This week Microsoft will roll out the latest update to Windows 10. The update is known as the 1803 Feature Update or Windows 10 Spring Creators Update and was codenamed Redstone 4. It has many improvements to the OS including a brand new way of continue working from where you left off. Nearly every area of the OS has had some polish and there are some interesting new features.
Here are some of my favourite new features and changes in this release
The main new feature with Redstone 4 is TimeLine, and this replaces the old task switcher in Window 10 and is a much-improved way of working. With timeline, you see your app history so you can switch between the running tasks but also scroll back through time and pickup web pages and apps that you have previously users.
It is a great way to carry on from where you left off. It also synchronizes between your devices so it does not matter which device you used. Over on the right of the screen it shows you the date range and you can scroll up and down through it.
Developers need to enable their apps for TimeLine and so far it seems most of Microsoft’s apps have been updated. I have found it very handy and much more useful than the old task switcher.
Nearby Share is a way of sharing content between devices via Bluetooth. Once you have enabled the feature you can use the sharing icon in Windows and then it shared the document via Bluetooth. Its surprisingly simple and works well. For it to work both the machines will need the Redstone 4 update. It is a lot easier than emailing documents between devices or digging in a draw for an old memory stick!
Microsoft Edge has a received a lot of attention by Microsoft during the Redstone 4 development process. There are a lot of change and many of them around reading documents. Microsoft Edge has a new Hub and fluent design all the way through it. There is a tabbed design for the hub which makes it easier to locate the features you want.
Many of the changes are around reading. The EPUB and PDF reading features have been improved, the reading view is a lot clearer with new toolbars. This release has made reading PDFs and EPUB books a much improved experienced.
There are nice UI improvements in Settings, grouping together settings in to categories and employing the fluent design style. As Microsoft look to move away from the old the control panel interface they have brought Fonts into Settings.
The new Fonts setting gives you a preview of the fonts as well make Fonts available from the Microsoft Store.
With Redstone 4 Microsoft have applied fluent design many areas of the UI. The start menu as the new look, Microsoft Edge, Settings, Action Center and other areas have the new look. Microsoft started with the new look in the previous release and has continued with Redstone 4. There are fluent design touches all over, the start menu has the reveal effect, Action Center has the reveal (highlight) effect, and the calendar fly out has the effect as does many areas in Windows 10.
Windows Mixed Reality
For users of Windows Mixed Reality there is improved integration with StreamVR including haptic feedback in Stream apps. There is also a new virtual home in the form of the Skyloft, it’s a larger more modern looking environment and you can switch between the old Cliff House and new Skyloft. It is a great looking space and one I am going to be using interest of the Cliff House. A great improvement for games is haptic feedback on the motion controllers when playing StreamVR games, it’s a small change but really improves gaming.
Plus Microsoft have reduced the RAM usage when using SteamVR so players with lower spec graphics cards (like me) will see improved performance while using SteamVR apps and games. The performance of live preview to the desktop is much better as they have improved the video streaming.
The setup procedure has been improved so it can help sorting hardware issues out especially the detection of USB 3 controllers and video card detection. You can now take a photo by holding the Windows button and tapping the trigger on the motion controllers.
The on-screen keyboard ha the fluent design and now supports shape writing in wide mode. There is additional emoji support and a new full keyboard mode that has extra control buttons like Esc, Tab and FN buttons (this was US only in the previous release).
- A new high performance mode in the power settings
- New privacy controls
- New UWP options
- My People improvements
- Home group has been removed
How to get Redstone 4
Redstone 4 is welcome update to Windows 10 and while there aren’t any earth shattering new features the sum of the update makes it work updating. TimeLine is the standout feature and worth updating just for that.
Getting the update is as simple as going to Windows Update are checking for updates. When you get the update is dependent on the speed Microsoft release the update. If you are on a new Windows machine like a Surface Pro you should the update almost immediately.
If you want the update now you can follow my link to my how to guide.
What’s next for Windows 10? Well we know it’s going to be Redstone 5 which will include a new way of working with tabs called Sets (see my video of Windows 10 Sets in action) but apart from that we don’t know what new features are coming, we will find out soon.
Video – Redstone 4
Here is my look at some of my favourite features of Windows 10 Redstone 4.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.