Microsoft has changed its approach to developing Windows in recent years. Instead of launching major new revisions of the OS that require paid updates, it just keeps rolling out changes to Windows 10. It has, on occasion, released features before they were ready. Today, Microsoft accidentally released an internal build of Windows 10 publicly, and it features a completely redesigned Start menu.
Microsoft’s Start menu machinations have been a bone of contention for years. Starting in Windows 8, the company tried to modernize the OS by removing the button. It also changed the menu to a full-screen UI that made more sense for touchscreens than desktops. Microsoft was forced to backtrack in newer builds, but the current start menu still retains some of the Windows 8 “live tiles.”
That brings us to the new leak, courtesy of Microsoft. It seems someone at the company accidentally loaded an internal test build into the Windows Insider channel. Testers using 32-bit systems (which are increasingly uncommon) have gotten build 18947 with a vastly simplified Start menu. It’s hitting all release “rings” for 32-bit Windows Insiders, even the slow ring that should get test builds much later.
Start in tablet mode. Meh. pic.twitter.com/Ou7o7ol5g2
— NTAuthority (@NTAuthority) July 24, 2019
There are no live tiles in the leaked menu — it only has suggested apps, search, and access to the app list. In tablet mode, the Start menu looks very similar, but it’s centered on a semi-transparent background. It also seems to lean heavily toward monochrome icons. Windows Insiders report that version 18947 is a canary build, meaning it hasn’t even gone through internal Microsoft testing yet.
We know that Microsoft is toying with a simpler Start menu for Windows Lite, but it’s unclear if that’s the origin of this UI. The rest of the OS is Windows 10 Pro, but anything is possible with internal test builds. The new build also includes a GIF search tool inside the Windows 10 emoji panel.
Microsoft’s Windows Insider chief, Dona Sarkar says the company is looking into the error. In the meantime, Insiders can keep digging around in that super-early OS.