Hints of Win­dows 10’s 2019 fu­ture show up in early ‘19H1’ builds

The im­proved Search In­dexer is the early star of 19H1, although we’re still in the early days.

PCWorld (USA) - - News - BY MARK HACH­MAN

We’re al­ready see­ing hints of the next ver­sion of Win­dows 10, due in the spring of 2019 and known by the code name “19H1.” Some are cos­metic, like the new Acrylic look and feel to the Win­dows sign-in page. Oth­ers are more sub­stan­tive, like the new Search In­dexer.

But wait, you ask: Isn’t Win­dows 10’s Oc­to­ber 2018 Up­date still in limbo? Yes:

The Oc­to­ber 2018 Up­date, de­layed due to the po­ten­tial for data loss, hasn’t been pushed to any­one but Win­dows In­sid­ers ( go.pc­world.com/rlin). Cur­rently there is no fur­ther news to share about its re­lease, a spokesman said.

Mi­crosoft’s Win­dows teams move on par­al­lel tracks. What’s known as the “Fast Ring” usu­ally helps test the next ver­sion of the OS. As that ver­sion moves into its fi­nal test­ing phases be­fore re­lease, a sec­ond “Skip Ahead” track acts as a pass­ing lane of sorts to move ahead. Mi­crosoft has merged the Skip Ahead and Fast Rings to­gether, though they’ll split

apart as we get closer to the for­mal 19H1 re­lease.

Why this mat­ters: While some fea­tures fall away in the course of devel­op­ment, the early builds are still a good way to gauge the di­rec­tion of the OS. Given that the last few up­dates have been in­creas­ingly un­der­whelm­ing, we’re all look­ing for hints of big­ger things to come.

A COM­PRE­HEN­SIVE SEARCH IN­DEXER

You’re prob­a­bly aware that you can search within File Ex­plorer, where Win­dows will scour a par­tic­u­lar folder (or your en­tire PC) for a cer­tain key­word. It can take for­ever, pri­mar­ily be­cause Win­dows doesn’t “in­dex” many of your files un­til you tell it to, by us­ing the built-in “In­dex­ing Op­tions” con­trol panel. The Search bar in your Win­dows taskbar can be more ef­fi­cient, though it de­faults to com­mon fold­ers like Doc­u­ments and Pho­tos.

Now, a new “Win­dows search set­tings” will al­low you to in­dex the en­tire drive and make it avail­able via the

search box. It’s a time- and power-in­ten­sive process, at least on the first run, Mi­crosoft warns. Those of you with slower PCS may not want to en­able the fea­ture, be­cause of the ad­di­tional strain con­tin­ual in­dex­ing can place on a hard drive. But if you’re con­stantly look­ing for mis­placed files, this En­hanced Mode for Search In­dexer may be what you need.

STICKY NOTES IN­TE­GRATES WITH THE CLOUD

Many of you have your own note-tak­ing schemes: apps like Google Keep or Mi­crosoft To-do, Wun­derlist, or some­thing else. Sticky Notes, like Notepad, orig­i­nally func­tioned as a sort of ca­sual note-tak­ing app that ap­peared like a Post-it note. Mi­crosoft built in a bit of in­tel­li­gence, too, al­low­ing Sticky Notes to parse URLS as click­able links—but the ba­sic de­sign mantra has been to keep it as simple as pos­si­ble. Now, it’s re­ceived a bit more than just a face-lift.

Sticky Notes are no longer just sep­a­rate en­ti­ties, but can ac­tu­ally live to­gether in a sheaf of vir­tual notes that are both search­able and live in the cloud. Not only does it ap­pear that Sticky Notes will carry over from one of your PCS to any oth­ers (pro­vided your PCS are all signed in with the same Mi­crosoft ac­count) but Mi­crosoft’s pro­vid­ing a web app to col­lect them all: http://onenote.com/ stick­ynotes. (Note that the site won’t be live for ev­ery­one quite yet, Mi­crosoft says.)

Sticky Notes now has a dark mode, too.

SNIP & SKETCH ADDS DE­LAY, BOR­DER FUNC­TIONS

Be­cause the cur­rent Win­dows 10 Snip­ping Tool lacked the abil­ity to doo­dle and add notes, Mi­crosoft felt com­pelled to ditch it en­tirely and start over. Even­tu­ally, Snip­ping Tool’s func­tions will be folded into a re­lated app called Snip & Sketch, which Mi­crosoft is busily im­prov­ing. In 19H1, Mi­crosoft is ad­dress­ing Snip & Sketch’s lack of a de­lay fea­ture, so you’ll be able to nav­i­gate through drop-down menus and other el­e­ments be­fore snap­ping a screen­shot.

Mi­crosoft also added the abil­ity to add a small bor­der to the screen­shot, to avoid past­ing a white im­age into a screen full of

black and white text; and the abil­ity to quickly print right from within the app it­self. The lat­ter is es­pe­cially wel­come, as it pre­vi­ously re­quired sav­ing the screen­shot in an app like Paint, then print­ing it. While you can man­age all of these fea­tures from within the app, there’s a new Set­tings page, too.

UNINSTALL MORE WIN­DOWS APPS

Ev­ery­one knows that Win­dows 10 ships with a se­ries of apps, some of which you may never use: Pain­t3d, for ex­am­ple. Pre­vi­ously, Win­dows al­lowed you to re­move some apps, like Prin­t3d and Skype, to tidy up your Start menu. Now, that list has ex­panded to in­clude 3D Viewer (pre­vi­ously called Mixed Re­al­ity Viewer), Cal­cu­la­tor, Cal­en­dar, Groove Mu­sic, Mail, Movies &

TV, Paint 3D, Snip & Sketch, Sticky Notes, and Voice Recorder.

CON­NEC­TION IS­SUES

For lit­er­ally years, Mi­crosoft Win­dows 10 user con­trols have been spread be­tween the legacy Con­trol Panel and the Set­tings. Now eth­er­net has en­tered the fray. Within the 19H1 re­lease, you’ll find the abil­ity to man­age a static IP ad­dress as well as set up a VPN from within the Set­tings menu.

Mi­crosoft has also de­cided upon a uni­ver­sal sym­bol for a “dis­con­nected” PC, which you’ll see in the screen­shot of the Win­dows taskbar be­low. If your PC isn’t con­nected to eth­er­net, Wi-fi, or a cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion, you’ll see that icon.

SMALLER FEA­TURES

There are a num­ber of other fea­tures within the up­com­ing 19H1 re­lease that may not be as flashy, but could be equally sig­nif­i­cant:

New Win­dows Hello Set­tings page: The page to set up Win­dows Hello–ca­pa­ble

de­vices (such as a fin­ger­print reader or depth cam­era) ap­par­ently is a bit too messy, so Mi­crosoft de­cided to clean it up a bit.

Au­to­mated trou­bleshoot­ers: If some­thing goes wrong within Win­dows, such as a lap­top mic re­fus­ing to func­tion, Win­dows has a se­ries of built-in trou­bleshoot­ers that you can run to fix the prob­lem. The prob­lem is that you have to find them, then choose the right one. Now, a set­ting in Set­tings > Up­date & Se­cu­rity > Trou­bleshoot uses di­ag­nos­tic data your PC sends “to de­liver a tai­lored set of fixes match­ing prob­lems we de­tect on your de­vice and will au­to­mat­i­cally ap­ply them to your PC,” Mi­crosoft says. This sounds in­trigu­ing, but the proof will be in the pud­ding.

Mi­crosoft To-do gets ink sup­port: The bare-bones app that Mi­crosoft hopes will even­tu­ally re­place Wun­derlist now sup­ports ink­ing. You can hand­write your tasks into the app, and note com­pleted tasks by lin­ing them out.

Sign-in screen adds an Acrylic look: Acrylic, the “frosted glass” aes­thetic that Mi­crosoft be­gan rolling out dur­ing the early days of

Win­dows 10, now shows up as the background to the Win­dows 10 sign-in screen, too. It’s a nice look you’ll prob­a­bly ap­pre­ci­ate.

Task Man­ager in­di­cates

DPI Aware­ness: Mi­crosoft’s process of adding in­tel­li­gence to Task Man­ager con­tin­ues with a new col­umn: DPI aware­ness, a fancy name for show­ing you which apps are set up to scale prop­erly when they’re dragged be­tween a multi-mon­i­tor setup, pos­si­bly with dif­fer­ent res­o­lu­tions.

Tweaks to Nar­ra­tor: Mi­crosoft said that read­ing and nav­i­gat­ing within Scan Mode has im­proved, as has se­lect­ing text. Mi­crosoft also tweaked some of the key­board com­mands, and made changes to how the app be­haves.

By de­fault, Win­dows doesn’t in­dex much un­less you spec­ify it in the In­dex­ing Op­tions con­trol panel. (This is in the cur­rent ver­sion of Win­dows 10.)

The new Search In­dexer al­lows you to in­dex the en­tire drive.

Sticky Notes can also be col­lected into a sin­gle re­pos­i­tory. Note the search box at the top.

The “dis­con­nected globe” in the Win­dows taskbar will ap­pear next to the bat­tery icon if your PC is dis­con­nected from the In­ter­net.

New Win­dows Hello Set­tings page.

Sign-in screen adds an Acrylic look.

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