After confirming in late August that the sixth feature update for Windows 10 would be known as the October 2018 Update, Microsoft has revealed at an event in New York that this latest update for Windows 10 is beginning to roll out to customers. The feature set for this update was locked down in early August and the final version of the update, Build 17763, has been in the Fast and Slow testing rings for the last two weeks, so we have a very clear idea of the key features in this release. Interestingly, Microsoft never released this final build into their Release Preview ring for final testing by that group of Windows Insiders.
This feature update, known over the last six months by its code name of Redstone 5, begins rolling out to devices today. Microsoft will use a combination of real-time user feedback and telemetry to update your Windows 10 device when the data shows your upgrade experience will be solid. Otherwise, if you go to Windows Update and manually check it should begin downloading for your system.
If you are an advanced user, you can use the Media Creation Tool to build your own installation media for the October 2018 Update as well for offline installation.
Here are some of the highlighted features that will be available in this update of Windows 10.
If you move between multiple devices this feature allows easy access to text and images you place in the clipboard from one device to another. Initial reaction to this new feature is concern about synching passwords that are copied between password managers and login dialogs since they are text-based.
Microsoft has thought of this by adding an option to not automatically sync copied text in the new Clipboard Settings page. You will be able to manually sync those items from the new Cloud Clipboard dialog that is accessible using the WINDOWS + V keyboard shortcut.
Snip & Sketch
A new addition will eventually replace the popular Snipping Tool in Windows 10 and will combine a new app and snipping interface/toolbar.
You will be able to continue using the WINDOWS + PRINT SCREEN keyboard shortcut to grab the entire desktop and save that screenshot to your local storage. An additional setting, added to Windows Settings, lets you switch to a one button shortcut to open the new Snipping Toolbar interface. From this toolbar you can grab a snip from your screen using familiar options such as rectangular, freeform and full-screen snips. These snips are saved to the clipboard, but they are not saved to local storage until you open them in the Snip & Sketch app and save them.
Snip & Sketch and the Snipping Tool will both be available in the October 2018 Update. Microsoft’s goal is feature parity between the two methods before the Snipping Tool is deprecated.
As in past feature updates, this upcoming update for Windows 10 will include many enhancements to Microsoft’s Windows 10 web browser. The reason we only get Edge updates during the feature update cycle is because it is part of that process.
There have been some recent indicators that Microsoft may be preparing to separate Edge from the feature updates so that it can be updated more often. This will be a big move for Edge and allow it to more readily compete with Chrome and Firefox.
Until then, the new features and enhancements will trickle out every six months. This upcoming Edge release will include:
- Control of auto-play media with options to allow, limit or block them. This can be an overall setting or applied on a per-site basis.
- PDF files viewed in Edge will now appear in Timeline for easy recall/access after the fact.
- Learning Tools update for Books and Reading Views. This includes new themes, grammar tools to highlight different parts of speech and a dictionary function for highlighting and defining words in books and PDF files.
- Jump List added to the context menu for pinned Edge icons on the Start Screen and Taskbar.
- New consent dialog when Edge wants to save data you have entered in any web forms.
The EdgeHTML rendering engine is being updated to support more web standards and capabilities including growing PWA enhancements that were released with the April 2018 Update earlier this year.
Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) is coming to users running Windows 10 Pro on systems that support virtualization hardware capabilities. In the past this was only available to enterprise/business customers.
WDAG works in Edge and gives you a secure browser workspace that is separate and protected from the rest of your system. If your job requires browsing questionable websites for research, etc. then you will want to use this security enhancement.
There are many smaller changes coming to Windows 10 through the October 2018 Update including a dark themed File Explorer, a new Game Bar and Game Mode implementation, battery percentages for your connected Bluetooth devices, and more fluent design additions throughout the OS user interface.
In addition, several inbox apps have been updated over the course of this development cycle so those will be available to users once they upgrade to the October 2018 Update. There are also new apps including Your Phone that extends access to your smartphone camera roll and SMS messaging on Android devices. The service is expected to come for iOS soon.
We will have further coverage of the Microsoft October event and for the October 2018 Update in the coming days.
Editor's note: We are featuring portions of a past Q&A from Richard Hay. “Ask @Winobs” is available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Hay is writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.