The latest test build of the next major upgrade to Windows 10 includes a very interesting feature—Windows Insiders who download and install preview build 18329 (19H1, or Redstone 6) can extend their mixed reality experience beyond Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and run traditional desktop (Win32) apps in mixed reality.
"In this update, we added the ability to launch Desktop (Win32) applications (such as Spotify, Paint.NET, and Visual Studio Code) in Windows Mixed Reality, just like how you launch Store apps. Please keep in mind this is feature is still in development and we are actively working on addressing bugs. You may find ways to 'break' the feature, and when you do, please file a feedback via Feedback Hub!," Microsoft stated in a blog post.
Users can launch the apps by bringing up the Pins Panel, then going to all apps where there is a folder named "Classic Apps (Beta)." It's from within that folder that users can select and launch any desktop application.
Technically, it's already possible to run desktop apps in mixed reality, but it's clunky to do so. Microsoft's new implementation makes it much easier, and it also means this is a feature the company is actively developing, as opposed to relying on a workaround. Whether it proves popular or not remains to be seen.
Outside of the extension of mixed reality to desktop applications, the latest preview build is a minor one. It introduces Top apps to Search, adds keyboard support for ADLaM and Osage, extends Dark mode to Mail and Calendar items, and rolls out the usual round of general changes, improvements, and fixes.
If you're a Windows Insider, you can download build 18329 now, so long as you are subscribed to the Fast ring.