After a number of mysterious delays, Microsoft finally rolled out the Spring Creators Update to Windows 10 early this week. Wasting no time, Microsoft has just released a new Insiders build that previews some more new features that you can expect in Windows 10 soon. This is intended as a minor update, but there are some surprisingly cool things included here.
Build 17661 of Windows 10 finally gives the Snipping Tool a much-needed overhaul. This screenshot feature debuted in Windows XP Tablet Edition many moons ago, but it became a standard feature on Vista. It was a useful thing to have around, but unfortunately, Microsoft let it stagnate for many years. Windows 10 did add a delay function, but now it’s getting much more.
You won’t have to manually open the Snipping Tool anymore in the latest update. Simply press WIN + Shift + S to instantly bring up the tool. You still have the option of taking a full screenshot as well as rectangular or freeform snips. Windows 10 Build 17661 also includes an even faster way to access the Snipping Tool. You can enable a setting to launch the tool whenever you press the Print Screen button. There will also be a button in the Windows Action Center, but that doesn’t seem as fast even as the keyboard shortcut.
After capturing your screenshot, the new Snipping Tool hits you with a notification that can open the image immediately in the Screen Sketch app. Speaking of Screen Sketch, that’s a standalone app now. This started life as part of the Windows Ink workspace, but now it’ll be updated separately in the Windows Store. From this app, you can edit your screenshot, add text, and more.
Microsoft is also expanding access to Sets for Insiders in Build 17661. This feature rolled out to a subset of Insiders last year, and Microsoft still considers it an experimental feature. Sets are tabbed interfaces for all apps, but a single window can contain tabs from different apps. It’s easy to see why Microsoft sees Sets as still experimental. Sets could be really confusing if not implemented well. They still won’t be available to all Insiders, but it should be most of them this time.
Most of the other changes are minor or just interface things. For example, the Timeline view added in the last update will get an “acrylic’ background in the next update. Microsoft is also expanding support for the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) in this update. Focus Assist, the renamed Quiet Hours, will now activate automatically when you play any full-screen game. Windows Defender Security Center won’t be in your app list anymore, but that’s just because it’s getting a new name. It’s just “Windows Security” now.
These features could hit over the summer or as part of a more significant update this fall. If you want to try the new version, remember it’s pre-release software. Don’t put it on a machine you need to use every day.
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