Windows 10 October 2018 update enables DirectX Ray-Tracing, packs new features

Microsoft enabled DXR API needed to use Ray-Tracing from any supporting hardware

Microsoft rolled out its Windows 10 October 2018 update- Version 1809. The most anticipated support is the DirectX Ray-Tracing (DXR) which is needed to use the Ray-Tracing on the Nvidia graphics cards. At the time of writing, no games have RTX support. AMD is completely silent about its commitment to Ray-Tracing enabled graphics.

DXR is enabled by default with this update.

The DXR is made to support ray tracing from its system hardware from any hardware with this feature. It is expected for ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’, ‘Battlefield V’ and Metro Exodus to be the first with DXR enabled. Futuremark is working on the Ray-Tracing benchmark. Hopefully, things should shape up by the end of October.

Contrary to the popular facade…

Contrary to how one shapes its marketing material and press releases, Ray-Tracing is not Nvidia exclusive. It is not clear what to expect, including its expected performance drop with RTX enabled compared to traditional approach. While many users understand that first generation hardware to make such implementations would have a bumpy ride until newer architectures come out, the pricing and non-DXR performance left people disappointed, including those expecting RTX 2080 as the next upgrade option.

While Ray-Tracing doesn’t change anyway the game is made, it is a new way to render reflections, shadows and ambient occlusion. It is considered to be a step in the direct direction as its traditional rasterization method is crude.

Other additions

Microsoft had other changes- renaming Display Settings to Graphics Settings, Zoom-in for text in Notepad, Power Usage and Power Usage Trend in tabs in Task Manager, a dark theme for File Explorer, ‘Safe Removal’ feature added for External GPU docks (via Thunderbolt 3), Game Bar redesign and the ability to configure media auto-play settings on each websites.

Some of the relevant change logs are as follows:

  • Windows Interface

    • File Explorer now features a dark theme when Dark Mode is enabled in Settings.
    • You can now name live folders in Start.
    • A new “safe removal” feature has been added that lists open applications that might be using an external GPU connected via Thunderbolt 3.
    • Notifications in the Action Center now feature a fade-in effect when the Action Center is opened.
    • A redesigned snipping experience is present and can be accessed via WIN + SHIFT + S.
    • Snips will now present a notification that will open up into Screen Sketch, which is now a dedicated app.
    • You can now configure pen peripherals to take a snip when pressing a button.
    • The Print Screen button can now be configured to open Screen Sketch.
    • A new “Screen snip” action has been added to quick actions in the Action Center.
    • Copied content can now be seen in a new clipboard experience, accessed with WIN+V, that can also sync to the cloud and across devices.
    • There are now three different modes you can select when wirelessly projecting your screen, and these modes are game, productivity, and video modes.
    • Users upgrading to this release for the first time will be welcomed with a post-OOBE UI that walks the user through setting up new features added in this release.
    • Game Bar has been redesigned with new features including an overview of system performance and more.
    • Search will now provide a download link for programs searched online.
    • You can now use Windows Mixed Reality without a monitor.
    • Storage Sense can now switch files to “online-only” if they haven’t been accessed after a certain number of days, saving space on your local disk.
    • Pen users can now ink directly into text boxes by default.
    • Users can now view the real world when using Windows Mixed Reality using a headsets built-in camera.
    • Emoji 11 is now available.
    • Game bar is now accessible via the Apps List in Start.
  • Windows Settings

    • Bluetooth peripherals will now display their battery percentage within Settings.
    • Data Usage has been updated with roaming usage information.
    • You can now choose to keep your mouse centered on the screen when using the Magnifier tool.
    • Magnifier tool can now be incremented by 5 or 10 percent.
    • Focus Assist will now enable itself regardless of what game you’re playing.
    • Sound device properties have now been integrated into the Settings app.
    • Settings will now suggest common questions asked by users and present answers in the sidebar.
    • Settings now feature tips and suggestions on the home page.
    • You can now override default regional format settings such as Calendar, First day of the week, Dates, Times, and Currency.
    • SwiftKey now powers the on-screen and touch keyboards.
    • Typing insights are now available in the Settings app.
    • You can now make text size bigger separately from the overall display scaling options in Settings.
    • A new Windows HD color page is now available under Display Settings that let you configure HDR settings.
    • Windows now supports leap seconds.
    • Windows Update will now use machine learning to determine when to install and not install updates.
  • System Apps

    • “Your Phone” app is now present that syncs with your Android and iPhone to share photos, notifications, SMS conversations, and more.
    • You can now search in the Calendar app.
    • Windows Calculator now correctly calculates square roots for perfect squares.
    • Windows Defender Security Center has been renamed to “Windows Security” and now features Fluent Design.
    • Notepad now features Unix/Linus line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR.)
    • Wrap-around find/replace now available in Notepad.
    • You can now zoom in to text in Notepad.
    • Line numbers now work with word-wrap.
    • You can now right-click and “Search with Bing” text highlighted in Notepad.
    • Narrator’s scan mode now supports selecting content in Microsoft Edge, Word, Outlook, Mail, and most text surfaces.
    • Skype universal has been redesigned and updated with new features.
    • Task Manager now features “power usage” and “power usage trend” tabs.
  • Miscellaneous changes and fixes

    • Other than for the first setup, you no longer have to have a monitor connected to your PC when using Windows Mixed Reality.
    • Apps running in Windows Mixed Reality can now make use of the Camera Capture UI API to capture images of the mixed reality world using the system capture experience.
    • Updated the touch keyboard so that if you try to shape write in an unsupported text field or when the typing resources aren’t installed, you won’t see the shape-writing trail as you swipe your finger over the keys.
    • Updated the “Advanced graphics settings” link on the Display Settings page to now just say “Graphics Settings.”
    • When your volume is muted, the volume icons in the Sound Settings page will also now appear muted.
    • If you click the Reset button on the App volume and device preferences page, it will now also reset any app-specific volumes you’ve set back to default (100%).
    • Updated Start so that it now follows the new Ease of Access setting to enable or disable hiding scrollbars.
    • Updated the new notification to fix blurry apps so that it now will persist in the Action Center to be accessed later once the toast has timed out and dismissed.
    • Consolidated the places where users can adjust their display brightness by removing the display brightness slider in Control Panel Power Options and the “Display brightness” section under Power Options Advanced Settings.
    • When you clean install or do a PC refresh, you’ll find that the Out of Box Experience for setting up your PC now includes a page for enabling activity history sync, which will help you continue what you were doing, even when you switch devices.
    • Adjusted how you access skin tones in the Emoji Panel – you’ll now see a row of skin tone colors to select from when people emoji are in view.
    • When you hover over the Windows icon in the taskbar, a tooltip will now appear for Start.
    • Updated the design of the handwriting panel so that the delete button is now a top-level button. The button to switch languages is now under the “…” menu.
    • If you go to Pen & Windows Ink Settings, you’ll find a new option that allows your pen to behave like a mouse instead of scrolling or panning the screen.
    • We’ve updated the design of This PC so that there’s no longer space displayed for the cloud files state icon.
    • Made some adjustments to improve the quality of audio when recording clips using the game bar (WIN+G).
    • When you hover over the leaf icon in Task Manager’s Status column, you will now see a tooltip describing what it means (this app is suspending processes to help improve system performance).
    • If you’ve enabled WSL, you’ll now see an option to “Open Linux Shell here” when you Shift + Right-click on the whitespace of a File Explorer folder.
    • Introduced preview support for same-site cookies in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11.
    • RSAT is now a feature on demand.
    • To improve discoverability, we’ve moved Delivery Optimization Settings to now be directly listed as a category under Settings > Update & Security.
    • Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge and Gigantic files are now defined as 0 – 10KB, 16KB – 1MB, 1 MB to 128 MB, 128 MB – 1 GB, 1 GB – 4 GB, and > 4 GB, respectively in File Explorer.
    • Added new keywords to help you get to the settings you’re looking for – for example, “rename” will now find “View your PC name” (from which you can rename your PC).
    • To improve clarity, we’ve separated Settings > Privacy > Speech, Inking & typing into two settings: Settings > Privacy > Speech and Settings > Privacy > Inking & typing personalization.
    • Added DTS:X to the list of spatial audio technologies you can use.
    • Addressed a crash in the audio troubleshooter if querying the volume or mute state failed.
    • When using the touch keyboard, you’ll find that the clipboard button is now always visible in the candidate pane. Tapping it will bring up your clipboard history for you to browse and paste from.
    • Shape writing on the touch keyboard is now available when using English (Australia.)
    • Updated Ease of Access flyout on the login screen so that Narrator now has an on / off toggle.
    • Azure Active Directory and Active Directory users using Windows Hello for Business can use biometrics to authenticate to a remote desktop session.
    • Your Phone app is pinned to the desktop by default.

Windows 10 October 2018 update enables DirectX Ray-Tracing, packs new features from hardware

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