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
- What’s new on Settings experience
- What’s new on input experience
- What’s new on system experience
- What’s new on Microsoft Edge
What’s new on desktop experience
This guide contains all the changes until build 17040.
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.
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 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.
In addition, Action Center uses “am”/”pm” when indicating timestamp with the 12-hour clock format, rather than “a”/”p”.
Windows 10 introduces Cortana Collections, 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.
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.
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.)
What’s new on Settings experience
Using the Display settings, it’s now possible to adjust the brightness of SDR content on HDR displays.
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.
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.
Windows 10 is also introducing more improvements to the typing experience using a hardware keyboard. In the Redstone 4 update, within the Typing page, you can enable text suggestions, autocorrect words when suggestions are available, and add a space after selecting a text suggestion using the hardware keyboard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Divides the settings into three groups, including “Change caption font,” “Change caption background,” and “Dim window content.”
On Ease of Access, Speech Recognition is a new page that allows to control Windows Speech Recognition on your PC.
The Keyboard page has been updated to include options to disable the keyboard shortcuts for the available features.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And it expands the share-writing feature previously available only with the one-handed keyboard to the wide keyboard.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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”.
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 17040. 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.