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The last 5 years in feedback-driven features

As Windows Insiders, your feedback has helped drive many changes over the years. From small fixes to big features, you’ve been a key part of helping us evolve Windows. In honor of our fifth anniversary year, we’re taking a moment to look back at some of our favorites.

Emoji, kaomoji & symbols

When you told us you wanted an easier way to type emoji, we created the WIN+(Period) keyboard shortcut. But we didn’t stop there—based on your feedback, we updated this hotkey to also include kaomoji and symbols!

What are kaomoji? Basically, they’re faces with expressions you can make by combining various characters. For example, you might be familiar with the shruggie:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The emoji panel you’ll see when you use the WIN+(Period) keyboard shortcut.The kaomoji panel you’ll see when you use the WIN+(Period) keyboard shortcut and select the winking kaomoji from the top menu.

Have you tried it yet? (❁´◡`❁)

OneDrive Files On-Demand

We heard your feedback—you needed to work across devices. You needed everything accessible in one place, at your fingertips, without taking up disk space until the moment you needed it. Enter OneDrive Files On-Demand!

When you turn on this feature, you’ll see all your files in File Explorer. New files created online or on another device appear as online-only files, which don’t take up space on your device. When you’re connected to the internet, you’ll be able to use the files just like any other file on your device.

We also added an option in Storage Settings to automatically switch locally stored OneDrive content to be online-only if left unopened for a certain number of days.

Turn on OneDrive Files On-Demand now.

Using File Explorer to access your Quick access OneDrive Files On-Demand.

Cursor & pointer size and color

If you’ve ever had trouble spotting your mouse, you aren’t alone. We heard your feedback, and that’s why we added the ability in Ease of Access Settings to choose the mouse size and color you need to make it easy to see.

The options for changing your mouse’s size and color with the Mouse pointer settings in the Ease of Access section of Settings.

Now you can also make your text cursor stand out with an indicator and a range of sizes and colors. We even introduced a preview pane within settings, so you can see exactly what your customized indicator looks like before it shows up on your screen.

The options for using a text cursor indicator and changing its size and color with the Text cursor settings in the Ease of Access section of Settings.

You can find these options under Settings > Ease of Access > Mouse pointer or Settings > Ease of Access > Text cursor.

GPU performance

We loved seeing everyone’s excitement when GPU performance monitoring was unveiled for Task Manager so much, and your feedback helped make it happen!

The GPU display you’ll see in Task Manager’s Performance tab when you select your GPU.

We’ve made a few more improvements since then too, including showing disk type so it’s easier to tell which disk is which when you have multiple, and now displaying GPU temperature.

GPU’s temperature display in Task Manager’s Performance tab.

Have you logged (WIN + F) what you’d like to see next?

Feedback Hub Collections

Speaking of feedback, let’s highlight how Feedback Hub has evolved over the years. Your feedback has helped us introduce new features like Find Similar Feedback, cross-language support in Feedback Hub, and one of our biggest changes, Collections.

Collections bring similar feedback together in one place. The little stack of cards icon next to the feedback’s title shows it’s a collection, and we’re continuing to work on creating more collections as new feedback comes in.

Feedback collections, which are marked with the stack of cards icon, inside Feedback Hub.

Sticky Notes updates

Feedback has improved many aspects of Sticky Notes, including dark mode that supports Windows Dark Mode, as well as the ability to set your color mode in Sticky Notes to suit your mood independent of your system’s settings, and easier formatting.

Notes on a desktop demonstrating dark mode for Sticky Notes.

But our favorite feature your feedback helped drive is note syncing across apps and devices—did you know they’re also available via OneNote Mobile, OneNote.com, and Microsoft Launcher?

A user typing a Sticky Note on their desktop, which is being synced across the user’s devices at the same time.

Volume flyout options

Sometimes it’s the little things that really improve your day-to-day Windows 10 use, and your feedback helped inspire improvements to the volume flyout in the taskbar. Did you know that you can not only adjust your volume quickly, but also easily switch audio endpoints to control the volume of all your devices?

Adjusting your volume levels from the volume flyout of the taskbar.

Selecting your playback device from the volume flyout of the taskbar.

Microsoft Edge

From the beginning of Project Spartan, Insiders have helped make Microsoft Edge special. You asked us to bring it to all your devices with faster updates and a more modern core, and as of January 15th, the new Microsoft Edge is out of preview and now available for download!

The new Microsoft Edge logo.

Become a Microsoft Edge Insider today to always be the first to see what’s coming up next.

Night light

Do you find the bright light strains your eyes when working late? Insiders reached out about this, and your feedback encouraged us to create night light, a mode for reducing the blue light emitted by your screen. Have it on a schedule or turn it on at any time.

Turn on night light under Settings > Display, then choose your options under Settings > Display > Night light settings.

Turning on night light in Display settings. Using the night light settings to set its strength and schedule.

Focus assist & notification settings

Thanks to your feedback, you have better control over your notifications than ever before. Improved notification settings make it easier than ever to control what you get notified of. When you receive a notification toast, the inline option lets you turn off notifications or quickly connect to that app’s settings, and in Settings, pictures help demonstrate how the notifications work.

Your inline options to turn off an app’s notifications or go to its settings from a notification toast.

Ongoing improvements to Focus Assist are also an important part of letting you choose when you’re notified, so you can work uninterrupted. Options like the ability to turn off notifications when you’re doing anything full screen help make the Focus Assist experience seamless.

The Focus Assist’s section in Settings, including automatic rules for when it will turn on.

Wallpaper theme packs

One thing we hear time and again is that you love wallpaper options. Did you know there are now over 300 theme packs in the store full of wallpapers for you to choose from? We add more every few weeks.

From the Themes section of Settings, connect to more themes with the Get more themes in Microsoft Store option.

Shape-writing

Input is at the core of what you do when interacting with your PC, and over the years we’ve made a number of improvements to this area based on what you’ve told us. One of the most requested features we implemented? Shape-writing!

First we introduced it for the one-handed keyboard, and then based on your feedback, expanded it to also be available on the wide keyboard.

Shape-writing in action on the wide keyboard.

Xbox Game Bar improvements

The Xbox Game Bar has evolved a lot over the years thanks to your feedback. Some key updates?

  • FPS indicator
  • Achievements widget
  • Battery level indicator for the Xbox controller
  • Transparency in widgets
  • Buttons to go to your captures, toggle your microphone or camera, and edit your Mixer stream’s title
  • A clock to quickly check the time
  • Themes, including dark and light themes.

The current Xbox Game Bar, with improvements like dark theme, a clock, and buttons for your microphone and camera.

Have you tried it recently? Pressing the Windows key plus G while gaming will bring it up.

Security options & Windows Sandbox

How many times have you downloaded an executable file but were afraid to run it? Windows feedback helped drive better security options, including improvements to Windows Sandbox, a new lightweight desktop environment tailored for safely running applications in isolation.

Any software installed in Windows Sandbox stays only in the sandbox and cannot affect your host. Once Windows Sandbox is closed, all the software with all of its files and state are permanently deleted.

A Windows Sandbox VM window open on a user’s normal desktop.

To install Windows Sandbox, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features on or off, and then select Enable Windows Sandbox.

Evolving the Windows command line experience

We remember the excitement when we first announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), a rich Linux developer ecosystem and set of tools that work alongside the tools you were already using in Windows. But we didn’t stop there—your feedback helped make 24-bit RGB in the Windows Console, WSL 2, and Windows Terminal a reality for command-line users on Windows 10.

With Windows Terminal, we were able to introduce a modern, efficient, and powerful terminal application for users of command-line tools and shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL.

Our top requests from the WSL community have been to increase the file system performance and make more apps work inside of WSL (i.e. introduce better system call compatibility). We heard your feedback and announced WSL 2 to help solve these issues.

Linux screen with WSL2 IS AWESOME written in outline form.

Dictation & text predictions

Spelling is something that many of us have struggled with at one point or another. Based on feedback, we added not one but two options in times of need: dictation (WIN+H) and text predictions for the hardware keyboard. The latter is not enabled by default, however you can find the setting under Settings > Devices > Typing.

Currently dictation is supported with English (United States), English (Canada), English (UK), English (Australia), English (India), French (France), French (Canada), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexica), Portuguese (Brazilian), and Chinese (China).

Adjust your spelling, touch keyboard, and hardware keyboard options in the Typing section of the Settings app.

Touchpad gesture improvements

It started with feedback asking for a gesture for switching between virtual desktops, but it ended with much more than that. You can customize your three and four finger precision touchpad gestures in Settings, plus your touchpad sensitivity, taps, scroll, and zoom.

Go to Settings > Devices > Touchpad to get started.

Adjust your touchpad’s three-finger and four-finger gestures and more in the Touchpad section of the Settings app.

The Windows Insider Program for Business

When you join the Windows Insider Program for Business, you’ll be able to validate your apps and infrastructures ahead of the next public Windows release. IT professionals asked us for an easier way to deploy preview builds, so now you can do it via Group Policy, Intune, WSUS, or Configuration Manager.

The first step in creating and naming a new GPO for managing the Windows Insider Program for business.

Photos app video editor

Photos and videos are essential these days, especially if you’re on social media. Did you know the Photos app includes a video editor, added based on your feedback? Use it to easily take photos on your PC and stitch them together into slideshows, clips, or little movies. You can add text, trim your clips, change the speed, add or mute audio, and more.

The Photos app video editor while editing the storyboard a short video of a cat staring blankly.

Dark & light themes

Windows Insiders, have you crossed over to the dark side? Or are you committed to the side of the light? Obviously, we mean dark or light themes, which you helped inspire!

To adjust your theme, go to Settings > Personalization > Colors to choose your preferred option.

Changing your mode to light or dark theme inside the Colors section of the Settings app.

Your Phone app

How can we pick just one feature of the Your Phone app to highlight that’s been added based on feedback when we love them all?

  • Easy access to calling
  • App notifications
  • Texting
  • Screen mirroring

Screen showing incoming phone call on the PC with the Your Phone app.

Notepad updates

Our work on Windows 10 hasn’t just been about new experiences, but also enhancing existing ones. Your feedback inspired us to update Notepad to support wrap around find and replace, text zooming, line numbers with work-wrap, modified indicators, UNIX-style line endings, and more.

Learn more about these Notepad improvements.

Notepad’s wrap around find/replace in action with the Find module open and searching for the word Notepad.

Screenshot improvements

Many of us regularly take screenshots, and based on your feedback, we’ve been improving this experience in Windows, including:

  • Using Win+Shift+S to screenshot a region of the screen.
  • If you have a pen, you can enable single click to start a snip (under Screen Snipping in Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink).
  • Switching the Print Screen button to start a snip instead of copying the full screen (an option under Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Print Screen shortcut).
  • A new quick action in the Action Center for starting a snip.

Taking a screen snip of the Keyboard settings that let you engage the Print Screen button to open screen snipping.

PowerToys

We heard power users wanted more options for optimizing your workflow, so we started development on a modern version of PowerToys. Things are just heating up with 3 utilities ready for you today and more coming soon!

Learn more about PowerToys and its latest 0.12 release.

PowerToys General Settings for turning on FancyZones and more.

Keeping track of the latest features

If you loved this coverage of Windows 10 features, it’s also easier than ever to keep track of the what’s new in each release thanks to your feedback. See the latest changes every step of the way on our Windows Insider Program Docs.

Our Docs page of what’s new in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds to easily connect you to the latest features.

 

See all our original posts and videos from this recap and follow us on Twitter to learn more about key features like these in real-time.