Windows 10 tries transparency for Start menu flair

Windows-10-Transparent-Start-MenuMicrosoft has rolled out a new build of its Windows 10 Developer Edition with new features, fixes and enhancements.

Launched on Wednesday, Windows 10 Build 10041 adds some tweaks to the Start menu/Start screen, as detailed in a blog post by Gabe Aul, a Microsoft program manager. The full Start screen is now transparent so that the menu icons and tiles float on top of your desktop background. The effect adds a neat visual flair to the traditional Start screen.

Beyond that, the All Apps button is now easier to use with a touch of your finger. Pinning apps from the All Apps list or from the most-used apps list to the Start menu is also now much smoother. Aul said that item was a top request from Windows Insiders, users who opt to test each new Windows 10 build — think of builds as rough drafts en route to a polished, finished product — and provide feedback to Microsoft.

Stung by criticism over Windows 8, which turned off many PC users, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to get lots of people looking at preview versions of Windows 10, which is intended to run across a wide range of devices, from desktops to laptops to smartphones and even to devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines. The aim of the builds and the Windows Insider program is to elicit comments, questions and complaints from Windows users to help Microsoft fashion a Windows 10 that will hopefully avoid the mistakes of its predecessor.

And time is getting short to get everything in order. Microsoft announced Tuesday that the new OS will launch this summer across 190 countries.

Via the latest build, Microsoft has also improved the Windows 10 Virtual Desktop feature, which lets you open and switch among multiple desktops, each displaying a different set of apps and windows. You can now drag a window from one virtual desktop to another, whereas in the past you had to right-click the window and run a command from a pop-up menu. And you can drag a window to the New Desktop icon to move it to a new desktop in one fell swoop.