The best features of Redstone 5 are being revealed right now
With Microsoft’s somewhat underwhelming April 2018 Update and Build developer conference in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to something new: this fall’s Windows 10 feature update, codenamed Redstone 5.
We already know that Microsoft has big plans for Redstone 5, from its new tabbed interface, Sets, to bringing its Timeline feature to more devices. But its recent Insider builds of Windows 10—which have migrated from the ultra-exclusive “Skip Ahead” track to the more mainstream “Fast” builds—offer even more. Let’s take a look at what you can expect.
With Redstone 5, Microsoft brings back its Sets tabbed interface to Windows 10. Sets allows you to use tabs to group apps together within a single window. Not only can you add UWP apps to a Set, but you can add some Win32 apps (like Notepad and File Explorer) as well as Office apps, too.
Sets allows you to drag-and-drop and rearrange tabs, and you have the option of setting the Alt+TAB command to flip between tabs and groups of windows. Alt+TAB now optionally switches between individually opened Edge tabs, too.
The so-called Cloud Clipboard is actually two different functions: the ability to “stack” numerous text snippets cut using CTRL-X; and the ability to paste that text (or image) on another PC.
The Clipboard history, shown here, allows you to pin favorite pastes—for example, if you’re filling in text fields. But Cloud Clipboard is the most interesting: Microsoft can (optionally) save the text you cut to the cloud, and you can simply hit CTRL-V to paste it onto another PC you’re signed into. Very handy.
Dark theme for File Explorer
Microsoft claims that a dark-themed File Explorer is among the most popular feature requests it's received. So voila! It delivered.
Search comes to Calendar
Can't remember when that dental checkup is scheduled for? With Redstone 5, Microsoft has added a search bar to the Calendar app, allowing you to track down (and delete, or modify) that pesky appointment you just can't recall.
A Bluetooth battery gauge
Bluetooth mice and the Surface Pen tend to run out of juice at unexpected, inopportune moments. Now, if your device supports it, Windows will tell you the battery levels of connected devices. Hopefully this comes to the Action Center at some point.
Notepad text line endings
If you were at Microsoft's Build developer conference, you'll recall the loud cheer this announcement received. With Redstone 5, you can truncate text using either the Linux or Macintosh formats.
Gone, apparently, are the days when typing a request into the Cortana search bar immediately launched an Edge webpage. Now, Cortana does its damnedest to find what you're looking for immediately. In this case, searching for an app opens releated documents, or searching for a document allows you to perform related actions.
Screen Sketch: The app
Not everyone uses inking, and not everyone uses Screen Sketch, which was previously part of the Windows Ink Workspace. Now, however, Screen Sketch has graduated into a full-fledged app, meaning that Microsoft will be adding more features to it at a faster pace than ever before.
Start folder naming
In Redstone 5, Microsoft finally allows you to name a collection of Start menu icons. We know, right?
Snipping Tool gains power
You may be aware of the Windows 10 Snipping Tool, an invaluable resource for professionals sharing screenshots. But it can be tiring to launch the app over and over, so Windows now comes with the ability to launch the Snipping Tool by clicking the top of the Surface Pen, or even via the PrtScn (Print Screen) key.
Snips are stored to OneDrive
The Snipping Tool also will save your Snips, just by highlighting the portion of the screen. Here it is in action.
Originally, this app experience was called Your Phone, though the name may evolve as we get closer to launch. Essentially, it's a cross-platform app that links your phone and PC. Though your PC already has the ability to reply to SMS messages your phone receives, Your Phone will take that, add to it the capability to transfer photos between the two devices, and wrap it all up within a nice, neat app experience.
Timeline across devices
Though this may wander out of Windows and into the realm of "Windows experiences," one of the future additions to Windows will be the ability for the Timeline feature to extend into Android and iOS phones. Microsoft hasn't guaranteed that this will be part of Redstone 5, but the chances are good.
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