Since Windows 10 was created, Microsoft’s goal has been to create a single operating system that could run on PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
But Windows 10’s tablet mode is still noticeably different from the traditional Windows 10 desktop found on a PC.
In tablet mode, Windows 10 doesn’t show application icons on the Taskbar, making it slightly more cumbersome to switch between apps. It also hides the handy File Explorer icon.
Now Microsoft is experimenting with offering broadly the same Windows 10 layout whether a 2-in-1 PC, such as Microsoft’s flagship Surface Book, is being used desktop or a tablet.
Microsoft says the idea of the new tablet layout, seen below, is to allow users of convertible PCs to swap between using a PC and a tablet with minimal disruption.
“This new experience allows users entering tablet posture to stay in the familiar desktop experience without interruption,” writes Microsoft’s Windows Insider Team.
As you can see in the image above, Windows 10’s new tablet layout is broadly the same as desktop mode, apart from increased spacing between Taskbar icons, and the Taskbar search box being replaced by an icon. Microsoft says File Explorer will also switch to a touch-optimized layout when selected.
The new look tablet layout is currently being tested by users running early builds of Windows 10 under the Insider program. The revamped look has been made available to a subset of users running Windows 10 build 18970, which was rolled out to the Insider Fast Ring yesterday.
The new tablet layout is triggered by using a 2-in-1 device as a tablet, for example, by detaching the keyboard or folding it under the screen. The existing Windows 10 tablet mode is still available but has to be manually enabled via the Action Center.
Build 18970 also includes a new way to reset a Windows 10 PC. Users selecting ‘Reset this PC’ from the Recovery section of the Settings menu can now choose to reinstall Windows by downloading a fresh copy, rather than using Windows files stored on the drive. The new ‘Cloud download’ option will reinstall the same build, version, and edition of Windows 10 as is installed on the device.
Microsoft’s revamped Cortana experience, previously only available to some Fast Ring Insiders, is also now available to all testers in the Fast Ring.
You can read about the fixes and the known bugs in this latest Windows 10 Insider build in Microsoft’s blog on the subject.