Windows 10 October 2018 update: everything you need to know | Computing

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SwiftKey now powers the predictive elements of Microsoft’s 10 virtual keyboard

Microsoft bought the British AI-powered mobile keyboard app SwiftKey in 2016. Now it’s bringing the firm’s smart keyboard predictive text systems to Windows 10. Using AI and machine learning, the keyboard’s autocorrect and next-word prediction should be dramatically improved in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian.

Cloud-powered clipboard

Ever wanted to copy text from one PC to another? No, me neither, but you can now with Cloud Clipboard, using the same technology that underpins the Timeline syncing feature. The clipboard has also been enhanced with history and the ability to pin frequently pasted items, which can be synced across machines too.

Hitting Win key + V will bring up the new experience ready to paste text, code or images under 1MB from the history.

157 new emoji

Alongside 157 new emoji, some of Microsoft’s old favourites have been updated, including ninja cat.


Alongside 157 new emoji, some of Microsoft’s old favourites have been updated, including ninja cat. Photograph: Microsoft

It’s hard keeping up with the ever increasing amounts of emoji. The 2018 comes with support for Unicode 11 and 157 new emoji, including superheroes, redheads, a pirate flag and a llama.

Some of Microsoft’s existing emoji have been tweaked too, including its range of ninja cat emoji. Nice . Hit Win key + the full stop key to bring up the emoji panel.

Better search

Microsoft continues to improve Windows 10’s built-in search and Cortana functionality.


Microsoft continues to improve Windows 10’s built-in search and Cortana functionality. Photograph: Microsoft

Microsoft has improved the way search works on Windows. Now there are big previews of files, documents, emails, contacts and other bits, a list of recently accessed files when you search for Word or another app, and “Pick where you left off” section to get right back into it.

3D models and Inking in Word and PowerPoint

If your Word docs and PowerPoint presentations weren’t already littered with enough pictures and animations, now you can embed 3D animations, AI-powered Smart Art and hand-drawn scribbles if you have a stylus.

Block auto-playing video in Edge

Stop video auto-playing in Microsoft Edge, presuming you’re still using Edge.


Stop video auto-playing in Microsoft Edge, presuming you’re still using Edge. Photograph: Microsoft

Lots of things have changed for Microsoft’s Edge browser, but the most useful is probably the ability to prevent sites automatically playing video. There’s also a new dictionary look-up function, improvements to PDF handling and support for the Web Authentication API (for using biometric and security key logins).

Death of the Snipping Tool

The long-standing Snipping Tool is marked for death.


The long-standing Snipping Tool is marked for death. Photograph: Microsoft

The long-standing built-in screenshot app, Snipping Tool, is being phased out to be replaced by the Snip & Sketch app downloaded from the Microsoft Store. Snipping Tool will still be available for a bit, but Microsoft says its days are numbered.

Instead Microsoft is adding some new shortcuts, including Win Key + Shift + S to trigger a new screenshot toolbar, a new Action Centre button for screenshots and the ability to map the long-standing Print Screen key to Snip & Sketch.

Still, this feels like the death of MS Paint all over again.

Faster and more considerate updates

From causing your machine to grind to a halt or actually rebooting right when you need it, updates to Windows can be a nightmare.

The new Windows 10 October 2018 update is meant to help stop these kinds of annoyances by being up to 31% faster to update, 40% smaller to download, and now being smarter about when to actually install the updates.

Microsoft says it’s new “intelligent reboot scheduling“ will use AI to work out when you’re really not using your machine, outside of set active hours and when not on battery power, and only install updates then. Generally that’ll mean when you plug it in at night, and it will even mute sounds if it reboots so not to wake your household up.

Better privacy controls

Windows 10 users will now have more granular control over what data Microsoft can use for things like problem solving and product updates. Each user account on the machine can set different privacy controls, activity history can be excluded and speech and dictation data has been split from typing and inking personalisation.

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