Windows 10’s Redstone 5 (version 1809) will be the sixth major release of the operating system set to deliver new features and enhancements. It’s also the second update part of the semi-annual release, and even though, we’re still a long way from the final release, Microsoft has already started working in the next version of Windows 10.
The software maker kicked off the Redstone 5 (RS5) development with Windows 10 build 17604 through the Skip Ahead option, but this particular test build doesn’t include new features as the team is preparing the code to start introducing new improvements in the near future.
Microsoft is expected to start rolling out Windows 10 version 1809 to all users some time in October 2018 following the semi-annual schedule. However, this timeframe can always change.
In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the new features and changes Microsoft is working for version 1809 as they become available through the Windows Insider Program. You can also follow the Redstone 5 development here, and you can also check all the changes for version 1803 in this guide.
- What’s new on desktop experience
- What’s new on Settings experience
- What’s new on input experience
- What’s new on system experience
- What’s new on Microsoft Edge
- What’s new on Windows Security
- What’s new on built-in apps
What’s new on desktop experience
You can also check out this walkthrough video with all the changes included in the most recent Windows 10 Insider Preview builds.
In this new feature update, it’s now possible to enable or disable hiding scrollbars on the Start menu using the Ease of Access settings, and you can now name your tile folders in the Start menu.
Up until now, preview in search you do from the Start menu only include preview for search results, but now, preview is expanding to apps, documents, and more.
According to Microsoft, the new search preview will help you to get back to recent documents, quickly start new tasks, disambiguate between files by seeing more info, and access quick answers from the web.
In addition, the search experience wider allowing you to access information and actions in the preview a lot faster.
The Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut now shows Microsoft Edge tabs in addition to apps. If you prefer the Alt + Tab shortcut to switch between apps only, then you can always go back to the old way enabling the “Pressing Alt + Tab shows the recently used” option in the Multitasking settings.
In Action Center, notifications appear with a fade in animation when opening the experience, and the notification to fix blurry apps now appears on Action Center once the toast has timed out and dismissed. Also, you’ll now see notifications for supported Bluetooth devices running low in battery.
In this new version, Windows 10 introduces a new dark theme for File Explorer and context menu that you can enable using the “Colors” page in the Personalization section of the Settings app.
Sets is a new feature that lets group related content (relevant web pages, research documents, necessary files, and applications) into tabs, just like tabs in a web browser.
The new feature works on Microsoft Store apps, such as Mail, Calendar, OneNote, MSN News, and Microsoft Edge, and classic most desktop apps, including File Explorer, Notepad, Command Prompt, and PowerShell that use a default and non-customized title bar. Also, you can now use Sets with Office 365 desktop apps (subscription required).
If you know how to use tabs on a web browser, then you already know how to use Sets on Windows 10. If the feature is enabled, you’ll notice a tab experience similar to Microsoft Edge in the top-right size of a window, which includes a “Previous tabs” button that allows you to restore projects that you were working in the past. You’ll see a close button, and button to create a new tab that will take you to the default page.
In the default tab page, you can use the unified search box to launch apps, documents, and web searches which will open in the new tab. You can drag an app tab around within the Set or combine tabbed app windows into Sets too.
Right-clicking a tab, you’ll find additional options, including “close other tabs”, “move to new window”, and “close tabs to the right”.
It’s now possible to use Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut to circle between open tabs. (If you have multiple Microsoft Edge windows in a Set, only the one most recently accessed will be visible in Alt + Tab.)
Using Sets you can restore previous tabs from any type of activity, and when restoring your projects, you’ll be prompted to restore related apps and web pages. If you’re opening a document that previously had tabs, a prompt will appear offering to restore those tabs, and the Previous tabs button will be in the filled state. If it’s not a document, a prompt will not show automatically, but you’ll know that there are tabs available to restore because the Previous Tabs button will be in the filled state.
Windows 10 version 1809 is also adjusting Timeline to show sets of tabs as activities. Also, each activity will display the number of tabs with it, and you can even cycle through tabs for a particular Sets activity.
As part of the new Set improvements, File Explorer is also getting several tweaks, including a new “Open new tab” option in the file menu, and it’s no longer necessary to hold the Ctrl key on the new tab page to launch a File Explorer window in a tab. In addition, Sets uses the Acrylic element, part of Fluent Design, in the title bar, and the window border are now grey.
In the Multitasking settings page, you’ll also find a few other options you can configure. For example, you can decide whether apps and websites should open in a new window or a new tab.
If you choose “Window,” new windows won’t open into a new tab unless you explicitly click the plus (+) button or drag with your mouse. Choosing “Tab” opens any new windows invoked from your running apps into tabs.
When opening websites, just like in Microsoft Edge, you can click the audio button to mute the tab making sound.
In addition, sets of tabs will open in the background and use no resources until you go to the tab, which translate in better performance restoring a bunch of tabs.
Here are a few keyboard shortcuts you can try out:
- Ctrl + Windows key + Tab — switches to next tab.
- Ctrl + Windows key + Shift + Tab — switches to previous tab.
- Ctrl + Windows key + T — Opens a new tab.
- Ctrl + Windows key + W — Closes current tab.
- Alt + Tab — Circles between open tabs.
- Ctrl + T — Opens a new tab a new File Explorer window.
- Ctrl + N — Opens a new tab a new File Explorer window.
- Ctrl + W — Closes window or tab.
In Windows 10 version 1809, you’re getting a new clipboard experience that leverages the cloud to copy and paste things across devices.
The experience works just like before, using the Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste, but now there is a new experience that you can open using the Windows key + V keyboard shortcut that allows you to see your clipboard history.
Using the new experience, you can also paste anything that is listed in the history, and you can pin items for things you paste all the time.
The history roams using the same technology for Timeline and Sets, which means you can access your clipboard across any Windows 10 device.
The new clipboard also brings a new settings page in the System section that allows you to customize many aspects of the experience.
What’s new on Settings experience
Windows 10 version 1809 (Redstone 5) is also improving the Settings app with new features and changes, including the “Have a question” section in the right pane which now surfaces most common questions about the settings available in the page you’re located using Bing.
The Sound settings page has been updated to include Device properties. Just click on the links in the Sound setting, and you’ll find a new page where you can name your device and select your preferred spatial audio format.
Focus assist will now turn on automatically when you’re playing any full screen game. This behavior should be enabled automatically, but you can always check on Settings > System > Focus assist and ensuring the “When I’m playing a game” option automatic rule is enabled.
In the System section, the Multitasking page is updating the Sets settings page, and you can decide if apps and websites should open automatically on a new tab or window. You can specify the action using the Alt + Tab shortcut, and it’s also possible to add apps to list that you don’t want to use tabs.
In the System section, you’ll notice a new Clipboard page that houses all the settings to customize the new clipboard experience.
Using this page, you can enable or disable the cloud-powered clipboard (Windows key + V), but you’ll continue to have a clipboard functionality just like before. You can enable or disable the ability to sync your clipboard content to the cloud to be available across devices.
If sync is enabled, you can also decide how content should sync (automatically or manually).
Also, at any time, you can click the Clear button to delete your clipboard history on your device and on the Microsoft servers. Just keep in mind that pinned items will not be deleted.
Bluetooth & other devices
In the Devices section, Bluetooth & other devices page now displays the battery level for supported Bluetooth devices.
The Data Usage page is getting updated to include data usage stats for mobile data using a SIM card while roaming.
The roaming usage info will appear once you start using roaming data. If you’d like to enable or disable roaming altogether, you can find the option under Cellular Settings.
The Magnifier page now includes the ability to keep your mouse centered on the screen in Full-Screen mode using the “Key your mouse cursor” drop-down menu, and you now have more control over zoom level increments with addition of 5% and 10% to list.
What’s new on input experience
The emojis have been updated, and this is how they look like now:
In addition, emojis now available in more than 150 locales, including English (Great Britain), French (France), German (Germany), Spanish (Spain), and more.
If you write in Chinese (Simplified), the Microsoft Pinyin IME is getting updated focusing on addressing performance, reliability and compatibility feedback. You’ll also find a new logo, IME toolbar, dark theme support, context menu, and the IME now uses the same UX for Expressive Input as other languages.
What’s new on system experience
Windows 10 version 1809 includes support for the High Efficiency Image File Format. This is an image container that uses modern codecs like HEVC to improve quality, compression, and capabilities compared to earlier formats like JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Also, this new format supports encoding image sequences, image collections, auxiliary images like alpha or depth maps, live images, video, audio, and HDR for improved contrast.
You’re also getting a safer remove experience for external GPUs connected via Thunderbolt 3. The new experience allows you to know which apps are currently running on the external graphics processor to safely close them to prevent data loss as you disconnect the device.
Just like in version 1803, Task Manager now shows an icon when a process is suspended in the Status column of the Processes tab. In addition, when you hover over the leaf icon, you will now see a tooltip describing what it means.
Control Panel no longer includes the settings to adjust brightness, but these settings can already be configured in the Settings app that will eventually replace Control Panel.
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
If you’re running Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, you’ll find a new “Ultimate Performance” power plan scheme available through control panel, but it’s not available on battery powered devices.
Also, Microsoft is making some changes, and now default setup includes productivity and enterprise focused apps instead of consumer apps and games.
Windows 10 version 1809 introduces a new Mobile Broadband (MBB) USB class driver for devices that support SIM cards and USB modems. The driver is based on the new Net Adapter framework stack already available on Windows 10, which supposed to be a more reliable network driver model that includes best parts of the of driver framework “while bringing an accelerated data path.”
In the next version of Windows 10, you’ll find that the entire Task View background now has a soft blur effect part of Fluent Design.
High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF)
Windows 10 introduced support for the High Efficiency Image File Format with the April 2018 Update. On Windows 10 version 1809 (Redstone 5), you can now rotate HEIF-format images in File Explorer, and edit metadata, such as “Date taken”.
In order to rotate a HEIF image file, simply right-click on it in File Explorer and select “Rotate right” or “Rotate left” from the menu. “Date taken” and other properties can be edited by clicking on “Properties” and selecting the “Details” tab.
What’s new on Microsoft Edge
On Microsoft Edge, the Microsoft WebDriver has been added as Feature on Demand (FoD) to make it easier to get the right version for your PC. You can install WebDriver by turning on Developer Mode, or by going to Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Manage optional features and installing it standalone.
This should address one of the biggest pain points we see from customers around binary mismatches, as FoD’s match the build/branch/flavor automatically. Also, Microsoft WebDriver now gets installed to
C:\Windows\System32\ and will automatically be on the PATH for the machine once installed. The company is now shipping 64-bit Microsoft WebDriver to x64 machines.
Starting with this new version of Windows 10, you can now refresh the Books pane using the pull gesture. When printing PDF files, you’ll find a new option to choose the scale of your print out (Actual size or Fit to page). And when pinning books to the Start menu, you’ll now see a live tile that cycles between the book cover and your current progress.
What’s new on Windows Security
Starting with Windows 10 version 1809, the Windows Defender Security Center app get renamed to Windows Security.
Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) for Microsoft Edge delivers performance improvements to make the experience feel lighter and load faster.
It’s also possible to download files from a WDAG session, but this option must be enable manually, and it’s only available for users running the Enterprise version of Windows 10.
The Windows Defender Security Center experience gets updated with Fluent Design. This means that you’ll notice Acrylic material transparency in the navigation page, Reveal effect hovering items, the app will now use your color accent, and a number of other tweaks.
In addition, it’s now possible to add rules for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) processes using the Windows Defender Firewall. Further, the firewall can even show notifications for WSL processes.
What’s new on built-in apps
Windows 10 is introducing a new snipping experience that combines the old snipping tool with Screen Sketch (formerly part of the Windows Ink Workspace) into a single modern experience that uses the app design that we continue to see on Microsoft Store apps.
Using this new experience brings a few additional benefits, including a single experience to take screenshots. The app receives updates via the Microsoft Store. It’ll show up in Task View. You can set the window size to be your preference, and it even supports multiple windows.
Some of the new features includes the ability to quickly snip and share a screenshot using the Windows key + Shift + S, which now brings the snipping toolbar with all the basic tools you need.
If you’re using a tablet with pen support, you get even more features. In the “Pen & Windows Ink” settings page, you’ll find Screen Snipping is now an option for single click. This will launch you directly into our snipping experience.
In the “Keyboard” settings page, you’ll see a new option that says “Use the Print Screen key to launch screen snipping,” enabling this option let bring up the new snipping tool pressing the Print Screen button.
Finally, Action Center gains a new Screen snip button that let you also get a quick access to the new snipping experience.
Windows 10 is also gaining a new app called “Your Phone,” which is new way to connect your iPhone or Android phone to your PC with Windows 10 that enables instant access to text messages, photos, and notifications.
Although features will be slightly different whether you have an iOS or Android device, you’ll be able to receive and send text messages, check all your notifications, and things like drag and drop photos from your phone onto your computer without having to reach for your mobile device.
After many years, Notepad is getting an update to support Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR).
If you need to research a word in Notepad, you can now select the text, click Edit, and use the new Search with Bing option.
Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 17672. It should be noted that this guide focuses on features for consumers, as Microsoft is also adding other features aimed for enterprises, which aren’t included here. (This guide was originally published on February 2018, and last updated on May 2018.)