Windows 10 21H1 Build 20161 – New Features and Changes

Windows 10 21H1 Insider Preview Build 20161 came out with lots of new features, improvements, and fixes in the Dev Channel. Insiders may upgrade their PC to experience new features like – Improved Theme tiles, Improvised Taskbar, and a new notification visualizer. In addition to these, insiders may now assign Alt+Tab hotkey to switch in between Microsoft Edge tabs. 

The software giant introduces new icons of Office apps, Microsoft Defender, Mail, Calendar, Calculator, and other default programs. If you want to improvise the Desktop background, use the latest Windows 10 theme – Pride 2020 Flags. Furthermore, the team brought several new fixes and improvements to the computer. There are a few known bugs on the Build 20161 as well which they assured to fix in an upcoming release.

What’s new on Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20161 

1. Theme-aware tiles in Start

With Build 20161, Microsoft is replacing the solid color backplates with a partially transparent background to the tiles. Upgrading to this build, you will notice a streamlined design with logos in the app list clearly visible. This is going to create a beautiful stage for the system as well as installed apps. The icons of Office apps, Mail, Calculator, Mail, and Calendar look superb. 

Build 20161

Previously, there were some issues while using the Dark theme on Windows 10. With the new custom design, you will love both dark as well as light theme. Again, the option to custom change the default color is still available at – “Settings > Personalization > Color“.

Note: If you want to make your Desktop background even more stunning, download and apply the Pride 2020 Flags theme to your computer. 

Pride 2020 Flags Windows 10 Theme

2. ALT + TAB between apps and sites

The company is continuously trying to improvise and simplify the usage of Microsoft Edge. They have enabled an option to change what ALT+TAB hotkey can do on Windows 10. Contrary to the previous concept of toggling between different apps on Windows 10, you can now switch in between tabs on the Microsoft Edge. 

So, it’s basically your choice whether you want to go for the new functionality or keep on using the classic Alt+Tab experience. All you need is to browse to the below path and choose what this hotkey can do –

Settings > System > Multitasking

The experts are rolling this feature only to a subset of Insiders today inside the Dev Channel. Again for this to function properly, you must be having Canary or Dev build of Microsoft Edge (version 83.0.475.0 or higher).

3. A more personalized Taskbar

The tech giant has released three sets of personalized Taskbar to its new users. After installing Build 20161, users will get a flexible, cloud-driven taskbar layout. Furthermore, this tests the customer reception using the default Taskbar content and tailors these layouts based on user and device signals.

20H1 Build 20161

They will evaluate the performance of individual default properties, monitor diagnostic data, and analyze the user feedback to assess an audience’s reception. Using this information, they will tune default layouts to minimize clutter and perceptions of bloatware.

Note: This experience is limited only to new account creations or first login scenarios. 

4. New Notifications Visualizer

Microsoft has also improved the notifications experience in Windows 10.

Build 20161

With the new notification app, they are disabling the Focus Assist notification and summary toast by default. However, you may change this back to the earlier state via Windows Settings. 

5. Improvised Settings  

In the last few years, we have seen a greater portion of Control Panel features being shifted to Settings UI. They are now willing to migrate “Control Panel’s System page” information into the “Settings About page“. One may access this visiting – Settings > System > About.

In addition to this, users will now be able to copy the device information and streamline security information. There’s now a modern About page wherein you can access the advanced controls that lie inside the Control Panel.

New Settings - Copy Feature on 21H1

6. Smooth Tablet experience for 2-in-1 devices

Earlier, when you detach the keyboard on a 2-in-1 device, a notification appears asking whether you want to switch into the Tablet mode or not. Selecting Yes, you will enter into the Tablet mode. If not, you will simply experience the new posture experience introduced in the May 2020 Update.

If you don’t want the notification toast to appear, change the Tablet settings reaching out to the below path – 

Settings > System > Tablet

Note: The company has decided to remove Tablet mode quick action on non-touch devices. 

7. Windows Calculator graphing mode

Microsoft is finally going to roll out the Calculator graphing mode to the general public. The same was first spotted in Jan 2020 on Build 19546. Graphing capabilities are pretty useful for students to understand the clear concept behind each mathematical function. 

Key features of Calculator Graphing Mode

  • Plot one or more equations on the graph: Write the equations of different mathematical functions and analyze the differences between them.
  • Add equations with variables: Change the value of the variables on an equation and see how does the graph correspond to this. 
  • Analyze the graph: Users may use their input devices (mouse/keyboard) to analyze different equations. 

Windows 10 20H2 - Improvements

Since this feature came to the Windows at the starting of Jan 2020, developers have made lots of improvements and fixes. This now features a dark theme, different customization options, tracing, and plotting more than one equation. To see the recent improvements, visit GitHub.

What’s new for Developers with Build 20161

The tech giant has removed the Rings concept and replaced it with Channels on the Fight Hub. Moreover, the new Windows SDK will now flight continuously with the Dev Channel. Insiders may find the SDK corresponding to a new OS flighted to the Dev Channel visiting

Windows 10 Build 20161 – Fixes

Here are the key fixes that Microsoft perform on 21H1 Insider Preview Build 20161 –

  • Resolved bugs while connecting or interacting with an Xbox controller.
  • Addressed an issue that causes certain games or applications failing to start or simply crash during installation. 
  • Users may now easily navigate to websites with WDAG enabled on Microsoft Edge.
  • Reduced overall log-off time as compared to recent Builds.
  • Improved Chinese Pinyin IME – Users may now change the IME toolbar orientation even after rebooting their devices. 
  • Earlier, insiders were won’t able to use the “Reset this PC” option as this results in an error message. The company has resolved this bug as well. 
  • After installing this build, Bluetooth devices will once again start showing their battery level in Settings.
  • Insiders may now easily browse to the path – “Settings > Privacy > Microphone” even while recording audio in the background. 
  • They resolved an anomaly with sound settings as well. Configuring sound settings won’t result in “no input devices found” error message anymore. 
  • Fixed a graphics-related issue that earlier causes in some bug errors. 
  • They addressed an issue wherein adding a printer, the dialog simply crashes while navigating through to the “Add a printer driver” dialog.

Known issues on Build 20161

After installing Build 20161, you may notice the following bugs on the operating system –

  • After enabling the new Alt+Tab experience, the setting to “Open windows only” using Alt+Tab may not work for a few insiders.
  • There’s an ongoing project to fine-tune the tile animations in Start to avoid different flashes of color.
  • The Task Manager still reports 0.00 GHz CPU usage in the Performance tab.
  • Microsoft is well-aware of the issue wherein pressing the space key deletes the last character in Korean IME.
  • The experts are working to resolve system crash errors with a HYPERVISOR_ERROR bugcheck.
  • After installing a new build, the update process still hangs for extended periods of time. 
  • The software giant is working to improve the Notepad issues. Insiders may recover lost documents visiting –  %localappdata%\Notepad

To see the release note, visit Windows Experience Blog.

One comment

  1. I’ve removed myself from DEV channel as it is dumb to expose myself to risk of new code or update process without seeing the changes.

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