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March 30, 2020

Weekly Windows Newsbytes — Week 19/2019

New Insider Builds 18894 and 18895

This week, we saw an unexpected flurry of Insider Preview releases, including Fast Ring + Skipahead Build 18894 on Wednesday, May 8, followed in short order by Build 18895 on Friday, May 10. But where 18894 brought lots of changes, 18895 brought only a few. Looks like the pace is picking up as the month’s end approaches and MS also prepares for the May 2019 Update for Windows 10 (formerly known as 1903, sometimes now called 19H1). On a related front, MS also announced availability of the 18890 SDK Preview Build on May 9.

PowerToys Return in Open Source Form

Thanks to a note on Github, we know that MS is relaunching the once-famous and often revered PowerToys as Open Source code sometime soon. Originally introduced alongside Windows 95 way back when, I still use the “Resize Pictures” right-click PowerToy in File Explorer to this very day. To read more about what’s up, check out Paul Thurrott’s story “MS Reboots the PowerToys for Windows 10” (and for a trip down memory lane to revisit PowerToys of old, check out his companion story “A Look Back: PowerToys for Windows XP” — it’s a Premium story, but he’s now giving away access to three per month, so you can read this without a subscription as long as you’re still under that limit).

Microsoft Announces New Filetype Icons for Office

In a Tweet from Erin Woo, a Product Designer from MS, the world got a look at the new filetype icons for MS Office on May 9th. Read the tweet to see a nice animated sequence of past, present and future. They’ve hit Outlook for iOS, and will hit Android soon. I’m guessing they’ll make a Windows debut later this month, sometime after we see Windows 10 19H1/May 2019 Update.

MS Build Conference Runs May 6-8 in Seattle

MS conducted its “premier event for developers” at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle this week. Visit the official Microsoft Build site for access to a whole slew of on-demand sessions that are ready to watch (and learn from). Personally, I found the TenForums thread on Microsoft Build 2019 — all 5 pages’ worth, mostly curated by site moderator Shawn Brink — a bit more friendly and interesting to dig into the doings there. Highlights included links to Satya Nadella’s keynote, the registration form, agenda and session schedule, product futures info, and more. Check it out!

Windows 10 Hits 825 Million Mark

According to information (“internal documentation”) divulged to the inestimable Paul Thurrott at the Build Conference in Seattle this week, MS is now reporting that Windows 10 is “active” on more than 825 million devices worldwide. This remains short of Microsoft’s original and highly ambitious goal to cross the 1 Billion mark within three years of its introduction on July 29, 2015. Alas, the collapse of the Windows Phone ecosystem put paid to those plans. However, it looks likely that Win10 may finally cross that threshold in 2020. We’ll see!

New Terminal App Coming for Windows 10

MS will soon make a “new, modern, fast, efficient, powerful and productive terminal application” available to ‘users of command-line tools and shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL.” This news hit the MS Developers Blog (“Windows Command Line Tools for Developers”) on May 6 in a piece entitled “Introducing Windows Terminal.” Actually, it looks pretty great, and offers lots of cool and useful features. Bit it still appears to be something of a DIY project, as a quick visit to its Github releases page will reveal. There’s not package executable available just yet, but the readme file does provide instructions on how to put things together for yourself in Visual Studio. Hopefully, things will proceed to a packaged release sometime soon!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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