After a few hiccups along the way, including a pullback due to Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) issues, the next major Windows 10 update is finally starting to roll out.
The major update, now officially known as the “Windows 10 April 2018 Update” is bringing a number of new features including Timeline and more Fluent Design tweaks plus Edge and Cortana enhancements.
Internally codenamed “Redstone 4,” it was supposed to have been released on April 10 but was pulled back due to reliability issues. Since it’s now rolling out, it appears that Microsoft has ironed out any serious bugs that were leading to a high percentage of BSOD errors.
Similar to earlier major Windows 10 updates, such as the Creators Update and the Fall Creators Update, the “April 2018 Update” will likewise remove a number of older features.
Read on and we’ll break down the most noteworthy features of the new “Windows 10 April 2018 Update.”
WINDOWS 10 APRIL 2018 UPDATE
One of the major features being introduced in the next Windows 10 update is Timeline. This feature is a new management system for current and previously running apps.
By adding a history feature in the Task View, you can see what apps you ran during the course of a day and resume them.
Not only that, similar to Apple’s Continuity and Handoff features, you can resume the tasks on other Windows 10 machines and compatible apps on iOS or Android gadgets.
Windows Dictation is getting a quick launch shortcut in the April 2018 Update. Just press the Windows key and H to enable dictation on any app.
The Windows 10 April 2018 Update will be introducing a new mode called Focus Assist. This is the new and improved version of the old Windows 10 do-not-disturb mode called Quiet Hours.
With Focus Assist, users can now automatically mute notifications during specific activities and times of the day.
The Fall Creators Update made Cortana smarter with faster answers without the need for an open browser.
With the Spring Creators Update, Cortana will go cross-platform! With an improved collections feature, you’ll be able to create lists and sync between gadgets that have the Cortana app installed, going beyond Windows 10 computers.
Natural language voice control for third-party music apps like Spotify and Pandora are also being introduced.
Windows Fluent Design System
The Windows Fluent Design philosophy was introduced in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, bringing elements of transparency and animation that it previously lacked.
We’re expecting more Fluent Design improvements in the next update that will focus on light, depth and motion effects in the Windows 10 user interface.
A new way to communicate with your family and friends was introduced in the Fall Creators Update via the “My People Hub.” Basically, it’s a taskbar icon that provides a quick way to launch communication apps.
With the Spring Creators Update, Microsoft will let you add up to 10 contacts on the People Hub and see them on its pop-up menu.
A number of worthwhile features are also slated for Microsoft’s browser, Microsoft Edge.
First is the ability to mute audio from specific tabs. This will definitely come in handy when silencing browser auto-play videos.
Microsoft Edge will also get more Fluency Design improvements, expanded e-book support and more touchpad gestures.
Comparable to Apple’s AirDrop, this new Windows 10 feature Nearby Sharing will allow you to share files, documents, photos, and websites to other Windows 10 machines in the vicinity.
Since this method is quicker than emailing a file, Nearby Sharing can be a welcome feature when sharing files with your office mates and nearby friends.
Accessing Microsoft’s biometric security system Windows Hello will be easier than ever. With the update, you can easily set up your Windows Hello face, fingerprint or PIN straight from lock screen via the new Windows Hello icon under Sign-In options.
Windows Ink is getting a couple of upgrades in the April 2018 update.
First, you can now choose to write directly on any text field with your digital pen instead of typing. The delay and latency of your digital pen have also improved by up to 30-50 percent, making this version the fastest Windows Ink yet.
Various improvements are also coming to the Xbox Game Bar, Microsoft Photos, Windows Mixed Reality and 3D animation support, Windows Defender notifications, quick Bluetooth pairing and independent audio settings per application.
Features that are getting axed
As usual, some older Windows 10 features and applications will be removed in the latest update. Typically, Microsoft removes or stops developing apps and features because there are already better options in place.
Here’s the list:
Groove Music Pass (You can still stream music locally or from OneDrive)
Homegroup (file and printer sharing is now done via File Explorer)
Control Panel Language Control (Use Settings app instead)
Automatic open Wi-FI hotspot connections (you can still manually connect to hotspots)
People app – suggestions will no longer include unsaved non-Microsoft account contacts
XPS Viewer (can still be manually installed)
Features no longer developed:
Phone Companion (you can still use the Phone page within Settings)
Contacts feature in File Explorer (Use the People app instead)
Windows Help Viewer (Help information is still available online)
Software Restriction Policies in Group Policy (Use AppLocker or Windows Defender instead)
Offline symbol packages
IPv4/6 Transition Technologies
How to get the update
The Windows 10 April 2018 Update is currently rolling out but it could take some time, even weeks or months before it becomes available to your device.
First off, make sure your Windows 10 machine has enough space. Major updates are larger than your typical Patch Tuesday updates so it’s a good time to review and reclaim your hard drive space. For example, last year’s Fall Creators Update clocked in at more than 30 GB.
Also, it’s important that you have a backup of your files before you proceed with the update, just in case something goes wrong during the process.
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Once you have all the requirements set, keep an eye on a Windows notification telling you that your update is ready to download and install.
Alternatively, once the update goes live and you can’t wait, you can grab the whole Windows image from here. This method requires intermediate technical know-how so we recommend that you just wait for the update to be pushed to your machine instead. Note: I don’t recommend forcing an update, especially a major update like this one (wait for Automatic Updates instead).
“Microsoft Is Finally Rolling Out Its MAJOR Windows 10 Update.” The Kim Komando Show, 2018, https://www.komando.com/happening-now/457893/microsoft-is-finally-rolling-out-its-major-windows-10-update.