Complete Guide to Windows 10 Version 1703

Posted on October 20, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 18 Comments

Complete Guide to Windows 10 Version 1703

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.

File Explorer

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.

Microsoft Edge

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.

Skype Preview

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.

Windows Ink

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.


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  1. 1 | Reply
    Bart Alpha Member #117 - 2 months ago

    Am awaiting the updated Skype for Android app to make use of the SMS/MMS messaging. Any news anyone?

    1. 1 | Reply
      LordPhantom Alpha Member #2445 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Bart:

      Is that happening? I've started thinking about a post windows mobile world, and that is one feature I am keen to retain. Ppl are always SMS'ing me and it's so much faster when I'm at my computer to belt out a reply in Skype than try to type it out on the phone.

  2. 0 | Reply
    Winkey Alpha Member #2502 - 2 months ago

    Do we already know what features are being removed from the Pro version with this release?

  3. 0 | Reply
    Siv Alpha Member #451 - 2 months ago

    When are they implementing the Windows Update delta capability so that it just updates the difference between 1607 and 1703? For me this is a must as downloading 3GB files when we get a major update seems pointless if this capability is possible?

  4. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

    Single best thing about RS2 Insider builds is that they don't keep reinstalling previously uninstalled bundled apps. I don't have a 3D printer, and I have no interest in 3D Builder, so it had been annoying to have to uninstall it in every new insider build.

    I realize it's very, very early in its development, but the UWP File Explorer in its current form is very underpowered.

  5. 0 | Reply
    mebby Alpha Member #219 - 2 months ago

    So Blue Light is similar to f.lux which I use on my Desktop PC?

    1. 0 | Reply
      LordPhantom Alpha Member #2445 - 2 months ago
      In reply to mebby:

      Yep. I use it too. It'll be nice to have it baked into the O/S, and have one less thing I have to install and have running.

  6. 0 | Reply
    wbhite Alpha Member #120 - 2 months ago

    I still don't understand why these updates to individual apps (e.g. Edge, Photos and Maps) aren't happening via the Store, instead of being bundled as part of an OS update.

    1. 3 | Reply
      Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 2 months ago
      In reply to wbhite:

      They ARE happening via the Store, it just happens that Microsoft updates Fast Ring first so users can test them before sending them to production builds. Check your Maps app now, you'll see you can use dark maps already.

    2. -1 | Reply
      JerryH Alpha Member #248 - 2 months ago
      In reply to Demileto:

      Edge has not updated via the store as of yet. MS still claims that it will some day. But as of right now, Edge has only updated via OS builds. Maps and Photos - as you say, have updated via the store.

    3. 0 | Reply
      evox81 Alpha Member #1939 - 2 months ago
      In reply to wbhite:

      They are happening via the store, however some of them are tied to the OS version. For example, if a new feature in one of the apps you mentioned requires an OS-level change, it won't be available from the store until you upgrade to the latest version of the OS. Otherwise, excluding Edge, these apps are updated (in rings) through the store.

  7. 0 | Reply
    Lewk Alpha Member #958 - 2 months ago

    I'll bet we see a new build from an entirely new branch next week at the Windows event with more new features. If they do show one, i hope we get it on the insider program the same day.

  8. 0 | Reply
    RickEveleigh Alpha Member #1566 - 2 months ago

    Is NUB LOCK a new feature? ;-)