Windows 10 updates tend to get a lot more negative buzz than positive press — deservedly when there's bugs. But for once we're here to sound a klaxon of positivity for an upcoming Windows version.
Even better, the variety of changes coming to Windows 10 offers something for everyone. The virtual touch keyboard, Jump Menu and touchpad are all getting improvements for the better.
As announced by Microsoft (opens in new tab), there's a new Windows 10 update that's showing plenty of upcoming improvements. If you want to try these out for yourself, they're in preview build 21301, which is going out to all Insiders in the Dev Channel.
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And as for when these features will come out? Windows Latest (opens in new tab) suggests they could arrive in the Windows 10 Fall 2021 update. Let's unpack!
Windows preview build 21301 perks
The touch keyboard — which is pretty important for anyone using tablet mode — is getting a few new treats with this update. That begins with Windows 10 automatically switching to the small keyboard layout when you detach a physical keyboard from your PC, which should make the transition to touch typing a bit smoother and also take up less space. The latter has been an annoyance of mine whenever I try and use a virtual keyboard on a smaller PC, and it takes up half the screen.
Since the virtual keyboard is something that may need to be moved around a lot, Microsoft is tweaking the "gripper region" (that space you hold down on with a finger to begin moving an object), for something Windows Latest refers to as a "faster typing experience." In Microsoft's words (opens in new tab), from release notes for Windows 10 version 20206, the gripper region is helpful for "those who prefer to keep their keyboard undocked."
There's also a change to the menu of the touch keyboard, so that menus are organized with nested sections, so you see less all at once — and have less clutter.
Users with 12-inch or larger screens will get a "more traditional keyboard layout" as Microsoft adds escape, tab, Windows and other buttons.
Microsoft is also tweaking the touch keyboard by adding a password feedback icon. Located left of the space bar, this symbol will provide a visual indicator that you're tapping the touch keyboard while entering a password.
The next big change comes to the Jump Menu, and this tweak is definitely for the power users among us. The Jump Menu, which appears when you right-click a currently open program in the Taskbar, shows recently opened files associated with said program. For example, you get documents you worked on in Word, or files you opened in Windows Explorer.
With the new update, you'll be able to navigate to the directory those files are in by right-clicking again on a Jump Menu entry. This is a pretty nifty feature, as it can cut down on time spent finding files or said folders.
Lastly, many will gain more control over the touchpad. In this preview of Windows 10, you won't need admin rights to disable and enable the touchpad [Settings > Devices > Touchpad].