Microsoft's Windows 10: Some coming features emerge amid the test-build mess

Some Windows 10 testers got a surprise on June 1 when Microsoft pushed out inadvertently internal test builds of the coming Fall Creators Update. Here's what happened next.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

On the evening of June 1, Microsoft officials inadvertently released the wrong Windows 10 Creators Fall Update test build to Windows 10 PC and Mobile users in the various test rings. Some Windows Phone users currently not in the Insider program also reported getting these inadvertent test builds.

Microsoft alerted users about the rogue builds -- both in the 16200 series -- via Twitter about 30 minutes after releasing them. In the hours since, those who accidentally and, in some cases, purposefully, installed the erroneously released development-branch builds have been trying to restore their devices.

In a blog post published last night, Microsoft advised those who received builds from the RS_EDGE-CASE branch on their PCs to either "sit tight and wait for us to publish a newer build" or roll back to the previous build within a ten-day window.

Microsoft advised those who received the branch from RS-IoT on Mobile to use the Windows Device Recovery Tool and reflash in order to get out of reboot loops. Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar also tweeted on June 2 that those still being offered the update also might be able to stave off problems by turning off wifi and setting the time to "40 years in the future."

Microsoft actually planned to release new test builds of Windows 10 to both PC and mobile testers on June 1. Officials hinted that PC testers would be getting 16203 and mobile testers a new "Feature 2" release, Build 15220, of Windows 10. After the mix-up, officials said they would not be releasing any new builds this week after all. However, at least one person I know, Neowin's Rich Woods, did manage to get Feature 2 build 15220 to download to his HP Elite X3 phone.

The only upside to yesterday's release madness is a few of the coming features leaked.

As Rafael Rivera noted on Twitter, the Home Hub feature that we first heard about late last year may be coming soon. Known as the "Smart Home Hub," this feature will allow PCs to "act as a hub for smart home devices, enabling smart home control through Windows @ Home and Cortana," according to the description of the feature on the Settings page in build 16212, as Rivera showed in a screen shot. (The Windows @ Home branding is new, too, as Rivera noted.)

As discovered late last year, Home Hub is meant to be a feature for making Windows 10 devices a central clearinghouse in families' homes.

There's also a change coming in the notifications area, based on hints from the builds. A new Control Center, which will feature the Quick Actions available in the Action Center today, plus a few more options, was working in build 16212. Moving these features into Control Center will result in Action Center being dedicated to notifications.

Microsoft is expected to release (intentionally) new, planned test builds to Windows 10 Insiders next week.

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