Windows 10 Redstone 4 new features
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Windows 10 Redstone 4 (version 1803): All the new features and changes

UPDATE 11/20: Windows 10 Redstone 4 is due in 2018, but here are all the new features and improvements Microsoft has been working for the new version.

Windows 10’s Redstone 4 (version 1803) is the next major release set to deliver a new wave of features and improvements. Although we’re still in the early days, there has been a number of previews unveiling a number of changes coming to the platform.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the new features and changes Microsoft is working on for the fifth feature update for Windows 10 coming in 2018. (You can follow the Redstone 4 development here.)

What’s new on desktop experience

You can also check out this walkthrough video with all changes included in the most recent Windows 10 Insider Preview build. Check this guide: Windows 10 build 17074 releases with new features for even more changes.

Start menu

In this new update, the Start menu includes Reveal highlight, which is an interactive visualization that brings illumination to display hidden borders, helps you navigate, and interact with an app. You’ll see this feature while hovering items in the All apps list and Live Tiles.

Additionally, right-clicking an Microsoft Store app, and selecting More, you’ll now see a Settings option that will take you straight to settings page for that particular app.

Start menu with Reveal highlight
Start menu with Reveal highlight

Action Center

When using the dark theme option the “Clear all,” “Expand”/”Collapse,” and “See more” the links text now use the current system accent color. In Addition, the “Clear all” text has been replaced for “Clear all notifications” to make clearer the action of the button.

Action Center links
Action Center links

Action Center now supports a two-finger touch gesture to dismiss all notifications.

If a notification doesn’t support being dismissed, the toast will now show an X instead of an arrow, and when writing a response in a notification and you dismiss it by accident, Action center will now save the draft automatically.

In addition, Action Center uses “am”/”pm” when indicating timestamp with the 12-hour clock format, rather than “a”/”p”.

Cortana

On version 1803, the Cortana’s Notebook is getting a face lift that makes the experience easier to use and more responsive with tabs and card-based items. 

In the new experience, the Organizer tab is where you’ll now find lists and reminders, and the Manage Skills tab is where you can now change many of the Cortana settings.

The update also adds your account picture in the left rail to align the design with the Start menu experience.

Cortana's Notebook on version 1803
Cortana’s Notebook on version 1803

Additionally, Cortana will now provide activities suggestions to resume tasks using Timeline.

Windows 10 introduces Cortana Collections with the Lists experience, a new feature that allows the assistant to save you time by “noticing and remembering things,” such as recipes, restaurants, books, movies and TV shows you want to watch, and things you shop online without you having to do anything.

Cortana Collections
Cortana Collections

Using Collections, as Cortana gathers these things, it’ll put them into an organized list that you can customize. Also, the feature learns as you use it, which means that items you don’t like may not appear in the future.

In order to make Cortana actions less confusing, instead of appearing in the Cortana app and Action Center, moving forward all Cortana’s proactive content that you may need to take action will only appear in Action Center.

With this change, the Cortana app now has more space to provide tips, assistance, and tools to make you more productive.

In addition, when the default location is set on your computer, the assistant now knows how to show you location-based reminders in the area of your device.

Desktop experience

The taskbar in the new version of Windows 10 isn’t getting major improvements, but now Microsoft has turned on the Fluent Design Acrylic material effect.

Taskbar with Acrylic material effect
Taskbar with Acrylic material effect

You’ll also find this effect in Clock & Calendar, Volume, Input, My People, and Share experience.

Also, the Windows Update icon in the notification area now shows warnings and alerts that require your action, and right-clicking the icon will give you access to restart, schedule, or open Windows Update.

When you right-click the Windows Defender Security Center icon, you’ll notice new options to do a quick scan, update definition, change notifications, and launch the Windows Defender app.

Windows Defender icon options
Windows Defender icon options

In File Explorer, OneDrive will now show a cloud status icon informing you the sync state of files on folders. However, you can always disable this option on Folder Options > View, and clearing the Always show availability status option.

Near Share

In this update, you’ll also find a new feature called Near Share that allows you to share any type of files and web links with minimal efforts wirelessly to nearby devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity — similar to Apple’s AirDrop feature.

The experience come enabled by default, and you can enable or disable using the Quick action button in Action Center, or Share experiences page in the Settings app. (You can learn more about Near Share in this guide.)

Enable Near Share using Settings
Enable Near Share using Settings

My People

In the new release of Windows 10, My People introduces a number of small tweaks, including:

  • Ability to drag and drop contacts to rearrange them when they’re pinned into the taskbar.
  • You are allowed to pin more than three contacts into the taskbar.
  • You can drop contacts in and out of the experience flyout.
  • The experience has Acrylic material enabled by default.
  • You’ll now receive emotive notifications from any contact.
  • There’s a new animation to indicate a contact is pinned in the overflow list in the flyout.
  • My People now suggests other apps you can connect to the experience.
My People on Windows 10 Redstone 4
My People on Windows 10 Redstone 4

Timeline

Timeline is an expansion of Task View, and it’s a feature that allows to find and resume activities you were working in the past. It could be from a previous activity you were working on your Windows 10 device, or another PC, Android, or iOS device connected to your Microsoft account. 

Basically, Timeline enhances Task View allowing you to pick up where you left off any activities in the last 30 days, as well as activities on apps that are currently running on your computer.

You can access Timeline with the new update Task View button in the taskbar. In the experience, you’ll see as list of running applications at the top, while your Timeline activities appears at the bottom sorted by day with two rows of activities.

In the case, you can find a particular activity, you can click the See all button in the header to view all the activities for that day organized by hour. In the left, you’ll find a scrollbar, and at the top there is a search button to quickly pick up where you left off an activity.

Virtual Desktop isn’t going away on Windows 10 version 1803, you can still access the experience within Task View, but the button now appears in the top-left left corner.

Here’s a full demonstration of Timeline on Windows 10:

What’s new on Settings experience

On Windows 10 version 1803 (Redstone 4), the Settings app is getting an overhaul with a new homepage that includes smaller icons with titles aligned to the right. Sections now feature the Acrylic material effect on left side, the home button is now a house icon, and a lot of other other tweaks and improvements.

Settings app on Windows 10 version 1803
Settings app on Windows 10 version 1803

In addition, when using the light theme the Reveal highlight effect is more noticeable than before. You’ll not only see this in the Settings app, but across Windows 10 too.

Display

Using the Display settings, it’s now possible to adjust the brightness of SDR content on HDR displays.

Also, there is a new Advanced display settings option, under the “Multi displays” section, that allows you to access more details about your monitor.

Advanced display settings page
Advanced display settings page

In the “Advanced scaling settings” page, there is a new Let Windows try to fix apps, so they’re not blurry option to allow Windows 10 to fix blurry applications automatically without having to sign out when changing settings, dock/undocking, and during a remote session.

Advanced scaling settings
Advanced scaling settings

Additional, Microsoft has added a new Change high DPI settings option in traditional programs .exe file properties to override global high DPI settings.

Sound

The Sound page is new to the “System” section, and it brings the most common sound settings to the Settings app. You not only can get control system volume and microphone, but you can also select the input and output devices and troubleshoot problems within this page.

Sound settings Windows 10 version 1803
Sound settings Windows 10 version 1803

Storage

The Storage page, under the “Storage sense” section, now includes a new Free up space now link that allows you direct access to the page to delete temporary files. Also, with this update, you can delete even more temporary files, including:

  • Windows upgrade log files.
  • System created Windows Error Reporting Files.
  • Windows Defender Antivirus.
  • Thumbnails.
  • Temporary files.
  • Recycle Bin.
  • Previous Windows installations.
  • Temporary Internet Files.
  • Device driver packages.
  • Delivery Optimization Files.
  • DirectX Shared Cache.
Free up space now settings page
Free up space now settings page

Multitasking

The Multitasking page isn’t getting major changes, but now includes an option to enable or disable suggestions in Timeline.

Multitasking settings page on Windows 10 version 1803
Multitasking settings page on Windows 10 version 1803

Share experiences 

The Share experiences page has been updated to accommodate the setting for the new Near Share feature. Within the page, you can enable or disable the feature, configure permissions, and change the default location to save incoming files.

Pen & Windows Ink

The Pen & Windows Ink settings page includes a new option that allows you to change the font that the system uses to convert your handwriting into actual text.

Pen & Windows Ink settings page
Pen & Windows Ink settings page

Startup

The Startup page is a new page in the “Apps” section that allows you to control which apps are allowed to run at startup, instead of having to use Task Manager.

Startup apps settings page on Windows 10 version 1803
Startup apps settings page on Windows 10 version 1803

Startup tasks

In the Advanced options for Microsoft Store apps will now include a new Startup tasks feature that allows you to manage the tasks from an app that can run on startup. However, this is a new feature, and it’s up to the developer to implement. Otherwise, the option won’t be available.

Ethernet/Wi-Fi

In the network adapter properties page, you’ll not find a link to access the Data usage page.

Data usage

The Data usage page is getting a number of tweaks with this release, including the ability to see more clearly an overview of data usage from the last 30 days. In addition, you can now set the data limit per adapter to help you avoid going over your data plan, and you get the option to restrict background data to reduce data usage.

Data usage settings page
Data usage settings page

Cellular

If you have cellular connection (e.g., 4G LTE), you’ll find that the Cellular page now lets you set connections priorities. For example, you can set your device to use a cellular connectivity instead when the wireless network around you is not reliable.

Taskbar

In the Taskbar page, you can now control more options about My People, including the ability to pin more contacts and disable suggestions of apps you can connect to the experience.

Taskbar settings
Taskbar settings

Apps & features

Inside the Apps & features page, you’ll find some interesting new improvements. For example, the Manage app execution aliases is a new page that allows you to decide if an app can used its declared alias that you can use to start with Command Prompt. This is particular useful if you have apps that happen to have the same alias.

Manage app execution aliases settings
Manage app execution aliases settings

In the Advanced settings for Microsoft Store apps, you can now manage a lot of options, including the ability to change app permissions. You can set an app as your new default. The Settings app also includes a new Terminate button that you can use to terminate the app and related processes if it’s not responding. Of course, the Reset and Uninstall options are still available.

App settings page
App settings page

Video playback

In the Video playback page there’s a new option that allows you to have Windows 10 automatically adjust SDR (standard dynamic range) video based on the lighting around your environment.

Video playback settings
Video playback settings

Sign-in options

In the Sign-in options page for local accounts, Windows 10 now allows users to set security questions to recover their account from the Lock screen in case you forget your password.

As a result of this change, the process to create a new local account has changed, and now, you’ll asked to set up security questions during the creation of a new account.

Region & Language

In the Region & Language page, the experience has been updated to show whether a language supports text-to-speech, speech recognition, and handwriting using a new set of icons on the top-right.

Region & language
Region & language

You can also use the arrows to set a new language as your default, and perhaps more importantly the interface to install a new language has been redesigned.

Adding a new language experience on Windows 10
Adding a new language experience on Windows 10

Keyboard

In the Keyboard page, you’ll find a number of interesting changes as well. Starting with Windows 10 version 1803, using the Keyboard page allows you to install layouts more quickly, and it now allows you to change the default keyboard independently of the default language configured on your device.

Add new keyboard layout on Windows 10
Add new keyboard layout on Windows 10

Accessing the options for the a particular keyboard, you can now change supported settings like touch keyboard and hardware keyboard.

Keyboard options
Keyboard options

Inside the Advanced keyboard settings page, you’ll also be able to customize a number of other settings, including the ability to switching input method, more touch keyboard settings, and Emoji panel.

Advanced keyboard options
Advanced keyboard options

Game Mode

The Game Mode page has also been updated to include a reset option with the ability to roll back changes to its original settings.

Reset Game Mode settings
Reset Game Mode settings

Ease of Access

In the Redstone 4 update, Ease of Access is getting numerous tweaks to make it easier to use depending on your requirements.

The settings are now divided into groups to help you see, hear, and interact with settings more quickly. Microsoft is even making it settings easier to understand.

Display

Ease of access brings common screen settings for faster configuration with the new Display page. For example, in this page, you can have the options to adjust scaling settings, change brightness, disable system animations and transparency, and even an option to control notification time and disable the desktop background.

Cursor, pointer and touch feedback

This new page is where users can now find the “change cursor thickness”, “Change pointer size and color”, and “Change touch feedback” settings.

Magnifier

In this page there are no new features, but you’ll notice that Magnifier no longer includes a list of shortcuts. Instead, the shortcuts will be display under their corresponding settings.

Narrator

The Narrator page now allows you to select the desired audio channel for speech output using the new “Select Narrator audio output device” option, and you’ll now find a setting to control verbosity of text characteristics.

Narrator settings on Windows 10 version 1803
Narrator settings on Windows 10 version 1803

Under “Choose when to start Narrator,” you can enable Narrator settings before login.

Color Filters

This page now includes better descriptions while selecting a filter, and there is a new color wheel to help you get a feel for the effect of each of the different available color filters.

Color Filters wheel settings
Color Filters wheel settings

Audio

The Audio page is a new page that lets users control system volume, enable mono audio, and there is even a feature to show audio alerts visually.

Audio settings on Ease of Access
Audio settings on Ease of Access

Closed captions

Divides the settings into three groups, including “Change caption font,” “Change caption background,” and “Dim window content.”

Speech Recognition

On Ease of Access, Speech Recognition is a new page that allows to control Windows Speech Recognition on your PC.

Speech Recognition settings on Windows 10
Speech Recognition settings on Windows 10

Keyboard

The Keyboard page has been updated to include options to disable the keyboard shortcuts for the available features.

Notifications

In the Cortana’s Notifications page there are two new options:

  • Help me “Pick up where I left off” — Allows Cortana to surface activities you can resume from other devices.
  • Get collections suggestions — Allows the assistant to make suggestions and surface related updates about collections.
Cortana notification settings
Cortana notification settings

Activity history

The Activity history is new to Windows 10 Redstone 4, and it’s a page that includes all data Cortana uses for “Pick up where you left off”, and it’s also the place where you can delete this data.

Privacy Activity history settings
Privacy Activity history settings

Windows Update

Alongside with the ability to limit the bandwidth Windows 10 uses to download system and apps updates, starting with version 1803, the Delivery Optimization page allows you limit the download bandwidth that is used in foreground downloads.

Delivery Optimization options
Delivery Optimization options

If you’re unfamiliar, “foreground downloads” are those when you interactively start a download. For example, when you click on “Check for updates” or start downloading an app from the Microsoft Store.

What’s new on input experience

Windows 10 is also improving the way you use input devices, whether you use natural handwriting using a pen or typing using the touch keyboard.

Touch keyboard

Starting with version 1803, the touch keyboard experience is getting Acrylic — the new transparent element part of the Fluent Design System. It now supports the standard keyboard layout for all languages.

Windows 10 touch keyboard with Fluent Design
Windows 10 touch keyboard with Fluent Design

And it expands the share-writing feature previously available only with the one-handed keyboard to the wide keyboard.

Shape-writing on full-sized keyboard
Shape-writing on full-sized keyboard

Handwriting panel

The handwriting experience is also receiving a number of tweaks, including improved correction recognition and insertion gesture (to add space between words or letters).

On gestures, you can now use a “split” (vertical line) gesture between two words to create more space between words, and it’s possible to draw a split gesture inside a word to break apart the word and ink more characters in the new space.

Additionally, Windows 10 incorporates a new gesture so you can automatically commit your text and clear out the text in the handwriting panel. This gesture looks like a 90-degree angle bracketing the end of your text.

Emoji panel

The Emoji panel data has been updated so that emojis will appear as you’re typing related words with the touch keyboard. There is support for more languages that didn’t previously support emoji candidates. And using the Windows logo key + “.” or “;” shortcuts, you can browse, search and then select more than one emoji, and the panel won’t go away until you click close button or press “Esc” key.

What’s new on the system experience

Microsoft Fluent Design system

Windows 10 softens the light press effect based on feedback, and enables Reveal by default in CalendarView (Clock and Calendar flyout).

Clock and Calendar with Fluent Design
Clock and Calendar with Fluent Design

Boot experience

In the Redstone 4 update, the Lock screen will now show you your screen personalization (e.g., Windows Spotlight, Cortana, Calendar, and Mail) if you don’t sign and wait for a few seconds.

Windows Shell improvements

The new update also continues to improve the Windows Shell experience on mixed-PDI monitor setups, language, Start menu, and People feature.

Additional improvements with Windows 10

On Windows 10 now updates the Run dialog so when hold Ctrl + Shift then click OK or press Enter, it will run that task or program elevated.

Apps registered to restart on restart or after a shutdown will only occur if “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting my device after an update or restart” option is enabled in the Sign-in options settings page.

Microsoft Edge

Redstone 4 also delivers an improved version of Microsoft Edge.

In this new update, the browser finally includes an option to mute tab that make sound by clicking the speaker icon or right-clicking the tab.

Edge mute tab option
Edge mute tab option

If you’re reading a free EPUB book, you can now save the book to your PC, and the Books section now includes a right-click context menu with convenient options like: “Remove from device,” “View in Microsoft Store,” “Pin to Start,” “Refresh books”.

The web browser introduces options to save and automatically fill your preferred information in forms. You can either use the new “Manage form entries” in advanced settings to specify your info beforehand, or Microsoft Edge will prompt you to save your info as you fill out a new form. In the future, you can simply select the preferred information from a drop-down menu to complete all the related fields.

If you’re just getting started with the Fall Creators Update, watch this walkthrough video highlighting all the new features and changes.

Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 17046, and the remaining changes are detailed in build 17063 video embedded above. It should be noted that this guide focuses on features for consumers, as Microsoft is also adding other features aimed for enterprises, which aren’t included here.