Tip o’ the Week 418 – Preview Apps on Windows 10

clip_image002The Insider Program for Windows 10 is one of the largest public beta program in software development history with over 10m active users. There are various options for how much on the bleeding edge you’d like to be (eg how much pain are you prepared to tolerate, in order to get to play with stuff long before everyone else?) – and the “hit me baby” version, called Skip Ahead, is already now testing the next update to Windows (RS5) that will come after the one that’s due for release in the spring (RS4), which is still in the rest of the test branches. Capiche?

Way down in the text of the latest announcement, there’s mention of a new “App Preview” program which lets the quick & the brave get access to cool but maybe unfinished updates to Apps they like, but maybe aren’t as dependent on, as the stability of the whole operating system.

The first wave of apps that are Preview-enabled, will let more cautious Insiders experience the latest versions of …

  • Feedback Hub
  • Microsoft Photos
  • Microsoft Sticky Notes
  • Viewer
  • Microsoft Tips
  • Paint 3D
  • Windows Alarms & Clock
  • Windows Voice Recorder
  • Windows Calculator
  • Windows Camera
  • Windows Mixed Reality

clip_image004… by opting in, through going into the Settings within the appropriate app and choosing to join the fun. The app will update in the background, and may change the app title & version number…

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There are regular updates to the core apps for every Windows user, not running an Insider build. If you’d like to check, just go into the Store, activate the “…” ellipsis on the top right, and choose Downloads and updates, and review the list to see what apps have been updated and when, or hit “Get updates” to check for published updates to other apps.

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The Photos app has a new opt-in feature, in conjunction with a test app that is designed to make it easy to share Photos from a phone to a PC; even if you’re not running an Insider build, you can turn on the mobile import…

The “Photos Companion” test app makes a point-to-point connection between phone & PC (ie they need to both be on the same network), and by going to the Import menu within the PC Photo app, a QR code will be displayed on-screen.

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clip_image010Start the app on your phone, point at the QR code and you’ll quickly be able to send the selected photos from phone to PC.

Of course, you could use OneDrive on your mobile device to automatically sync photos to a Camera Roll folder in your cloud storage location; it has a bit of latency, usually, so you might find it takes a few minutes before the photo you’ve just taken has uploaded and is ready to be accessed or shared.

The Import over WiFi feature is handy to share right away, or to share with PCs that aren’t set up with your OneDrive, such as a friend’s PC, or if you’re working on a project where you want to collect photos from a group of people in a short space of time – maybe doing a collaborative video or something similar?

Tip o’ the Week 414 – So Quiet…. Shhhh! Shhhh!

“Redstone” is the internal Microsoft codename for the current branch of Windows 10clip_image002; numerous updates have arrived since the release of Windows 10 mid-2015, and each has carried its own codename – Threshold (TH1 and TH2), and the Redstone 1, 2 and 3 releases (RS1, RS2, RS3). The last update – Redstone 3 – was released as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, in October 2017.

If you’re at all confused by the nomenclature – the names of the updates rather than the codenames – then you’re not alone.

Redstone 4 is currently in development, is being pushed out to Windows Insiders and will arrive within a few months to everyone else, if all goes to plan. Petrolheads / Gearheads may be glad to know that an RS4 will be arriving soon, even in the USA – even if it’s a software update for Windows.

clip_image004One ofclip_image006 the nice things to look forward to when RS4 appears is the final release of the “Quiet Hours” feature, which has been essentially MIA for only the last 2½ years, since the same feature from Windows 8.1 disappeared.

ToW #343 covered how to replicate Quiet Hours – where you could set your PC to not blare stupid reminders in the middle of the night, should it still be switched on – but in RS4 this won’t be necessary as you’ll be able to choose when, and where, Quiet Hours will be enabled.

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Once you know you have a RS4 build of Windows with the Quiet Hours feature – 17074 or later – then just got into Settings, and search for Quiet. Now, shhhhh.