Windows 10 Redstone 5 (version 1809): All the new features and changes

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

If Sets isn’t available on Windows 10, you can use these steps to enable. Or disable it with these instructions.

Info: This guide is constantly getting updated and republished as new significant features and changes become available through the Windows Insider Program.

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.

Start menu

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.

Search

Up until now, the previews in search you get in the Start menu only included previews for search results, but now, the experience 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.

Search preview on Windows 10 build 1766

The updated search experience now also has a wider interface allowing you to access information and actions a lot faster.

In addition, Microsoft is tweaking the web previews so that if you’re search for third-party application, you’ll now get a button to download the app from the official download page.

Start menu search improvements on Windows 10 build 17692

Also, selecting and right-clicking the search box now opens a new context menu using fluent design with options to cut, paste, copy, undo, and select all text.

New context menu design on Windows 10 Redstone 5

Task View

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.

Action Center

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, and when Windows 10 blocks an app from accessing your microphone.

File Explorer

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.

File Explorer with dark theme on Windows 10 build 1766

Alongside the ability to open PowerShell, the File Explorer context menu now also adds the “Open Linux Shell here” option.

Sets

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 and Calendar, OneNote, 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 desktop apps.

Windows 10 Sets with support for Office 365 apps

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 a button to create a new tab that will take you to the default page.

Sets Previous Tabs

In the new tab page, you can use the unified search box to launch apps, documents, and web searches which will open in the new tab. The destination list shows your frequent apps at making it more obvious that you can use this page to launch any application. In addition, the new tab page displays the all apps list so you can quickly start any app, instead of having to open the Start menu.

Also, you can drag an app tab around within the Set or combine tabbed app windows into Sets too. And right-clicking a tab, you’ll find additional options, including “close other tabs”, “move to new window”, and “close tabs to the right”.

Sets tab context menu

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.

File Explorer menu new tab option

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.

Starting with this Redstone 5 update, when running start cmd from a Command Prompt window, a new tab will open. This will also work for other start launches, like start notepad.

If you want to start something in a new window you can use the new /newwindow flag. For instance, start /newwindow notepad.

Here are a few keyboard shortcuts you can try out:

Clipboard

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.

Clipboard on Windows 10 build 1766

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.

Project to this PC

Starting with version 1809, in order to help you know when you’re wirelessly projecting, and quickly disconnect and reconnect, Windows 10 will show a new control banner at the top of the screen when you’re using the Project to this PC feature.

The banner will keep you inform about the state of your connection, allow you to quick disconnect or reconnect, and tune the connection.

Project banner on Windows 10 build 17682

Clicking the gear button allows you to optimize the screen latency depending on mode you’re using:

Game bar and Game mode

On the gaming side, Windows 10 Redstone 5 is introducing a brand-new Game bar experience and Game Mode improvements.

Starting with version 1803, the new Game bar introduces a new design with a larger interface that now also includes audio controls to change your default audio output device and mute or adjust the volume of games and apps.

In addition, it’s now possible to see games framerate, processor usage, graphics VRAM and system RAM usage. You can even pop a new small widget to keep the performance information always visible on the screen without interrupting the game you’re playing.

Game bar on Windows 10 Redstone 5

As for Game Mode, Windows 10 is now introducing new options that are expected to improve the gaming experience on desktop PCs. Gamers on computers with many background processes may also see performance improvements when they toggle “Dedicate resources” in Game bar.

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.

Sound

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.

Sound settings on build 17611

Focus assist

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.

Multitasking

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.

Sets settings on Windows 10 version 1809

Clipboard

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.

Clipboard settings on Windows 10 version 1809

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.

Bluetooth battery level status

Apps & features

In the Apps & features page, Windows 10 isn’t adding new settings, but the new default option to install apps on Windows 10 is now set to Warm me before installing apps from outside the Store, rather than Allow apps from anywhere. This new change won’t prevent you from getting app from any source, but you’ll get a warning letting you know the risks of installing apps from unknown sources.

Windows 10 warn me before installing an app outside the Store option

The Manage optional features section, inside the “Apps & features” settings page, it’s now possible to install Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) once, and later on, Windows 10 will add them automatically after an upgrade.

Also, Windows 10 is making the WebDriver tools a feature on-demand to make it easier for developers to automate testing in Microsoft Edge.

Data Usage

The Data Usage page is getting updated to include data usage stats for mobile data using a SIM card while roaming.

Data Usage roaming data stats support on build 17643

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.

Region

Starting with the Redstone 5 update, the Settings is splitting “Region & Language” pages, and now you have one page for Region and another one for Language.

In the new Region page, in addition to previously available settings, you can now override default regional settings such as Calendar, First day of the week, dates, times, and currency.

Region settings on Windows 10 build 17686

Language

In the new Language page, you’ll  find all the same settings as before, but now there’s a link to access the Local Experience Packs from the Microsoft Store.

Language settings on Windows 10 build 17686

Captures

In the Gaming section, you won’t find a lot of visual changes, but the Game DVR now has been renamed to Captures.

Talk to Cortana

In the Talk to Cortana page, you can now change the name that Cortana uses to call you. This option was previouly available in the Cortana experience settings.

Change the name Cortana call you on Windows 10 version 1809

Permissions & History

In the Permissions & History page located in Cortana & Search, under the History section, you’ll find a new Activity recommendations option, which allows you to enable or disable recommendations to pick up activities where you left off when switching devices.

Activity recommendations options on Windows 10 Redstone 5

Magnifier

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.

Magnifier settings changes on Windows 10 build 17643

Display

The Display page for Ease of Access is also getting updated with a new section called Make everything bigger, which now includes the controls to  increase text size across the system including Microsoft Store apps and classic (win32) applications.

Ease of Access new increase font size settings

Narrator

On Narrator, Windows 10 version 1809 is adding a bunch of improvements, including a new keyboard layout that is designed to be more familiar to screen reader users.

Narrator will now automatically read the contents of a dialog box when brought to the foreground. For example, if you try to close a document in Word with unsaved changes, Narrator will speak the title “Microsoft Word,” the focus “Save button” and the static text within the dialog.

You now have the ability to search for text using the Narrator new Find feature. If the text is found Narrator will move to the found item.

In addition, Narrator now can present a list of links, headings, or landmarks present in the application or content. (You are also able to filter the results by typing in the list or the text field of the window.)

Along with being able to select content when using scan mode with the Shift-selection commands in Microsoft Edge, Word, Outlook, Mail and most text surfaces., it’s now possible to select a block of data by first moving to one end of the block and pressing F9, moving to the other end of the block and pressing F10. Once F10 is pressed the entire contents between the two points will be selected.

While in scan mode, you can now press the Up and Down arrow keys to read different parts of the page. Starting with this flight, the press of a Down arrow in Scan Mode will stop on interactive elements to make them easier to use. For example, if you are reading a paragraph with multiple links, Narrator will stop on these links when you press the Down arrow.

Delivery Optimization 

Although the Delivery Optimization page isn’t new to Settings app, it’s now being relocated, and you’ll now find this page in the “Update & Security” section, under “Windows Update.”

What’s new on input experience

Emoji

The emojis have been updated, and this is how they look like now:

Emoji design updates on Windows 10 Redstone 5

In addition, emojis now available in more than 150 locales, including English (Great Britain), French (France), German (Germany), Spanish (Spain), and more.

Touch keyboard

Starting with Redstone 5 update, Microsoft is bringing its SwiftKey intelligence available on Android and iOS to the Windows 10 touch keyboard experience. Using SwiftKey will give you more accurate autocorrections and predictions by learning your writing style.

SwiftKey on Windows 10 build 17692

SwiftKey is currently available in English (United States), English (United Kingdom), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Portuguese (Brazil), or Russian.

Language 

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.

Windows 10 is making a small change on how memory used by suspended Universal Windows Platform apps and processes appears in Task Manager. As a result, moving forward, the main memory column “Processes” tab no longer includes memory used by suspend Universal Windows Platform apps processes.

On mobile broadband, the MBB USB NetAdapter driver becomes the default driver. And as part of the Kernel Debugging improvements, Rendstone 5 now adds IPV6 support for KDNET.

Starting with the Redstone 5 update, older installations of Windows 10 will get a post-upgrade out-of-box experience to finish setting app new features that we’re not available the first time your setup the operating system.

Windows 10 Redstone 5 update OOBE experience

The experience allows you to configure new features, such as Windows Hello, Office, OneDrive, Timeline, and link your phone to your PC. Of course, you can always click the Skip for now button to go straight to the desktop.

Additional changes

Control Panel

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.

Drivers

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.”

Task View

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.

Task View with Fluent Design blur

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.

Windows Mixed Reality

The Windows Mixed Reality experience is also getting improvements. For example, you can now stream audio to both the headset and the computer speakers simultaneously.

If you want to give this feature a try, make sure that you can hear sound from your normal device speakers when not running the Mixed Reality Portal and from the headset audio jack or built-in headphones when mixed reality is running. Finally, close all running applications, including the portal, and go to Settings > Mixed reality > Audio and speech to turn on When Mixed Reality Portal is running, mirror headset audio to desktop.

What’s new on Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 version 1809 introduces a number of improvements for Microsoft Edge. For example, there’s an updated main menu (three-dot) that is organized in groups, each item is identified by an icon, and you’ll now see the keyboard shortcut (when applicable). In addition, “New tab,” ‘Reading list”, “Books,” “History” and “Downloads” are new items on the list.

Microsoft Edge updated menu

You can now see your top sites in the “Jump List” when you right-click the Microsoft Edge icon on the taskbar or Start Menu.

On tabs you’ve have set aside is now easier to organize the groups of tabs. When setting tabs aside, you can now click and rename the group of tabs.

Set aside with rename option on Windows 10 build 17677

In the Hub experience, the “Downloads” section, you can right-click a download to access the context menu with options for “Show in folder” and “Copy link”.

Microsoft Edge new context menu for downloaded content

Additionally, if you pressing F1, it’ll now take you to the browser support page, rather than Microsoft Edge tips. If a tab in Microsoft Edge is playing audio, the volume icon in the tab will now light up when you hover your mouse over it. Also, when opening local files like PDFs with the browser, files will now appear in the History section.

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.

Even further, Microsoft Edge is also incorporating support for Web Authentication, which provides an open, scalable, and interoperable solution to facilitate authentication, which replaces passwords with stronger hardware-bound credentials.

Using this new implementation lets users to use Windows Hello (such as aPIN or biometrics) and external authenticators like FIDO2 Security Keys or FIDO U2F Security Keys, to securely authenticate to websites.

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.

Windows Defender Security Center on build 17650

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.

Microsoft is also introducing a new feature going the Block suspicious behaviours name in the “Virus & threat protection,” and it’s been designed to stop apps from performing malicious actions that cause your device to get infected.

Block suspicious behaviors option on Windows 10

In the Ransomware protection settings page, you’ll now find the accounts that you may be able to recover data in the event that your device get infected with a Ransomware.

What’s new on built-in apps

Screen Sketch

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.

Snipping tool Windows 10 build 17661

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.

Your Phone

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.

Notepad

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 17692. 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 June 2018.)