Windows 10 20H1 build 18980 brings new Cortana beta app to all Fast Ring Insiders

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Microsoft has just announced the release of Windows 10 20H1 build 18980, which finally brings the new Cortana beta app to all Insiders in the Fast Ring. The new Cortana is now available worldwide and it currently only supports English, but Microsoft plans to add more languages over the coming months.

This new Cortana beta app will be updated through the Microsoft Store, and it brings a new conversational UI that previously shipped in the iOS and Android versions of the digital assistant. Microsoft is also enabling support for the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) for ARM64 devices in this build, and it has also made the Optional Features section in the Settings app available to all Fast Ring Insiders.

You can read more details about new features in the build 18980 below:

An update on Cortana

In response to feedback, we are executing a plan to make it easier for all Windows customers to use Cortana. As a first step, starting with today’s build, all Insiders worldwide will see the Cortana icon and the new app. In a future Cortana app update, customers will have the option to use Cortana if they speak a supported language, regardless of their OS display language. The new Cortana app currently supports English (United States)—because Cortana is service backed, we can and will continue to add new languages over the coming months outside the bounds of OS build updates. We expect to support the same set of regions and languages we currently support in retail by 20H1 launch. We will share more details of our language rollout plans as they progress and appreciate your patience during this transition period.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) Improvements

In this build, we’ve added WSL2 support for ARM64 devices! We’ve also added the ability to set your distribution’s default user using the /etc/wsl.conf file. This release also contains multiple bug fixes, including a long-standing issue for legacy Windows symlinks (for example those in the user profile directory.)

Showing working sym links in WSL.

For the full details of changes in this latest Insider Preview build, please see the WSL release notes.

Other updates for Insiders

Update on the Optional Features settings section improvements

These changes are now available to all Insiders in Fast! Thanks to those who’ve already tried it out and shared feedback. If the experience is just rolling out to you now, we can’t wait to hear what you think! To quickly recap, amongst other things, we’ve added multi-select, search, and generally done work to make this section easier to use:

Showing a before and after of the add a features section in settings. You can now multiselect and search.

As usual, this new build also comes with bug fixes and other improvements. Notably, Microsoft said that it has turned MS Paint and WordPad into Optional Features, so you can easily uninstall them if you need to save some disk space. If you use Ease of Access Settings, the company also noted that these settings are no longer participating to the Settings Synchronisation feature. You can get more details about these changes and known issues in this build in our separate post.

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