New beta build of Windows 10 squashes bugs ahead of public release

The new software also opens up Microsoft Wi-Fi, which will let folks buy Internet access through the Windows Store

Microsoft Edge running on Windows 10 build 10162

Microsoft Edge running on Windows 10 build 10162

Windows 10 inched closer to its public release Thursday when Microsoft released build 10166 of its upcoming operating system to early adopters in the Windows Insider Program.

The new build primarily focuses on fit-and-finish changes like the trio of updates that Microsoft launched last week. Most users should expect to see bugs fixed, and some small design tweaks as Windows 10 nears its July 29 public release.

There's one new feature that Microsoft just turned on with this build, though it's only available for those users of Windows 10 who live in the company's backyard.

Microsoft Wi-Fi, an app that has been included in previous builds of Windows 10, has been enabled for people in the Seattle area so that users can purchase wireless internet access through the Windows Store from the wireless networking menu in the Windows 10 taskbar. While the company hasn't provided a definitive launch date, Microsoft Wi-Fi is supposed to be available for people in the rest of the U.S. "soon."

It will be interesting to see how popular the feature becomes, especially since many people have smartphones that can also serve as portable Wi-Fi hotspots. However Microsoft Wi-Fi works out, it will likely be less controversial than Windows 10's Wi-Fi Sense feature, which has drawn criticism from security experts for automatically logging users into open wireless networks and allowing people to share network passwords with friends.

Users who are on older builds of Windows 10 should make sure they're up to date with the latest releases of the operating system, Microsoft Engineering General Manager Gabe Aul said in a blog post announcing Thursday's release.

Microsoft pushed build 10162 out to members of the Windows Insider Program's so-called slow ring earlier this week (after releasing it to the fast ring a week ago) and published ISO disk images of the update so that people can cleanly install it on a computer that hasn't yet been updated to Windows 10.

Thursday's build comes less than three weeks away from the official launch of Windows 10, which will first roll out to members of the Windows Insider program on July 29 before going out to other users of Microsoft's operating system based on how compatible the new OS is with their hardware.

This has been a big week for Microsoft, which announced Wednesday that it would be cutting 7,800 jobs primarily from its mobile handset division, and announced the general availability of Office 2016 for Mac users with an Office 365 subscription.

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