New Windows 10 preview seriously hones Edge browser (and adds zombie emoji)

Microsoft is very busy tweaking Windows 10 these days, as the company has rolled out another new preview build which is positively laden with changes (just like the last build released), including extensive work on the Edge browser.

Build 16226 has just been released to testers in the Fast ring, and the changes to Edge include making it easier to shift across from Chrome, with Edge switchers now able to import all their settings and cookies from Google’s web browser.

Edge also has improved options for closing tabs – essentially this is all about making sure the ‘x’ close button is always showing and not obscured by any prompts – and there’s been tinkering on the ebook front.

Now, when working with EPUB books in Edge, you can ink notes with a stylus, and it’s possible to copy text, or use the Ask Cortana function to do some research while you’re jotting down notes. 

Books purchased from the Windows Store are now synced across all devices to keep track of your progress, notes and so forth.

Finally, the Favorites menu has been improved in Edge so that when you’re saving a new bookmarked site, you can view Favorites as a directory tree, collapsing and expanding folders as you wish.

Zombies and vampires on the loose

Microsoft has also introduced a whole load of new emoji including fresh actions, snacks, a sprinkling of dinosaurs, along with some fantasy characters including a zombie, mermaid, vampire, wizard and so forth.

Existing emoji have also been tweaked in some cases, and all these are available via the touch keyboard or Emoji Panel. Furthermore, Microsoft has introduced a dark theme for the panel.

Build 16226 has made improvements to the touch keyboard, expanding ‘shape writing’ (where you slide your finger continuously across the keyboard to write, rather than tapping individual letters) to far more languages, including English UK. Text prediction has also been added for more languages.

OneDrive Files On-Demand brings back OneDrive placeholders to Windows 10, meaning files which are stored in the cloud are shown directly in your PC’s folders for easy access – has also been tweaked to impart further information. This means that when an app tries to access a file which is stored in the cloud, the user will be informed of this (and can block the software from using the file in OneDrive).

Windows Sonic spatial sound has been made much easier to turn on via a simple icon in the notification area, which also allows for easier configuration and selecting from 5.1 sound, 7.1, or Dolby Atmos for home cinema setups.

And Microsoft has updated the Task Manager to incorporate information on your GPU (as well as the existing details on the CPU), including GPU utilization categories such as 3D, video encoding and graphics memory usage. All interesting stuff for those who want to see how hard their graphics card is really working.

Various other interface and stylus issues have been ironed out, alongside a load of other modifications and tweaks, too. If you want to see the full – and extremely lengthy – list of changes in this build, check out Microsoft’s blog post.

But settle back with a cup of your preferred beverage, because you’ll be there a while…

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).