As the weekend approaches Microsoft pushed two new test builds today, first a new Wndows 10 Redstone 5 (RS5) Build 17623 to the Skip Ahead, along side a new RTM candidate for the upcoming spring update — a new Redstone 4 (RS4) Build 17123 for Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.
Microsoft also earlier this week released a Windows 10 Insider Preview RS4 Build 17120 for Fast ring, along side Windows 10 SDK Preview Build 17115, and Project Honolulu Technical Preview 1803 and RSAT Insider Preview for Windows 10.
With this new Skip Ahead build Microsoft has begun testing a new feature that will force Windows 10 Mail links to open in Edge browser, regardless of a user’s default brower preference. Edge “provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices,” Dona Sarkar wrote in a blog post.
This build 17623 also includes some focus on privacy settings and improvements to Windows Defender, but are now merged into the Redstone 5 branch.
Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG), includes performance enhancements in the launch time, as well as a new ability to “download files from within WDAG” to the host. This feature is available in the Windows 10 Enterprise edition and must be turned on. Once the feature is enabled, users will be able to download files into a folder created in their Downloads folder and open all files on the host.
Here is WDAG UI in Local Group Policies:
An screenshot showing “allow files to download”:
Additionally, both the builds released today, brings in support for High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) in the OS and Photos app. HEIF, as Microsoft explains “is an image container leveraging modern codecs, like HEVC to improve image quality and compression compared to formats, like JPEG, GIF, and PNG.” HEIF also is capable of supporting encoding image sequences, image collections, auxiliary images like alpha or depth maps, live images & video, audio, and HDR for greater contrast.
In order to test this feature, Insiders need to be a part of the Windows App Preview program for the Photos app and make sure to run Version 2018.18022.13740.0 or newer of Photos app. Then you need to install media extensions, like HEIF and HEVC from Microsoft Store to enable HEIF viewing in Photos as well as thumbnails and metadata in File Explorer.
Additionally, application using WIC, WinRT Imaging APIs, or XAML Image control can also now add similar support for viewing single HEIF images.
This RS5 build introduces a new feature “Safe remove experience for external GPUs connected via Thunderbolt 3” that informs about applications running on an external GPU.
To safely remove an external graphics card, just go to “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” icon and click to eject your GPU. Any applications currently running on an external GPU will show a dialog, so you can close the apps to safely remove the device.
Build 17623 alos, includes a fix to Microsoft Store being broken or missing issue, as well as fixes to some of Mixed Reality problems in recent test builds, among other changes and improvements.
Microsoft also has updated Cortana section in its Settings in this build so it’s now called “Cortana & Search.”