Now that Microsoft has shipped the April 2018 Update for Windows 10, it’s moving full speed ahead to the next version of Windows, Redstone 5, due this fall. Chief among the new improvements are several key upgrades: a version of clipboard that can cut and paste between PCs, improvements to Sets, dark themes, an improved Notepad, and more.
Microsoft shipped the new features as part of Insider Preview Build 17666, which is rolling out for the Fast Ring of Windows 10 Insider machines today. (The two different Insider tracks, Fast and Skip Ahead, will receive the same build.)
A year ago, there were numerous, though cumbersome ways to transfer a file from one PC to another: email, chat, saving it to the cloud, a USB stick, and so on. Now, Windows will save text and files to the cloud, so you can cut from one device and paste into another (that you’re signed into).
This new Clipboard feature, informally named “Cloud Clipboard,” does require a Microsoft account, as well as your permission to save the data within Microsoft. There’s a limit, too: You’ll only be able to cut and paste text less than 100K in size. That’s not much. But for a URL or a text snippet, Cloud Clipboard actually is simpler to use than the Near Share feature within the April 2018 Update, though it’s a bit more limited, too.
Cut-and-paste adds a new twist: Microsoft stores a history of your pastes. Typing Win+V will bring up the new Clipboard history experience, where you can actually pin frequently-pasted items. Note that the Clipboard history also roams across PCs, if you choose to enable it.
Sets and Edge
One of the things Microsoft talked about at Build was a potential change in the behavior of Sets. Currently, within Sets, typing Alt+Tab flips back and forth between apps. But within Sets’ tabbed UI, everything—a webpage, an app, a document—gets its own tab. After flipping back and forth between a specific Word document, and a specific Outlook email, lumping a dozen or so Edge tabs under a general icon looks a little weird.
If you agree, you’ll be happy to know that individual Edge tabs now receive the same weight as an Office document, Mail, Outlook, or other apps—you’ll be able to Alt+Tab between Edge tabs, in other words. It’s optional, so if you like the old way you can stick with it.
With the new build, Sets also picks up some more Edge-like capabilities. Individual Sets tabs can be muted, like Edge, and you can specify whether you’d prefer new windows to open in the Sets tabbed environment, or within traditional windows.
Fluent Design, Microsoft’s new design elements, also make an appearance.
Search previews get smarter
You may have noticed that the Cortana search box allows you to search for apps as well as documents. With the new build, you’ll be able to search for an app, like PowerPoint, and Windows will also show you related PowerPoint documents.
In certain cases, searching for the app will trigger a submenu with additional options, such as the opening a URL or a file in your browser. Microsoft said the search window will now open wider to allow a broader range of content to display.
Notepad adds line breaks of all stripes
Remember the cheers that accompanied the Build keynote announcement that Notepad would soon incorporate Linux line breaks? Developers can cheer again, as those line breaks have arrvied. But it’s not just Linux: Macintosh line endings (CR) have been added as well.
Notepad has also become searchable via Bing. All you need to do is highlight a word or phrase, and right-click. With Sets, a new tab search page will open.
Two smaller improvements have been added to build 17666: the ability to group, and name, apps together in a Start menu folder…
…as well as a popular request, a dark theme for the File Explorer.
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As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.