Sometime in Spring 2017, Microsoft will release the fourth major version of Windows 10 for PCs. Currently codenamed “Redstone 2,” this release is still very much a mystery. But this article will collect the new features as we discover them and expand over time into a complete look at what’s new.
Note: This is somewhat arbitrary, I guess, but this article can be considered a follow-up to our Complete Guide to Windows 10, which will not be updated with version 1703 features. That said, my book Windows 10 Field Guide will be updated with 1703 features going forward, and these updates will be provided free to anyone who owns the book. –Paul
Improved upgrade experience. Now, when you uninstall in-box apps—like Mail, Maps, and the like—they will not be automatically reinstalled when you perform an OS upgrade.
Delivery Optimization improvements. Delivery Optimization debuted in Windows 10 version 1511, giving users the ability to download OS and app updates from other PCs on their local network. In version 1703, this capability is being expanded so that you can also download OS and app updates from other PCs on the Internet as well, and to allow updates to come from multiple sources, further speeding the delivery. It’s on by default, but you can disable this.
Blue Light. As Brad first reported back in September 2016, Microsoft is adding a new feature called Blue Light to Windows 10. This will allow “the users [to set the] desired target color temperature (in Kelvin) for blue light reduction.” The feature can “automatically [be] set based on sunrise and sunset.” So it will work like similar features on various mobile platforms.
Product education. Microsoft is expanding on the product education features that it provides in Windows 10—via the Get Started app and various pop-ups on the lock screen, desktop, and Action Center—with new notifications in File Explorer. “They’re designed to help customers by providing quick, easy information about things they can do or new features they can try to have a better experience with Windows 10,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar explained. The good news? You can opt out.
Snooze. Now, you can right-click on a tab in Microsoft Edge and choose a Snooze option. This “provides you with a way to set a Cortana reminder on the website you are viewing,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar explained. “People often keep tabs open in their browser indefinitely as a ‘to do’ list, and do not close those tabs until the action associated with that website is complete.” Now, you can simply be reminded about these sites at a later time.
Export Favorites. Now, you can export your Favorites from Microsoft Edge to an HTML file. Just select More (“…”) and then Settings and View favorites settings.
Send and receive text messages. You can now send and receive text (SMS/MMS) messages with the Skype Preview app. For this to work, you must be using Skype Preview as the default messaging app on your Windows 10 Mobile handset as well.
Ink support. You can now add Ink drawings or text on top of photos and save it as a still image or a video that shows the ink being drawn. The Windows Ink toolbar that appears includes a new calligraphy pen too.
Updated crop. The cropping tool has been updated.
Filters update. The number of available filters has been expanded.
Quick traffic check. Now, you can quickly check the traffic to work or home at any time by selecting the Traffic icon in the app bar.
App modes. The Maps app now respects your system theme setting and lets you manually choose between light and dark apps modes too.
Completely redesigned. The Camera app has been completely redesigned in this release. It also supports living images—previously available only on Mobile—and you can even press the spacebar to take a picture.
Sketchpad improvements. The Ink-enabled Sketchpad now features stencils, which combine the protractor and compass tools into a single tool that lets you easily draw an arc or circle of any size: You can resize it with a two-finger pinch gesture. The ruler is also updated so that the degree readout shows a numerical value of the angle.
Improved PIN entry. The PIN entry pad you see at sign-in will now let the number keys on your keyboard work even if the NUM LOCK key is disabled at the time.
Network authentication changes. Windows 10 configures networks as public by default, which can disrupt connectivity with other devices on your network, including NAS storage. To fix this, be sure to change the network type to private.
Updated Wi-Fi Settings. Now, when you disable Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Settings now lets you configure a time when it will automatically be turned back on. You can choose between Manually, In 1 Hour, In 4 Hours, and In 1 Day. Manually is the default.
Feedback Hub. The Feedback Hub now supports a dark app mode, and various improvements such as showing the original feedback author in feedback details, and a Settings page.
Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL has been updated to support Ubuntu version 16.04 (Xenial). And you can now launch Windows applications directly from a WSL command prompt.
Narrator. The Narrator app receives a number of updates, most of which can be categorized as fixes rather than functional updates.
Precision touchpad improvements. Those with precision touchpads will see much more fine-grained control over these devices, including extensive support for various multi-touch gestures, taps, and more.
USB Audio 2.0 support. Windows 10 version 1703 includes native support for USB Audio 2.0, with both playback and recording/capture capabilities.