Windows 10: Microsoft's plan to kill passwords moves on with new test build

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 19H1 Insider Preview for the fast ring expands the availability of password-less sign-in and a revamped Windows Hello PIN reset from Windows 10 Home to all Windows 10 editions. 

Microsoft rolled out its new password-less sign-in option to Windows 10 Home edition insiders in December with build 18305 and, with the new 18309 build, has now made it available to insiders on all editions. The 19H1 builds are expected to be available to all Windows 10 users in the first half of 2019. 

With the new preview, users with a Microsoft account with a phone number can use an SMS code to sign in and set up an account, and from there use Windows Hello Face, fingerprint or a PIN to sign in. 

Users who don’t already have a password-less phone number account can create one in the Word app on iOS or Android.

Microsoft has also expanded the availability of its streamlined Windows Hello PIN reset procedure, which can be tested by clicking the ‘I forgot my PIN’ link when signing in to Windows with a PIN. 

The Narrator app that reads out text is also getting some improvements. Users no longer need to download language packs to add voices in other languages. This task can now be done by going to Narrator Settings and clicking ‘Add more voices’. 

SEE: How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (cover story PDF)

Actions in Narrator Home such as QuickStart and settings are now buttons, while a new ‘Narrator + 5 twice’ command renders current character phonetics. 

There are also improvement in the reading of controls while navigating and editing, table reading in PowerPoint, reading and navigating with Chrome, and interacting with Chrome menus. 

There’s also a long list of bug fixes, including one for the new Windows Sandbox that was introduced in build 18305. The feature allows users to run untrusted executables in a sandbox without risking infecting the host. 

For some users, Windows Sandbox and Windows Defender Application Guard were failing to launch in preview build 18305, but that should be fixed in this latest build.

Previous and related coverage

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Microsoft: This Azure password-banning tool will help kill off bad ‘P@$$w0rd’ habits TechRepublic

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Safari tests USB security key support to help fix our password problems CNET

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