Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301 Improves Touch Keyboard

Microsoft has released an update to all Dev channel subscribers who wish to test out the new feature ahead of time, the Insider Preview Build 21301. As mentioned in the earlier release (Build 21296), all Insiders in the Dev channel will now receive updates simultaneously.

This update brings some features and updates to the touch keyboard amongst other minor fixes. Let us discuss in detail what it has to offer.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301 Dev Channel
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301 Dev Channel

What’s new in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301

It seems that the main focus of this release was the users of Windows 10 on the tablet mode. All of the new features in build 21301 have been introduced to the touch keyboard. Let us dig into what has been introduced.

Improvements in touch keyboard design

Microsoft has been developing the keyboard for the tablet mode since build 20206. Now, they have introduced more features to it.

The keyboard will now automatically switch to Small Keyboard Layout when the physical keyboard is detached. Moreover, users could be able to move it around for their comfort by grabbing it from the gripper region at the top.

Gripper region

Another change has been made to the Small and Split layouts of the keyboard. This will now feature an updated symbol view based on the default layout. Moreover, the keyboard’s settings menu now has a nested structure for better manageability and navigation.

Nested settings menu

Users can now also enable or disable visual keypress feedback to view which keys have been pressed while touching the keyboard. A button has been added to toggle this feature to the left of the spacebar, which is especially useful while entering passwords, so you do not get them wrong.


Microsoft also adds that some users may experience some other minor changes in the default layout of the keyboard while using 12 inches or larger screens.

Another change that has been made is after getting feedback from the insiders. Some have reported that the candidate bar at the top of the keyboard feels cluttered due to too many elements. Microsoft has changed this to a maximum of 5 elements at a time. However, this feature will be rolled out soon enough to all insiders on the Dev channel.

Improvements and fixes in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301

Here is a list of the implemented fixes once you have updated your device to build 21301:

  • You now get the option to Open file location from the context menu when right-clicking a locally saved file displayed in the jump list.
  • The N’Ko keyboard layout has been updated to incorporate access to currency and other symbols by holding down the Shift key and clicking the keys in the top row.
  • You no longer require administrative privileges to toggle on or off the Touchpad from Settings -> Devices -> Touchpad.
  • Major updates have been made to the backend dictionaries to improve text prediction and spellcheck.
  • The issue of news and interests and the Taskbar’s context menu has finally been resolved.
  • An issue resulting in news and interests consuming 100 percent of CPU has been addressed.
  • The issue with the Task Manager often crashing when switching to the Details tab has been fixed.
  • A recently reported issue with the ShellExperienceHost service of the Clock and Calendar flyout taking up high amounts of the CPU has been fixed.
  • An issue resulting in the State Repository Service being prematurely terminated during startup has been addressed.
  • An issue while searching for Change your password from the Search Box and launching the Settings app will result in the application crashing has been fixed.
  • The unexpected disablement of Aero Shake has been taken care of.
  • An issue experienced while moving a window between mixed DPI monitors would result in the window overflowing to the other screen when maximized has been fixed.
  • The problem of certain HEIF files not rendering even though the correct codecs were installed has been fixed.
  • An issue experienced since the last few insider updates resulting in websites not pinning to Taskbar from Microsoft Edge has been fixed.
  • The issue of VPN frequently connecting and disconnecting has been fixed.
  • The problem resulting in frequent disconnection of the network in some 32-Bit systems has been fixed.
  • The issue with clicking the “Wi-Fi password needed” notification and not getting a response has been taken care of.
  • The problem of certain games hanging or freezing, such as State of Decay 2 or Assassin’s Creed, has been fixed.
  • The problem of the Narrator not being able to read certain elements of the Windows Troubleshooter has been fixed.

Known issues

It will be an incomplete update if there aren’t any known issues with it. As with every new build in the Dev channel, this update also has a few issues that Microsoft is aware of. Here is a list of those known problems:

  • Users may experience low frame rates while using Miracast.
  • The update process hangs for extensive periods of time when installing the new build.
  • Microsoft is aware of an issue impacting the reliability of the Start Menu and a few other apps. This issue started with the last build 21292.
  • Live previews for pinned sites in the Taskbar have not yet been published for all insiders. Hence, users might see a blank or grey image when they hover their mouse over the Taskbar’s thumbnails.
  • Microsoft is currently working on enabling a new taskbar experience for insiders. However, users can unpin the pinned sites from the taskbar, remove them from Microsoft Edge by going to the edge://apps page, and then re-pin the sites.
  • News and interests:
    • Sometimes the flyout may not be dismissed until you click the Taskbar button.
    • Often the news and interests window cannot be closed using a touch/pen.
    • The flyout uses more space on the taskbar than expected.
    • The flyout can display stale information at times when the user signs in.
    • Initially, the content is displayed in a single column which then switches to a double-column layout.
    • Higher screen resolution makes the text look pixelated.
    • The flyout dismisses itself when attempting to share the content.
  • Insiders who had installed Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver on their Surface Pro X may experience lower brightness levels.

Some of these issues have been carried forward since the last build. It seems that Microsoft is working day and night to fix these issues as some of the problems previously discovered have been fixed with this build.

How to install Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21301

If you are subscribed to the Dev channel of the Windows Insider Program, then you shall automatically receive the new update through Windows Updates. However, if you are anxious to receive the update without waiting, here is what you can do.

  1. Navigate to the following location:
    Start Menu -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update
  2. Now click on Check for updates on the right side and the computer will start scanning for any newly available updates.
    check for updates
  3. Once scanned, click on Download and the installation should begin.
    click download

Allow ample time for the download and installation to finish. Once done, reboot the computer and your upgrade is done.

updated 5

Unfortunately, a standalone ISO version for build 21301 has not yet been made available on Microsoft’s page.

Rollback/remove Windows 10 Insider Preview update

If you do not wish to keep the installed preview update for some reason, you can always roll back to the previous build of the OS. However, this can only be performed within the next 10 days after installing the new update.

To rollback after 10 days, you will need to apply this trick.

Cleanup after installing Windows Updates

If you want to save space after installing Windows updates, you can run the following commands:

dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore
dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
Windows image cleanup

You can learn all about the Microsoft Insider Programs and check out how to join and manage them. You can also join the Windows Insider Program without creating or registering your Microsoft account.

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Subhan Zafar
Subhan holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and has completed several system and network certifications including Huwaei, Cisco and Microsoft certs. He mostly researches and writes about the Windows world.

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