern PowerShell 7 which takes advantage of ARM by running natively. Plus the icon is prettier.

Other updates for Insiders

Starting soon, the preview experience of the Calendar app will be removed in an upcoming update and return to its classic look and feel. Windows Insiders will see a pop-up notifying them of the changes to the preview experience. No action is needed at this time.  We appreciate all your great ideas and are excited to continue building the best Calendar experience

For more details, head over to the official blog post.

- Relevant: direct download W10 October 2020 Update (version 20H2)

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