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Batting .500 with Win10 Build 10061

If something happens once, it’s impossible to tell if it’s an anomaly or an expected behavior. Let it happen even one more time though, and a suspicion of pattern or predictability can’t help but rear its head. When I installed the last “fast ring” (10049) build on my two test machines, here’s what happened:

1. The Windows Update based install worked like a charm on my desktop test PC (i7 4770K, MSI Z87-G45 mobo, 32 GB RAM, GTX 760 video) and worked itself through its paces without even requiring any input from me (except to restart the PC when I noticed the upgrade had been applied). Aside from a few minor glitches (repair install on 8GadgetPack to restore gadgets to life, reset network from Public to Private) there were no major clean-ups required.

2. It was a different story on the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7130 (i5 Broadwell M, Intel HD 5000 graphics, 8 GB RAM): after the initial install phase completed and the automatic reboot was instigated, the PC refused to reboot into any version of Windows (either the predecessor build, or the latest one). Ultimately, I had to perform a clean install from the ISO of the installer files when they became available about a week after the fast ring release, when its slow ring counterpart finally became available.

Build 10061 popped up on 4/22 via Windows Update for Fast Ring subscribers.

Guess what? My experience in updating to Build 10061 turned out exactly the same. This time, however, I rebooted the Dell from a recovery UFD and restored the most recent system image for the preceding build, figuring I’d otherwise have to wait a week to bring the tablet back into operation. Obviously, there’s some kind of low-level issue with the Venue 11 Pro and using Windows Update for an OS upgrade. I’ve not yet been able to figure out what’s going south during the process, but at least it’s fixable with enough time and elbow grease, along with the right bootable media and a workable repair strategy.

Otherwise, Build 10061 seems to extend a bit of new functionality, while smoothing off some sharp edges from earlier releases. The visual differences between Tablet and Desktop modes are better elaborated (for example, more space between notification icons in tablet mode makes them easier to poke with a finger) and more thought out. Application switching works nicely in tablet mode now with a “swipe-from-the-right” gesture showing all open windows in tiled fashion, where any windows is easy to select with a single touch (about as convenient as the old Alt-Tab clickthrough method on the desktop). Notifications has had a fairly complete rework, both visually and in terms of layout, and is looking and acting a lot more like it’s ready for prime time than in earlier releases. New apps making their debut include Outlook Mail and Calendar, while recent introductions such as Project Spartan and Music and Video have been spruced up (though the media items are unable to download content until a fix is released — which may explain why 10061 remains a “Fast Ring” item at the moment).

I’d predicted another build in my last blog post, but was still surprised to see it show up later on the very day I proffered that prediction. I’m expecting at least two more incremental Windows 10 builds to pop up before a locked-down version makes its way to the OEMs in late May or early June. That should make the next 4-6 weeks very interesting for us beta testers!