What is Redstone and how does it relate to Windows 10?

Understanding Windows new update system.

When Windows announced that they would not offer another OS, many people were skeptical. The company, which has had several versions of Windows would become obsolete unless they offered new updates and features. While the company has stated that the software will update, there has not been much focus as to how this will be done. Then came the August’s release of Redstone 4. But what is Redstone and how will it affect future Windows use?

What is Redstone?

Redstone is a builder program developed by windows users. The latest version, released in September is named Preview Build 16362. Essentially the building allows you to have features which are not standard in the “out of the box” version of Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. With the latest build (a fancy way of saying test update), the lock screen will now have status information from Cortana, Calendar, mail, and such. It is a bit puzzling to some who think that the lock screen was primarily designed to keep people away from such privy information. Of course, Microsoft states that those who wish to customize the material presented on the lock screen can do so in the Personalization portion of their settings.

Redstone goes beyond just adding applications and features, however. The program is essentially the brains of the OS system, working with the out of the box software to allow for more features, function, and optimization of the system.

So is it an upgrade?

The answer is yes and no. It is an upgrade in that it addresses the issues that have been found in Microsoft Edge, the Windows Shell, display resolution upgrades, gaming, connectivity, etc. The OS by all definitions is updated. Yet, it is a not considered an official upgrade to the Windows 10 OS because those who receive the Redstone updates are those who have opted for the Skip Ahead option. Yes, the features may, depending upon the results of the testing, be released as a platform update at a later time, but when they are first available to the public, they are considered to be experimental (meaning that if you opted to the skip ahead and the Redstone developments crash you system, you are out of luck getting support).

Redstone is considered to be part of the Poweshell for Windows 10. The unique thing about this is that if you upgrade the Windows on your devices, the shell works together with the other devices that you have. The cloud interactivity as well as the ability for Windows to scale to multiple devices. The new update to the PC is the connectivity of the Phone to the Windows 10 platform. The connectivity is now available on the lock screen.

What to expect?

While Microsoft is currently offering the Redstone builds for free for those that opted to have such skip ahead, it is predicted that in the future, these builds will be offered as a substitute to the traditional upgrade. Since the Redstone builds focus on specific features and enhancements, but do not necessarily limit those who do not use them, Microsoft could make these features an optional upgrade (they will have to do something to keep capital for their OS system). At this time, the builds can be either installed or bypassed through the updates panel on the systems menu.

What does this tell us about older systems?

Redstone and Powershell development is focusing only on Window 10. This means that the older OS systems are apt to be phased out. Additionally, as the redstone builds increase, support for specific features may require that the individual have certain packages installed. This would be much like the Service Package Updates that you have seen in the past. Instead of finding software that says that it is non-compatible unless you have SP3 from Windows, you are apt to see software which requires Redstone Build 16362 or later in order to run a program.

Too much too fast?

Those who are not familiar with Windows 10 may wish to start with the base program or with the Windows 10 pro before adding on all the features of the Redstone build. As the Redstone release adds a substantial amount of “optional” features and enhancements, those who are more accustom to the Windows 7, 98, or older platforms may find that getting one’s feet wet with the new interface and features is more beneficial then trying to figure out the multiple icons on the lock screen, the voice search and navigation, apps, and such all at once.

PC users who upgraded to Windows 10 when it was first released should be weary of too many developments too fast. Remember that this is test software. And while Microsoft is known for quality products, we cannot overlook that they have had some failures as well. The best thing to do is to await feedback on the builds before install to ensure they are stable enough for your system.