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.
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.
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:
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.