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Windows 10 build 10061 hands-on: Exploring the new Technical Preview's fresh apps and features

Brad Chacos | April 24, 2015
Even though its big annual Build conference doesn't kick off until next week, Microsoft dropped Windows 10 Technical Preview build 10061 late Wednesday night. Unlike the last Technical Preview release--which merely added the Project Spartan browser--this one is positively stuffed with tweaks, changes and news apps.

The Calendar app, on the other hand, boasts significantly more color and contrast than the bland monstrosity known as the Windows 8 Calendar app. It also packs a left-hand pane with a small monthly view and checkboxes to quickly select which of your individual calendars are being displayed.

More crucially, the new Calendar app restores Google Calendar support, which Microsoft yanked in Windows 8.1 as part of a childish slap-fight with Google. Finally. I'd been forced to stop using Windows 8.1's Calendar app because of it, despite my adoration for the app's system-wide notifications

Both represent significant improvements over their Windows 8 counterparts, but perhaps the most vital changes to Windows 10's new Mail and Calendar apps occur under the hood. While the Windows 8 apps were pokey at best — like virtually all Windows apps — the Windows 10 versions are fast and responsive, feeling like true desktop apps.

Xbox app power-up

Microsoft showered some love on the Xbox app as well, after introducing a new Xbox Avatars app in the Windows Store earlier this week.

The changes are mostly subtle. The Xbox app's tile is now a Live tile in the Start menu, flaunting your gamerpic, messages you've received, and more. You can also check out other gamers' reputations and bios by selecting the More Info option on their profile page. If you have an Xbox One (I don't) the app will now show the apps you've most recently used on the console. If you're testing the new Xbox One tuner, the Windows 10 app supports live TV streaming straight from your console to your PC, as well as picture-in-picture support.

The Xbox One is getting updates of its own to play more nicely with Windows 10, including support for Miracast wireless display mirroring.

Microsoft's Larry Hyrb says the new Windows 10 build also introduces the highly anticipated Game DVR function for PC games, which will let you save video highlights from any PC game, as well the ability to take screenshots of any game using Win + Alt + PrtScrn. Alas, the work laptop on which I've installed Windows 10 has no games.

Solitaire is back!

But forget the Xbox app. Here's the real big gaming deal: Windows 10 build 10061 brings Solitaire back to Windows, as first noticed by Steve Troughton-Smith.

Windows 8 banished the old standby, casting Solitaire and the other previously preloaded games (like Minesweeper) into the Windows Store as optional downloads. Windows 10 re-embraces Solitaire — though you won't find it in the Start menu, nor the All Apps screen. Put Cortana to work searching for "Solitaire," however, and it'll pop up lickity-split.

 

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