Microsoft will shortly release the next major update to its Windows 10 operating system. Initially dubbed “Redstone 5” by Microsoft developers, but now known as the “October 2018 Update”, it’ll bring a slew of new security features, performance upgrades and just a few new front-facing features to your Windows 10 experience.
As with any Windows 10 upgrade, before too long you’ll probably start seeing pop-ups on your desktop advising you to upgrade, presuming you’re not already set on an automatic upgrade path by Windows 10 itself. In that case, you’ll more likely notice it the next time you power up (or power down) your PC and it runs through the installation process for the October 2018 update.
However, before you install the update, make sure you’ve got a reasonable quantity of spare space on your system.
Microsoft’s advice around the October Update is that you’ll need at least 10GB of free space before you install it. Now, on a desktop system or anything with a mechanical hard drive that’s probably not too much of an impost, but if you’ve purchased any of the much cheaper Windows 10 laptops, or some tablets running Windows 10, 10GB could represent up to a third of your available storage space!
Sadly, the October Update doesn’t warn you of this upfront. If you’re stressed about losing your precious files, the smart thing to do (which you should be doing anyway) is to back them up to an external drive or cloud storage solution.
So what will you get once the upgrade is done? Outside of bugfixes and security — which in an ideal world you’ll never really see running anyway — there’s a number of refinements and improvements on the way.
An upgraded “Your Phone” feature will enable you to see messages and notifications from a paired smartphone without having to take it out of your pocket, although there’s some difference depending on whether you’re using an Apple iPhone or an Android device. The more open nature of Android has enabled Microsoft to implement a wider set of Your Phone features for that platform, including seamless transfers of photos from Android devices to Windows desktop without having to worry about cables, synchronisation or any of that kind of hassle. If you’re using an iPhone, there’s a more limited set of features open to you, because Apple holds tighter reins on its mobile platform.
Search should be improved with better previews of multiple document types, making it easier to locate exactly the right document amongst your files. There’ll be an upgraded News app to take on services like Google News and Apple News, and while few have headsets yet, Microsoft’s also talking up improvements to its “Mixed Reality” platform for headset users of Windows 10.
So when will you see the October 2018 update arrive on your PC? The hint is in the name, but Microsoft is yet to formally ink when it’ll actually arrive. Based on prior releases, and Microsoft’s heavy work in bugfixing, the smart money is on widespread release more towards the end of October than the start.
If you’re a Mac user feeling left out, of course, you’ll see the next version of macOS drop before October, with macOS Mojave set to arrive on compatible Mac systems on 24 September 2018. As with the Windows 10 October Update, it’s wise to make sure you’ve got a backup of your personal files before upgrading to macOS Mojave.