Microsoft Adding New HDR and On-Screen Input Options to Windows 10

Windows Insiders can now try out the operating system's new HDR settings for non-HDR content along with new on-screen handwriting features.


Windows 10 users with monitors capable of displaying high dynamic range (HDR) content will soon have new settings that improve the quality of non-HDR visuals.

New in build number 17040 of the PC operating system, which is available now to members of the Windows Insider preview program, is the ability to adjust the brightness of standard dynamic range (SDR) content. The new option, labeled "Standard dynamic range white level" only appears on systems equipped with an HDR-compliant display.

Some user interface options have been rearranged, all part of a plan to tidy up Windows Settings. The Ease of Access section is now home to cursor thickness, touch feedback and pointer customization settings, wrote Dona Sarkar, a software engineer at Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, in a blog post.

Fans of the operating system's one-handed keyboard, specifically its SwiftKey-like "shape drawing" feature, can now swipe their way to full words and sentences on the standard "wide" keyboard. Users who would rather jot down their ideas now have new gestures that they can use in the system software's handwriting panel.

"Based on your feedback about gesture recognition, we've updated the insertion gesture (to add space between words or letters) to now be a small caret," said Sarkar. There's also a new way to enter text into apps that support the input method.

"We've added a new gesture so you can automatically commit your text and clear out the text in the handwriting panel. This gesture looks like a 90-degree angle bracketing the end of your text," revealed Sarkar. The panel has also been given a new button layout in Chinese (Simplified) mode.

Users who are concerned or merely curious about their Cortana usage histories now have a new informational resource at their disposal. In build 17040, Microsoft's virtual assistant allows users to revisit and manage their activity histories using new tools organized in the operating system's Privacy settings.

Joining the new features is a lengthy list of bug fixes.

Microsoft has apparently found and repaired a flaw in the operating system that caused PCs outfitted with AMD processors to crash. The software maker had previously blocked users with AMD-based systems from installing build 17035.

Narrator, an accessibility-enhancing feature that turns on-screen text into spoken audio, now works more reliably under certain conditions and a bug that caused a UWP (United Windows Platform) app to leave its drop-shadow effect behind after it was closed has been addressed.

Still, users may encounter other bugs. For example, certain game titles from Tencent can cause PCs running the 64-bit version of the operating system to crash.

Users attempting to log into a VPN (virtual private network) that displays a custom pop-up window may have trouble establishing a connection and some Cortana notifications may fail to materialize. Microsoft has also discovered a bug that may cause the OneDrive Files on Demand feature to fail to connect to their cloud storage accounts while using some third-party antivirus software.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...