Windows 10 Redstone 5 hits the Fast ring with build 17661, with lots of new features

Today, Microsoft released Windows 10 build 17661 to the Fast ring, making it the first Redstone 5 build to be offered to those that didn't opt into the Skip Ahead subset of the ring. Moving forward with Redstone 5 development, the standard Fast ring and Skip Ahead will receive the same builds.

As Insider chief Dona Sarkar warned yesterday, this is your last chance to hop off of the Insider train without having to do a factory reset. If you shut off Insider builds before installing today's build, or if you switch to the Release Preview ring, you'll be able to stay on the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

On top of features that standard Fast ring Insiders have missed so far like Sets (which is once again not available to everyone), today's build contains a number of new features. Here's what's new:

A modern snipping experience

Today we’re taking the first step toward converging our snipping experiences. The new modern snipping experience is here to help you effortlessly capture and annotate what you see on your screen. While working on this we’ve been carefully going over all your feedback about taking screenshots in Windows – you’ll find the flow and tools are optimized for sharing and make communicating visually with others quick and easy.

What to expect once you update to this build:

Screen Sketch is now an app! Originally introduced as part of the Windows Ink Workspace, this comes with a variety of benefits, including that it can now be updated via the Microsoft Store, it will now show up in the list when you press Alt + tab, you can set the window size to be your preference if you like multitasking, and it even supports multiple windows (and tabs, thanks to Sets!).

Easy snipping is only a single step away. One of the loudest things we heard is that you want to be able to quickly snip & share a screenshot, and we’re making it happen! WIN + Shift + S will now bring up a snipping toolbar – snip a rectangle, something a bit more freeform, or full screen and it will go straight to your clipboard. If that’s all you need, you can take it from there. Want more, though? Immediately after taking a snip you’ll now get a notification that will take you and your snip to the Screen Sketch app where you can annotate and share away!

ALT-TEXT: Immediately after taking a snip you’ll now get a notification that will take you and your snip to the Screen Sketch app where you can annotate and share away!

But wait, there’s more! Is the WIN + Shift + S keyboard shortcut too long to remember? Guess what! We’ve added easy entry options for every input modality:

  • Just click the pen tail button. If you have a pen, go into Pen & Windows Ink Settings – you’ll find Screen Snipping is now an option for single click. This will launch you directly into our snipping experience:
  • Press Print Screen. You heard it right, just one button! It’s not enabled by default – go to Keyboard Settings – you’ll see a new option that says “Use the Print Screen key to launch screen snipping”. Opening Settings and searching for “print screen” will take you to the right page.

  • Press the quick action button in Action Center. Called “Screen snip” – it should be there as soon as you upgrade, but if not you can always enable it via Notifications & Actions Settings.

We’re looking for feedback! Tell us what you want to see next via the Feedback Hub under Apps > Screen Sketch– just click the ellipsis in the Screen Sketch app and it will take you straight there.

NOTE: After installing this build, please check the Microsoft Store for Screen Sketch app updates. You will need an updated version to receive the ability to crop screenshots.

Continuing the Sets Experiment

For the last few weeks, we have made the Sets experiment available to all Windows Insiders who have opted in to Skip Ahead. Now that the Fast ring and Skip Ahead are merging back together and will be receiving the same RS5 builds, we are going to continue with the controlled study just like we did back in December. This means that not all Insiders will see Sets. Insiders who were opted into Skip Ahead who had Sets previously will continue to have Sets. However, unlike the controlled study we did in December, the large majority of Insiders in the Fast ring will see Sets and a smaller group won’t.

More Fluent Design: Introducing acrylic in Task View

We’ve heard you like acrylic! We like it too – when you update to this build you’ll find that the entire Task View background now has a soft blur effect.

Windows Security improvements

Windows Defender Security Center is now called Windows Security. You can still get to the app in all the usual ways – simply ask Cortana to open Windows Security or interact with the taskbar icon. Windows Security lets you manage all your security needs, including Windows Defender Antivirus and Windows Defender Firewall.

We’re also bringing some changes to how we present threats and actions that need your attention, and we’re continuing to refine that over the coming months.

Focus assist improvements when gaming

Now Focus assist will turn on automatically when you’re playing any full screen game. No more interruptions when you’re crushing it. This behavior should be turned on automatically, but you can always check by going to Settings > System > Focus assist and ensuring the “When I’m playing a game” automatic rule is enabled.

Continuing our Sound Settings migration

Consolidating our settings experiences is an ongoing priority for us. We started our work moving Sound settings to Settings with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, and we’re happy to announce the next piece of that with today’s flight. Device properties has now been integrated into Settings – just click on the links in Sound Settings and you’ll find a new page where you can name your device and select your preferred spatial audio format.

Taking the Microsoft Pinyin and Wubi IMEs to the next level

Do you write in Chinese (Simplified)? We’re updating the Microsoft Pinyin IME! We’ve been focusing on addressing your performance, reliability and compatibility feedback. You’ll also notice a number of other improvements, including:

Design improvements – a new logo (for the Microsoft Pinyin IME), new IME toolbar, and dark theme support!

An updated context menu. We’ve added a bunch of options to the IME mode indicator’s context menu in the taskbar, so you can quickly access the things you need.

The IME now uses the same UX for Expressive Input as other languages. You can bring it up by clicking the emoji button in the IME toolbar, or use the Emoji Panel hotkeys (WIN + period (.) or WIN + semicolon (;)). You can browse between Emoji, Kaomoji, and Symbol input when Chinese (Simplified) is the active locale.

We’d love to hear what you think of this new experience – this link will take you to the Feedback Hub where you can share your thoughts.

Improving HEIC support

We announced support for the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17623. We are happy to announce that in build 17661 you can now rotate HEIF-format images in File Explorer, and edit metadata, such as “Date taken”.

The new functionality requires the latest version of the HEIF package. The latest version will be installed automatically be the Store. If automatic updates are disabled you can download the HEIF package manually using this link.

HEIF files use the HEVC video codec to compress the image into approximately half the size of JPEG. If your Windows PC does not already have the HEVC video codec, it can be purchased from the Windows Store using this link.

To rotate a HEIF image file, simply right-click on it in File Explorer and select “Rotate right” or “Rotate left” from the menu. “Date taken” and other properties can be edited by clicking on “Properties” and selecting the “Details” tab.

Please stay tuned for additional functionality related to the HEIF file format in future Windows 10 Insider Preview builds!

Some of the new features are interesting and exciting. For example, there's yet another way to take screenshots, on top of the existing keyboard shortcuts and the built-in Snipping Tool. There are also new Fluent Design elements, which is always fun.

What's disappointing is that Microsoft is once again limiting Sets to a subset of Insiders. Fortunately, if you've already got it, you won't lose it.

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