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Windows Insider Build 20161 Brings Redesigned Start Menu & More!


Windows 10 is getting a design revamp with it's next major release & the new Insider Build gives us a glimpse into those changes. Microsoft has just released Windows Insider Build 20161 for the Dev Channel and it has a redesigned Start menu, Multitasking improvements, Notification changes & more.


Start Menu Improvements

The new Start menu looks much better. It didn't get rounded corners like Apple's new MacOS Big Sur but, it finally got rid of those ugly Backplates behind the App Logos & the Tiles now adapt to the Theme you're currently using. Microsoft is calling them "Theme-aware tiles".


Old Tiles vs. Theme-aware Tiles

The app folders now have a brand new design as well. The age old vertical folder style is finally gone & it has been replaced with modern style folder icons. However, it might be important to know that there is no change in the folder icons inside File Manager as of now. Also, the listing alphabets in the App List have been moved to the center of the App icon. Previously the alphabets used to stay on the left side.


The visual element to the new theme-aware tiles & redesigned folder icons, look refreshing. I still think Apple did a better job this year but, Microsoft still has some time to tune this new UI so, let's see what the final version looks like.


Multitasking Improvements

Microsoft is trying to make you use their Microsoft Edge all the time and that's why this new update is merging App Switching with Edge Tabs. Till now it was possible to switch between multiple apps quickly using "Alt+Tab" but, now it will also include all the tabs that are currently open in Microsoft Edge. This makes switching between tabs & apps possible at the same time and it should make the work process for a large number of users. Of course you have to use Edge if you want to use this feature.


Right now, selected users who have Edge Dev or Edge Canary installed their PC & running the latest insider build, have received this feature. I do have Edge Dev installed but, I haven't received the feature just yet. If you have any of these installed, make sure you've version 83.0.475.0 or higher.


Other Improvements

Microsoft did tweak some other areas of the UI and added some more features. These are minor changes so, I'm listing them together below,

  • Notifications now show the respective app logo on top left & can be dismissed easily.

  • 2-in-1 devices will switch to Tablet Mode by default if you detach the keyboard (can be changed in settings).

  • Info from the System page of Control Panel has been migrated to the the About page inside Settings (Settings>System>About)

  • Device & Windows specifications inside the About page can now be copied as text by clicking on the "Copy" option.

  • Windows can now personalize the taskbar for new users.

  • [Not Listed By Microsoft] The white text under app & folder icons on the home screen now appear brighter, solving the weird shadow-text mixup that made the text appear darker.

Microsoft has a lot of time in their hand before they roll out the next big release of Windows 10. Right now, the upgrades look pretty promising but, it's still in the early stages of development. We're hoping for some more competition between Windows & macOS this year. Can Microsoft deliver something like that? Well whatever happens, we'll be updating you about every major change that comes along the way.

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