What’s New in Windows 10’s Redstone 5 Update, Available Fall 2018 | Tech News
Windows 10’s Redstone 5 update is scheduled for release in Fall, 2018. This major upgrade includes a clipboard history that syncs between your devices and a long-awaited dark theme for File Explorer. It was originally set to bring tabs to all your applications, but that feature may not make the cut.
Delayed: “Sets” Brings Tabs to Every App
The new Sets feature was the biggest change in Redstone 5. Almost every window on your desktop now had a tab bar, and you could combine tabs from multiple different applications in the same window.
This means Windows finally had File Explorer tabs, but Sets offered a lot more than that. For example, you could have a window containing a Microsoft Word document, a Microsoft Edge web page, and a File Explorer tab. You could drag and drop these tabs between windows, and there are keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Windows+Tab for switching between them.
Sets works with almost every traditional desktop application, every universal application, and even Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Desktop applications that have their own custom title bars don’t support Sets. For example, applications like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, iTunes, and Steam don’t have Sets tabs.
Unfortunately, this feature was removed from build 17704, which was released on June 27, 2018. Microsoft wants more time to polish Sets and says it will return in a future update, so it’s unclear whether Sets will make the stable Redstone 5 update—but it probably won’t. Expect to see it in Redstone 6, which will likely be released in Spring, 2019, instead.
Delayed: Alt+Tab Now Shows Tabs, Too
Along with the introduction of the Sets feature, Microsoft also changed the way Alt+Tab works. Sets tabs and even Microsoft Edge browser tabs appear alongside your open windows when you press Alt+Tab. You can restore the old Alt+Tab behavior if you want to see only windows when you Alt+Tab.
This change doesn’t affect applications like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, which use their own custom type of tab. However, if Chrome and Firefox ever enable support for Sets tabs, their tabs would appear in the Alt+Tab switcher, too.
As Sets has been removed for the time being, Alt+Tab will no longer show tabs until it returns.
Clipboard History and Sync
Redstone 5 gains some powerful new clipboard features, as well. There’s now a clipboard history that you can access by pressing Windows+V. You can optionally synchronize this clipboard history between your devices, giving you a clipboard that synchronizes itself between your PCs. You also can sync manually by clicking an icon in the clipboard popup, preventing Windows from synchronizing potentially sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers.
In the future, Microsoft will add support for the cloud clipboard to its SwiftKey keyboard for Android, iPhone, and iPad. You’ll be able to copy and paste between your phone or tablet and your Windows PC.
A Dark Theme for File Explorer
Microsoft has added dark theme support to the File Explorer context menus, including the context menu that appears when you right-click your desktop. There’s also a new dark theme for the standard Open and Save file dialog windows.
SwiftKey Comes to Windows 10
Microsoft purchased the SwiftKey keyboard back in 2016. SwiftKey is still available for Android phones, iPhones, and iPads, and it’s now coming to Windows 10.
The built-in touch keyboard is now “powered by” SwiftKey. Currently, this is only available when typing in English (United States), English (United Kingdom), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Portuguese (Brazil), and Russian.
As Microsoft puts it, “SwiftKey gives you more accurate autocorrections and predictions by learning your writing style.” It also offers swipe-to-type support, letting you type by swiping your finger from letter to letter rather than tapping each letter.
Search Previews in the Start Menu
The Start menu’s search feature, also known as the Cortana search feature, now has search previews. When you start typing to search for something, Windows now shows you a preview pane with more information about your result.
For example, if the Start menu decides a web search is the best result for your search, you’ll see Bing search results right there in the Start menu. If you search for an application, you’ll see options like “Pin to Start” for that application. You’ll also see a document preview if Windows decides a particular document on your PC is the best result.
When you search for an application, you’ll see a “Go To Download” button in the search preview pane that will take you straight to its download page.
Along with this change, it’s no longer possible to disable web search in the Start menu via Group Policy.
A New Screenshot Utility With Annotation Tools
Windows 10 now has a slick new screen clipping tool. You can use it to take a screenshot of a section of your screen, a single window, or your entire screen. Once you’ve taken a screenshot, the new Screen Sketch tool lets you draw on it and add annotations, including arrows and highlights.
This clipping tool appears when you press Windows+Shift+S to open it. However, there’s a setting under Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard that makes the new tool appear when you press the Print Screen key on your keyboard.
If you launch the old Snipping Tool instead, you’ll see a message saying the “Snipping Tool will be removed in a future update.” Microsoft is currently not planning to remove the Snipping Tool in Redstone 5, but it may be removed in Redstone 6.
Microsoft Edge Browser Updates
Microsoft has done a bunch of work on Edge, too. Edge’s “…” menu and Settings page have been redesigned. The new menu gives common commands like “New Tab” and “New Window” larger buttons, and the new Settings page is broken up into categories so it’s easier to find specific settings.
Edge now features a “Media Autoplay” option under Settings > Advanced, as well. You can control which websites are allowed to automatically play videos. “Allow” is the default, and lets websites play videos when you view a tab. “Limit” only lets sites play muted videos so you won’t be surprised by sound. “Block” blocks autoplaying videos on sites until you interact with the media content.
The Edge browser interface gets some other useful features, too. You can now see your top sites in the “jump list” that appears when you right-click the Edge shortcut on your taskbar or in your Start menu. In the “Tabs you’ve set aside” view, accessible by clicking the button at the top left corner of the Edge window, you can now assign labels to groups of saved tabs. In the download pane, you can right-click downloads to find options like “Show in folder” and “Copy link.”
Web Authentication support has come to Edge, which will allow the use of FIDO U2F security keys and other authentication hardware while signing into websites. Hopefully, these will one day be able to eliminate passwords.
Edge has also been updated with more “fluent design” touches, and now features a tweaked tabbed bar with a new depth effect. When you use Edge as your default PDF viewer, you’ll also see a new icon for PDF files in File Explorer. The new icon just has a red “PDF” logo on it and doesn’t include a blue Edge logo, as the previous one did.
Finally, the Edge browser now has a new “Beta” logo in Insider builds of Windows 10, calling attention to the fact that you’re using an unstable version of Edge.
Mobile Broadband Improvements
Microsoft is transitioning to a new “Net Adapter” driver framework in Windows. This will improve connection reliability for PCs with mobile broadband (LTE,) whether they use a SIM card or USB modem.
This new driver is now the default driver as of build 17677, improving how Windows handles mobile data Internet connections.
For PCs with a cellular data connection, the Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage screen now shows the amount of data you’ve used while roaming, too. This doesn’t require the new driver.
Hidden Window Borders and More Acrylic Design
Microsoft is now downplaying Windows 10’s window borders. Instead of colored window borders, you’ll now see gray window borders that fade gracefully into each window’s shadows. However, you can still re-enable colored window borders if you want a bit more color.
This visual change is part of Microsoft’s new “fluent design” graphical style, which it has been slowly implementing throughout Windows 10 since the Fall Creators Update. You’ll see more acrylic-style Fluent design throughout Windows, including in the Windows Security application, in the Timeline, and on the Sets tab bar.
Mail Ignores Your Default Browser
Microsoft is now “testing a change” that makes the Mail app open links in the Microsoft Edge browser, even if you’ve made Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser instead the default browser you choose.
This is just part of a larger trend that sees Microsoft pushing Edge throughout Windows. For example, links you click in the Start menu’s search feature already always open in Microsoft Edge. You can use third-party software to trick Windows into opening Chrome or another browser instead.
Windows Defender Becomes Windows Security
The Windows Defender Security Center application is now named simply “Windows Security.” Under Virus & Threat Protection, the “Current Threats” section now shows all the potential threats that need action, if any do.
Under Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection > Manage Settings, you can now enable a “Block Suspicious Behaviors” option. Microsoft says this will enable the Windows Defender Exploit Guard “attack surface reduction technology,” which will help protect your PC from exploits.
If you use the Controlled Folder Access feature to protect your files from ransomware, it’s now easier to allow recently blocked apps access to your files. Head to Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection > Manage Settings > Ransomware Protection > Allow an App Through Controlled Folder Access > Recently Blocked Apps to see recently blocked apps and quickly give them access.
There’s also a new page that will show you other antivirus, antimalware, firewall, and security apps on your device. Head to Windows Security > Settings > Manage Providers to see them. From here, you can easily open their associated apps or view information about reported problems.
Font Installation for Everyone
Older versions of Windows only let users with administrative privileges install fonts, and those fonts were then installed for all users system-wide. Redstone 5 improves on this and gives everyone the ability to install fonts. When you right-click a font file in File Explorer, you can select either “Install” to install it just for your user account or “Install for All Users” to install it for all users on the system. Only the latter option requires Administrator permission.
While viewing a font file’s preview after double-clicking it, the “Install” button will now install the font only for the current user.
Power Usage Details in the Task Manager
The Windows Task Manager now includes two new columns on the main Processes tab. These columns are designed to help you understand which apps and services on your system are consuming the most power. They take into account CPU, GPU, and disk usage activity to estimate how much power each process is using, which will tell you how bad each process is for your battery life.
The “Power Usage” column shows a process’s current power usage at this moment. The “Power Usage Trend” column shows power usage over the last two minutes so you can see processes that use a lot of power, even if they aren’t using it at the moment. You can sort by each column to see your most power-hungry processes.
Make Text Bigger
Windows 10 lets you increase text size across the entire system, including in the Start menu, File Explorer, and in the Settings app.
To do so, head to Settings > Ease of Access > Display. Adjust the “Make everything bigger” slider to increase text to your desired size.
New Game Bar Features
The Game Bar, which was redesigned in the April 2018 Update, has some useful new features. It contains built-in audio controls that let you choose your default audio output device or control the volume of other applications on your system.
It also offers performance visualization features, so you can see your game’s frames per second (FPS), CPU usage, GPU VRAM usage, and system RAM usage over time.
There’s also a “Dedicate resources” toggle in the Game Bar. This enables a new Game Mode option that will improve game performance on PCs with many background tasks running.
Wireless Projection Controls
While projecting your screen wirelessly, you’ll now see a bar at the top of your screen—just like when using Remote Desktop. This bar shows that you’re connected and provides an easy way to disconnect or reconnect.
Windows has several “modes” you can enable while wirelessly projecting, too. In “Game” mode, screen latency is minimized to make for an improved gaming experience while wirelessly projecting. In “Video” mode, screen latency is increased to ensure the video plays back smoothly. “Productivity” mode is the default, and provides a balance of latency to ensure typing appears responsive and that there aren’t too many graphical glitches while playing videos.
Skype Gets a Big Update
The Skype for Windows 10 application gets a big update, including customizable themes, a new layout for your contacts, and the ability to customize the group call “canvas,” dragging people around to choose who you want to see on the screen. Microsoft has also made it easier to start sharing your screen during calls.
Notepad Supports Linux and Mac Line Endings
Notepad finally supports UNIX-style end of line (EOL) characters. Specifically, Notepad now supports UNIX/Linux line endings (LF) and Mac line endings (CR.) This means you can take a text file created on Linux or Mac and open it in Notepad—and it will actually look like it’s supposed to! Previously, the file would look all jumbled up, instead.
You can even edit the file in Notepad and save it, and Notepad will automatically use the appropriate line endings the file originally had. Notepad will still create files with the Windows line ending (CRLF) by default. The status bar shows which type of line endings are used for the current file, if you enable it by clicking View>Status Bar.
Copy and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts for Bash
The Windows Subsystem for Linux runs Bash and other command-line Linux shell environments based on Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and Debian on Windows. If you use Bash on Windows, you’re getting a feature many people have been asking for: keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste.
You can now right-click a console window’s title bar and select “Properties” to find an option that enables Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V for copy and paste. These keyboard shortcuts are disabled by default for compatibility reasons.
These keyboard shortcuts are available in all console environments, but they’re particularly useful in Linux-based shell environments where the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V shortcuts are mapped to other functions and don’t function as copy and paste.
Launch a Linux Shell From File Explorer
You can now directly launch a Linux shell in a specific folder from File Explorer. To do so, hold down the Shift key, and then right-click a folder inside File Explorer. You’ll see an “Open Linux shell here” option next to the standard “Open PowerShell window here” option.
Search With Bing in Notepad
Notepad now has a “Search with Bing” feature—why not?
To use it, select some text in a Notepad document, and then either click Edit > Search With Bing or press Ctrl+B.
Diagnostic Data Viewer Improvements
Microsoft first introduced the Diagnostic Data Viewer in Windows 10’s April 2018 Update. It must be installed through the Microsoft Store, but shows exactly what diagnostic and telemetry data Windows 10 is sending to Microsoft’s servers.
In Redstone 5, the Diagnostic Data Viewer now also shows “Problem Reports.” These are generated when applications crash or experience another issue, and give Microsoft—or the application’s developer—information they might need to fix the problem. You can see information about when the problem report was created, when it was sent, and what application caused the problem.
The Diagnostic Data Viewer application now has some additional filtering features you can use to sort through the diagnostic data, too.
More Useful Features and Interesting Changes
As usual, Microsoft has made a quite a few smaller changes, improvements, and fixes to Windows 10. Here are some of the most interesting ones:
- Bluetooth Battery Levels in Settings: You’ll now see Bluetooth battery percentages on the Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & Other Devices screen. This only works with devices that support this feature—like Microsoft’s own Surface Pen, for example. You will also see a notification when one of these devices is low on battery power.
- Privacy Notifications: If your privacy settings block access to your microphone in an app, you’ll see a pop up notification informing you of this. This notification only appears the first time an app is stopped from accessing your microphone.
- Focus Assist Improvements: Focus Assist now turns on automatically to reduce your interruptions when you’re playing any full-screen game. Previously, this feature only supported full-screen DirectX games.
- Adjust Video Based on Lighting: There’s a new “Adjust video based on lighting” option under Apps > Video Playback. When enabled, Windows 10 uses your device’s brightness sensor to automatically adjust video playback to make it more visible based on the lighting around you. For example, it may make dark scenes brighter if you’re watching in a very bright room.
- Storage Sense Improvements: Windows can now automatically remove OneDrive “files on demand” you haven’t opened in a while from your PC to free up space. They’ll be re-downloaded when you try opening them again. To enable this, head to Settings > System > Storage, enable Storage Sense, click “Change how we free up space automatically,” and choose when you want to remove OneDrive files under “Locally available cloud content.”
- Sound Settings: The Settings > Sound screen now has a “Device properties” link for renaming your sound devices and selecting spatial sound settings.
- HEIF Editing Support: You can now rotate HEIF images and edit their metadata in File Explorer after installing HEIF support via the Store. Just-right click an image, and then select “Rotate right” or “Rotate left” to rotate it. Metadata is available by right-clicking an image, selecting the “Properties” command, and then clicking the Details tab.
- Safe Removal for External GPUs: There’s now a “safe remove experience” for external GPUs connected to your PC via Thunderbolt 3. The “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” for ejecting drives now shows external graphics processing hardware, too. Select the GPU to eject it. If any applications are currently using your GPU and it can’t be safely disabled, you’ll be informed which applications you need to close before trying again—just like when safely removing USB drives.
- Post-Update Setup: After updating, you’ll now see a new setup screen that provides information about new features in Windows and options you may want to configure.
- Local Settings: You can now head to Settings > Time & Language > Region and override different regional settings like your preferred currency, calendar, first day of the week, and date format.
- Language Pack Installation: Language packs from the Store can now be installed by heading to Settings > Time & Language > Language > Add a Windows Display Language With Local Experience Packs.
- Search in the Calendar: You can now search for events in the Calendar app. Yes, for some reason, the Calendar app didn’t yet have a search feature. Unfortunately, search only works for Outlook, Hotmail, Live, and Office 365 accounts. It doesn’t work with Exchange Server, Gmail, Yahoo, or any other IMAP calendars.
- Typing Insights: Windows uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help autocomplete words and correct spelling—when you type with the touch keyboard, for example. You can now view information about this from Settings > Devices > Typing > View Typing Insights.
- Cortana Show Me: Microsoft has a new “Cortana Show Me” app. This isn’t installed by default at the moment, but you can install it and say things like “Cortana, show me how to update Windows” to have Cortana show you how to change various settings. If it works well, Microsoft might integrate this feature into Windows.
- Magnifier Improvements: There are now options under Settings > Ease of Access > Magnifier to keep your mouse centered on the screen. The magnifier has some new zoom levels and can zoom by 5% or 10%, too.
- Narrator Improvements: Narrator ships with a new keyboard layout designed for screen reader users. It also contains many new features, like the ability to search for text on your screen using the new Find feature.
- Narrator Quickstart: There’s a new “Quickstart” tutorial that appears when you start Narrator. It’s designed to teach you the basic of Narrator quickly.
- Mixed Reality Improvements: Microsoft has made many changes to its Mixed Reality virtual reality platform, including the ability to stream audio to both a Mixed Reality headset and PC speakers at the same time.
Other Geeky Changes
Here are some other improvements that only geeks, developers, and system administrators will need to know about:
- Firewall for Linux Processes: The Windows Defender Firewall can now define firewall rules for any Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) process, just as you can for Windows processes. For example, if you launch an SSH server or web server, you’ll see a firewall prompt asking if you want to open a port for outside connections—just as if you launched the same server on Windows.
- Protected Processes for Antivirus Software: Antivirus programs must now use a “protected process” to register themselves with the Windows Security Center. If they don’t, they won’t appear in the Windows Security user interface and the Windows Defender will stay enabled side-by-side with the antivirus software. This should encourage antivirus developers to adopt protected processes. Protected processes only allow trusted code to load and are better protected against attacks, so this will improve operating system security.
- Windows Defender Application Guard Improvements: The WDAG feature that allows users of Professional and Enterprise PCs to run Microsoft Edge in a protected container has been improved. It now launches faster. System administrators can also enable a Group Policy setting that will allow users of the protected Edge browser to download files to the host file system.
- Microsoft WebDriver Installation: The Microsoft WebDriver software for automated testing of websites in Microsoft Edge, is now installed via Windows 10’s “feature on demand” system. Head to Settings > Apps & Features > Manage Optional Features > Add a Feature to install it. It’s automatically installed when you enable Developer Mode, too. This means that Windows will make it easy to install the appropriate version for your device, and Windows will automatically keep it up to date.
- RSAT Installation: The Remote Server Administration Tools are now available as a “feature on demand,” too. They’re easy to install from the Settings app and will automatically be kept up-to-date by Windows.
We’ve heard rumors that Microsoft will allow any Windows 10 user to switch in and out of Windows 10’s S Mode in Redstone 5, but we haven’t seen that feature appear yet.
RELATED: What is Windows 10 in S Mode?
We’ll keep following Redstone 5’s development process to stay on top of all the new features and changes before its release sometime in Fall, 2018.
Microsoft said it was simplifying the naming process with Windows 10’s April 2018 Update. So, if Redstone 5 is released in October or November, we can probably expect the final name to be Windows 10’s October 2018 Update or November 2018 Update.