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New Windows 10 preview build adds serial device support in Windows Subsystem for Linux

With the Windows 10 Creators Update now out the door, Microsoft has started pushing Preview builds for the next major ‘Redstone 3’ update to Fast Ring Insiders. This process had begun even when the Creators Update was still about a couple days out and we’ve today received the second preview build. Numbered 16176, this build brings along serial device support in Windows Subsystem for Linux. It doesn’t introduce any other features except bug fixes and improvements.

As we’ve already described earlier, you won’t see new features tag along with preview build released in the next couple months. This is because Microsoft is currently engaged in making refinements to its OneCore (the common base for different variants of Windows 10 on Xbox, Hololens, Mobile, IoT, etc). This is a common practice and helps the Redmond giant to better optimize the operating system post the release of a major update.

There’s only one new feature being delivered with today’s preview build. The Windows Subsystem for Linux process now enables you to directly gain access to Windows COM ports. On Windows, COM ports are named COM1 through COM256, while the configuration is different on Linux. The latter’s serial devices can have arbitrary names but are typically character devices with a major number of 4 and a minor number from 64 to 256. Microsoft will map the serial ports and the complete process has been described in another blog post.

One of the most important accessibility features, the narrator, had been broken in the previous preview build but has now been fixed with this update. The update also brings along the ability to hold down the power button on your Windows 10 PC for seven seconds to trigger a bug check — a handy new feature. It will, however, only work on newer devices which do not use legacy ACPI power buttons. This build also fixes issues with the misconfiguration of advertising ID, which caused several apps and games to crash repeatedly.

In addition, the Start Menu and Action Center will no longer be laggy as the noticeable framerate drop in their animations on certain devices has now been fixed. Also, fixed is an issue with the dismissal of multiple notifications when only one of them is removed from the notification center. Along with a cohort of other improvements, a handful of known issues are there as well:

  • Apps that use the Desktop Bridge (Centennial) from the Store such as Slack and Evernote will cause your PC to bug check (GSOD) when launched with a “kmode exception not handled” in ntfs.sys error.
  • Some Insiders have reported seeing this error “Some updates were cancelled. We’ll keep trying in case new updates become available” in Windows Update.
  • Double-clicking on the Windows Defender icon in the notification area does not open Windows Defender. Right-clicking on the icon and choosing open will open Windows Defender. Surface 3 devices fail to update to new builds if an SD memory card is inserted.
  • Surface 3 devices fail to update to new builds if an SD memory card is inserted. The updated drivers for the Surface 3 that fix this issue have not yet been published to Windows Update.
  • Pressing F12 to open the Developer Tools in Microsoft Edge while F12 is open and focused may not return focus to the tab F12 is opened against and vice-versa.
  • exe will crash and restart if you tap any of the apps listed in the Windows Ink Workspace’s Recent Apps section.

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New Windows 10 preview build adds serial device support in Windows Subsystem for Linux

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