Microsoft Windows 10 Preview With Cortana And Updated Start Menu Available For Download

When Microsoft said on Wednesday that the next Windows 10 preview build would be available "within the week", I'm not sure anyone actually expected it to land before the weekend. But, it has, and I'd have to say that it's worth getting excited for. Why? Because it includes not only the feature-rich Cortana AI assistant, it also includes Continuum, the technology that will allow you to switch between tablet and laptop mode seamlessly.

Notably, and unfortunately, this current build, which is numbered 9926, doesn't include Microsoft's much-anticipated Spartan Web browser. It's expected that a new build in February will take care of that, as well introduce the Windows 10 beta to mobile devices.

Windows 10 9926

Another notable addition is an updated Start menu, which features improved organization, a couple of app overhauls (including the introduction of the Xbox app), as well as the functionality that allows you to revert to the Start screen view - if you happen to be one of the very few that prefer it.

If you already have a Windows 10 installation, you'll be able to update to the latest build through the PC Settings app. But first, you'll have to make sure that you're completely up-to-date with Windows Update, which I recommend using the regular Control Panel tool for instead of PC Settings, as the latter works on a schedule rather than push updates through on command.

Windows 10 Laptop

If you're instead looking for a fresh ISO, you can snag one at the Windows Insider site. The 64-bit English ISO weighs in at 3.9GB, and the update through Windows Update weighs about 1.8GB - or, at least it did for me.

Overall, this new build brings a lot of new functionality to the table, but I admit I'm anxious for Spartan to get here, especially in order to test out its amazing integration with Cortana.