5 reasons to update to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

This week Microsoft released the October 2018 Update to Windows 10 and here are five reason to hit the update button.

1) Windows Mixed Reality

Windows Mixed Reality is an area that has had a lot changes since the April 2018 update. Almost every ears has been updated and improved.

Steam VR

The first is full integration with SteamVR, this means you can pin SteamVR games and apps in the Cliff House or Skyloft and launch them directly from Windows Mixed Reality. Previously you had to launch them from the Windows desktop, now you can do it all from the Microsoft’s VR environment.

Flashlight

A great new feature in the update Microsoft call Flashlight (or Torch depending on your region settings). With Flashlight, you can peak into the real word using the black and white camera built in to Windows Mixed Reality headsets. When you use it you see what your headset sees in the style of a flashlight. It is a great way of seeing the real world without having to your headset.

No more dumping back to the Cliff House

Previously when you were immersed in mixed reality and then pressed the Windows key on the motion controller it WMR dumped you right back to the Cliff House / Skyloft. So if you accidently pressed it you were thrown out of your game which was very frustrating. With the new version, pressing the Windows keys pops up a new menu where you can take a picture, activate the flashlight, record a video or go back home. It is a much better system and a very welcome improvement.

One other little change is you no longer need a monitor connected to use Windows Mixed Reality, so you can PC with just a headset. You can also have the audio from mixed reality go to a headset and PC speaker at the same time.

2) Dark Theme in File Explorer

When you have the dark theme setup on your system File Explorer now has a dark mode. Previously file explorer remained while no matter what mode you had the OS set into so this new mode looks much better. During Redstone 5 development, I commented that this is not really a very exciting feature but many people reached out to me pointing out how wrong I was, so I know many people love this feature.

3) Cloud Clipboard

With the October 2018 Update Microsoft have added a new Cloud Clipboard feature. When you copy text or images to the clipboard it synchronizes via your Microsoft Account so you can go to another machine and paste the data in straight to a document. It is much easier than emailing picture and text to yourself.

Even if you do not use it with multiple machines, you can still use it to access items previously copied items in the clipboard. In the past, rather you just had the last item.

4) Your Phone

The October 2018 Update has a new app called Your Phone. With the app you can view and interact with photos stored on your Android phone. It sync up with your phone via an app from Microsoft called Your Phone Companion. Once synced you can view all the photos stored on your phone, you can view then or drag them on to your PC. You can also view and send text messages directly from your PC.

To get this working you need the Your Phone Companion App from the Google Play Store.

5) Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has a new simplified menu making it easier to find the option you need. There is a new media auto play option so you can pick on a site-by-site basis which sites get to auto play media when you navigate to them. This stops those auto playing web sites in their tracks!

You can also customise which items show in in Edge’s toolbar. You can have it show the favourites, reading list, history, download, add notes and share this page buttons.

Other changes include improved PDF features and improved reading mode, and you can organise tabs you have set aside.

How to get the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

To get the update the best way is to wait until its release via Window Update. Just go into Settings, Windows Update and click on check for update. If your system is able to run the October update, it will start downloading. Do not worry if it is not available immediately, Microsoft have phased release process so you will get it eventually.

Here is my hands on video showing some of the changes:

About the author Ian Dixon:
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.

One thought on “5 reasons to update to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update”

  1. Illrigger says:

    They also made some major under the hood improvements to HDR support. The spring update brought true HDR support, but it broke a lot of things in the process, forcing you to manually turn the feature on and off when you were running non-HDR games and video to avoid them, and if you wanted to run your desktop at 8-bit 444 (the mode used by computer monitors) you had to turn it on or off manually when you played a game or you would get a purple and green mess. The latest update has much better content detection support, so you can just leave the HDR switch on at all times. It looks to be running everything at 8-bit 444 mode with HDR brightness enabled (which you can then tweak via your monitor controls and a slider in the Windows options so it doesn’t blind you), and when it detects 10-bit content, it kicks in whatever WCG mode the content asks for. I have tested Mass Effect Andromeda’s Dolby Vision mode, as well as both HDR10 and scRGB modes in Far Cry 5, then loaded up several SDR games, even at lower than full 4k resolution running full screen. All of these tests worked perfectly without having to touch anything in the nVidia Control Panel or turning off the HDR switch in Windows. It looks like by the time HDR becomes standard for the unwashed masses (which is coming quickly now, as more mid-range monitors are adding HDR600 support) Windows may actually be ready.

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