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Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the Insider Preview Builds

By June 18, 2019 No Comments
windows-10-redstone-insider-preview-builds

When you heard the term Windows 10 Redstone, you probably thought that it was a new operating system, right? Well, in fact, it’s the just the name given to a series of Anniversary Updates that are meant to be installed on your Windows 10 system.

Redstone for Windows 10

The reason this is so important is that this is the first major upgrade launched for Windows 10 and has the build number 1603. There have been other iterations of these Redstone updates before. After that came the Creators Update and then the Fall Creators Update was also known as Redstone 2 and Redstone 3 respectively. We’ll explain each one in detail later.

The very first of these updates, aptly names Redstone 1 was launched in  August, 2016 and most of us know it by the more familiar Version 1607. Redstone 4 was released in April 2018 and was soon followed by Redstone 5 that came out in October that year.

Installing a Redstone Update

Redstone is very exclusive and in order to get them for your system, you have to register yourself with Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program. To do this, you first have to visit their website and go through these steps.

  • Register: Here you have to set up an account filled the most basic of details. You can do this for your work or home PC.
  • Install: Next you will be given a way to install Windows 10 Preview and is exploring it.
  • Engage: It is a trial or Beta version, so you’re expected to send in feedback to tell Microsoft how they could make Windows 10 even better.

Now, these are the basic steps you need to go through if you want these exclusive Redstone updates, but Windows Insider Program has three categories, as shown below.

Redstone Update Packages

Fast Ring: Here, your PC will get two to three new updates, usually within a month of installing the system. The test version that you install when you apply for the Fast Ring is mostly unstable and filled with bugs. The best part about it is that all new features, awesome application come to you first.

Slow Ring: PCs enrolled in the Slow Ring will only get one or two updates, but this test OS is much more stable than the one available to Fast Ring applications, and fewer bugs as well.

Preview Ring: The Test OS you install here is the most stable one yet and is the final Redstone build.

Progress with Redstone in 2019

The Redstone software development cycle at Microsoft had ended after they had released Build 17763 in October 2018, updating all licensed users to Windows 10 Version 1809. In this 1809 upgrade, users were given a new clipboard history. This allowed them to sync devices to their PC, so data saved to clipboard could be imported and exported. Next, the File Explorer was given a dark theme.

The other interesting upgrade was the integration of Smartphone features and easier installation of those features using the You Phone app. The app even got its own shortcut too and is compatible with Android 7.0 and up.

So it would be interesting to see what will happen with Windows 10 next. The upcoming big automatic updates will no longer have the name ‘Redstone’ but will instead be named after the date of launch and will resemble version numbers.

For example, the windows update that’s expected soon will be called 19H1, which translates to the first half of the year 2019, instead of just ‘Redstone 6’. And, later on, another 19H2 and finally a 20H1 feature update package will be launched.

It was made available to select users registered with Microsoft’s Skip Ahead program and had features that weren’t there in the First Ring program. The most obvious are these improvements made to the Narrator.

Scan Mode: Text selection, navigating and reading in the Scan Mode has been improved.

QuickStart: this now loads on the Welcome Page and even after the Narrator are loaded, so that the Narrator can detect and read from it as well.

Feedback: You can now send feedback about the Narrator using the key combination ‘Alt + F” and can be applied in both the Legacy and Standard layouts. Legacy allows you to use Narrator + E to do the same thing as well.

Key Commands: To move text you will now have to use Narrator + B and Narrator + E.

Narrator View Change: When switching between lines, paragraphs, and words, the reader will be able to call out what is highlighted in the Read Current Item more clearly.

Braille Script: Using the Braille display in Narrator has been enhanced.

Preview Builds ready for Windows 10 20H1

Released on June 12, 2019, this has lots of new features have been put into this updated package, starting with throttling options. These options let you optimize bandwidth so that your network won’t slow down when installing this build. Among several bug fixes, is a solution for very common Error 0x8007000E that was found when downloading this build, triggered by excess RAM consumption.

Popular applications like the Windows Ink Workspaces and Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 have been improved so that they don’t occupy as much of the screen as they used to.

Preview Builds ready for Windows 10 18912

Released on June 5, 2019, the build only has one significant improvement. This is made to the Narrator that can now read the title of web pages opened using a hyperlink or redirect. It does this before the page loads, so users can decide if they’d like to load the page or not.

It also addresses critical crash issues; one that was seen only when you load or access the Graphics Settings module under the Settings section. The other crash scenario took place when users tried launching the Settings Update icon through the taskbar.

Preview Builds ready for Windows 10 18898

This build added a new feature enhancement. One where you could the performance of each installed disk using the Task Manager. The other fix given in this build was to fix the explorer.exe file that crashed each time a recent build was added.

Conclusion:

Microsoft addresses every bug with each new build it offers. This is why users keep receiving so many notifications informing them about new patches. They are after all critical to keeping your Windows system running smoothly. When it comes to most people, they typically run the security and critical patches first without hesitation. The other optional and suggested updates come later and that is only if individuals require them.

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