As we reported earlier this week, Microsoft has debuted Redstone 5 for the first time. The autumn release of Windows 10 is now available to Windows Insider as Preview Build 17604 on the Skip Ahead branch. The update was released the same day as the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17101.

The latter build is a Redstone 4 preview available to all members, significant because it brought with it the Windows App Preview Program. However, Redstone 5 is the big news here as Microsoft is now letting users test features that are still far from being released.

Microsoft is expected to finalize Windows 10 Redstone 4 next month as its spring 2018 update. These days, the company released Windows updates twice yearly with new features. The platform is then supplemented through monthly security and improvement patches. Redstone 5 will be the second feature update of 2018.

Skip Ahead was launched last year, but only to select Insiders. Microsoft later opened it up to all preview users. It allows Insiders to jump forward in branches and preview features and builds in very early developmental stages.

Preview Build 17101 is fairly boring as Microsoft is finalizing Redstone 4 with tweaks. However, Preview Build 17604 for Redstone 5 is interesting, especially for Insiders who want to experiment. At this stage, any previews on Redstone 5 will be in very early development and won’t work in some cases.

For an extra experimental kick, Microsoft debuted the Windows App Preview Program today. It allows users to get early access to Microsoft app previews without needing the Skip Ahead branch. We suggested earlier this week that it could be a separate program, but that is not the case.

What’s new in Build 17101 & Build 17604

Input Improvements

Emoji design updates: Based on your feedback and to improve consistency, we’ve made adjustments to the design of some of our emoji.

Emoji search comes to more languages: Earlier in RS4, we updated the Emoji Panel to support browsing and picking emoji in many new locales. With today’s build, we’re bringing search support to more locales too! Now you can find an emoji by keyword in over 150 locales, including English (Great Britain), French (France), German (Germany), Spanish (Spain), and more. This will help you get the emoji you want easily and quickly. As a reminder, to bring up the Emoji Panel set focus to a text field and press WIN + (period) or WIN + (semicolon).

Windows App Permissions

UWP File System Access: With this build we’re giving you more control so you can now decide which UWP apps can access your full file system. Particular UWP apps will be granted permission to have broad file system access. This capability will be granted on a per app basis by Microsoft. If a UWP app has the broad file system access restricted capability, you will receive a consent dialog prompting you to accept or deny the request. If at any time you change your mind about the decision, you can go to Settings > Privacy where you’ll find a new Settings page for File System Access. On this page, you can turn access on or off globally, and if it’s on you can also turn it on or off for each app that has requested the capability. UWPs with broad file system access will not appear in the Photos, Videos, or Documents privacy settings pages. If you grant broad file system access, this includes Photos, Videos and Documents.

New features for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Last year, as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s update, we announced a new edition of Windows designed for demanding mission critical scenarios targeting advanced users. As part of RS4, we are adding two more features for our most advanced users running these mission critical scenarios:

A new power scheme – Ultimate Performance: Demanding workloads on workstations always desire more performance. As part of our effort to provide the absolute maximum performance we’re introducing a new power policy called Ultimate Performance. Windows has developed key areas where performance and efficiency tradeoffs are made in the OS. Over time, we’ve amassed a collection of settings which allow the OS to quickly tune the behavior based on user preference, policy, underlying hardware or workload.

This new policy builds on the current High-Performance policy, and it goes a step further to eliminate micro-latencies associated with fine grained power management techniques. The Ultimate Performance Power plan is selectable either by an OEM on new systems or selectable by a user. To do so, you can go to Control Panel and navigate to Power Options under Hardware and Sound (you can also “run” Powercfg.cpl). Just like other power policies in Windows, the contents of the Ultimate Performance policy can be customized.

As the power scheme is geared towards reducing micro-latencies it may directly impact hardware; and consume more power than the default balanced plan. The Ultimate Performance power policy is currently not available on battery powered systems.

We’ll continue to tune and evaluate the power plan settings. To submit feedback please use the Feedback Hub and file your feedback under Power & Battery > Setting category.

Productivity focused out of box applications: In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the out of box experience for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations draws from the Pro edition of Windows 10. One area where this is noticeable is the suite of applications installed out of the box visible as tiles in the start menu. In the next release for Windows, you will see for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations productivity and enterprise focused applications in place of consumer applications and games. This was one of the top feedback shared with us by our partners and users and we’re delivering this in our next update.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC (Build 17101)

  • We fixed an issue from the last flight were some PCs failed to resume from hibernate (requiring a hard reboot to recover).
  • We fixed an issue resulting in 3 and 4 finger gestures on the touchpad being unresponsive in the last two flights.
  • We fixed an issue after upgrading to the last flight where Start didn’t work for Insiders who’d had HomeGroup added as a folder to appear on Start.
  • We’ve updated the touch keyboard so that if you try to shapewrite in an unsupported text field or when the typing resources aren’t installed, you won’t see the shapewriting trail as you swipe your finger over the keys.
  • We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard showed an English layout with no IME on/off key when an East Asian keyboard is the only input method on your system.
  • We fixed an issue where if you install a font product from the Microsoft Store, then later install a new build (feature update), the Store package will remain installed, but the fonts within the package are not installed. Until this is fixed, the temporary workaround is to uninstall the product from the Apps page in Settings, then re-acquire the product from the Store.
  • We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard might stop invoking automatically after locking the PC and then unlocking the PC by using the touch keyboard to enter your PIN or password.
  • We fixed an issue where the Japanese IME sometimes wouldn’t turn on correctly.
  • We fixed an issue where the floating dictation UI could be unexpectedly tiny.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in the mouse cursor suddenly jump to screen corner while mouse was moving in a List Control.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in tabs hanging and not loading content recently in Microsoft Edge after using the browser for a few days with an adblocker enabled.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in newly installed Microsoft Edge extensions not appearing in the Extensions pane in the last two flights.
  • We fixed an issue in Microsoft Edge where favicons in light theme were unexpectedly getting black backgrounds.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in UWP apps sometimes launching as small white rectangular boxes.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in certain fingerprint readers not working in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue where Windows Hello failed to work on Surface Laptops with the last build.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in the labels for files on the desktop overlapping their icons.
  • We’re updating the “Advanced graphics settings” link on the Display Settings page to now just say “Graphics Settings”.
  • When your volume is muted, the volume icons in the Sound Settings page will also now appear muted.
  • If you click the Reset button on the App volume and device preferences page, it will now also reset any app specific volumes you’ve set back to default (100%).
  • We fixed an issue resulting in app updates failing in the Microsoft Store with error 0x80070057 in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in app updates failing in the Microsoft Store with error 0x803FB005 in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where bringing up Game bar using the Xbox button on an Xbox One controller didn’t work in some games.
  • We fixed an issue where in the text box for the Mixer stream title using non-character keys (e.g. Tab, Delete, Backspace, etc.) might cause the game to hang for a few seconds.
  • We fixed an issue where keyboard and mouse input might not work correctly in the Game bar when playing a first person game (e.g. Minecraft).
  • We fixed an issue where in some games—such as Destiny 2 and Fortnite—mouse and keyboard input would still go to the game while Game bar was open.
  • We fixed an issue during first shutdown/boot, or reboot, where for some users the device goes into a boot loop and the OS never loads.

Known issues (Build 17101)

  • We have observed seeing longer-than-normal delays during install at the 88% mark. Some delays are as long as 90 minutes before moving forward. Please be patient as the install will complete successfully.
  • Plugging in an external optical drive (DVD) will cause an Explorer.exe crash.
  • Settings will crash if you open the Themes Settings page.
  • Buttons on Game bar are not centered correctly.
  • Selecting a notification after taking a screenshot or game clip opens the Xbox app’s home screen instead of opening the screenshot or game clip.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC (Build 17604)

  • We fixed an issue from the last flight were some PCs failed to resume from hibernate (requiring a hard reboot to recover).
  • We fixed an issue after upgrading to the last flight where Start didn’t work for Insiders who’d had HomeGroup added as a folder to appear on Start.
  • We’ve updated the touch keyboard so that if you try to shapewrite in an unsupported text field or when the typing resources aren’t installed, you won’t see the shapewriting trail as you swipe your finger over the keys.
  • Fixed an issue which may have caused a Microsoft Edge tab to crash after playing video when some extensions are enabled
  • We fixed an issue resulting in newly installed Microsoft Edge extensions not appearing in the Extensions pane in the last two flights.
  • We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard showed an English layout with no IME on/off key when an East Asian keyboard is the only input method on your system.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in the mouse cursor suddenly jump to screen corner while mouse was moving in a List Control.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in certain fingerprint readers not working in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue where Windows Hello failed to work on Surface Laptops with the last build.
  • We’re updating the “Advanced graphics settings” link on the Display Settings page to now just say “Graphics Settings”.
  • When your volume is muted, the volume icons in the Sound Settings page will also now appear muted.
  • If you click the Reset button on the App volume and device preferences page, it will now also reset any app specific volumes you’ve set back to default (100%).
  • We fixed an issue resulting in app updates failing in the Microsoft Store with error 0x80070057 in recent builds.

Known issues (Build 17604)

  • 3 and 4 finger gestures on the touchpad are unresponsive.
  • The Japanese IME sometimes can’t turn on in UWP apps. If you encounter this issue switch to a Win32 application (e.g. Notepad), turn the IME on there, then switch back to the UWP app.
  • Plugging in an external optical drive (DVD) will cause an Explorer.exe crash.
  • Bringing up Game bar using the Xbox button on an Xbox One controller doesn’t work in some games.
  • In the text box for Mixer stream title, using non-character keys (e.g. Tab, Delete, Backspace, etc.) may cause the game to hang for a few seconds.
  • Selecting a notification after taking a screenshot or game clip opens the Xbox app’s home screen instead of opening the screenshot or game clip.
  • In some games—such as Destiny 2 and Fortnite—mouse and keyboard input will still go to the game while Game bar is open.
  • Buttons on Game bar are not centered correctly.
  • Keyboard and mouse input may not work correctly in Game bar when playing a first person game (e.g. Minecraft). Alt + Tab out of and into the game should fix this.
  • Settings will crash if you open the Themes Settings page.