At the end of April 2018, Microsoft released a big update for Windows 10. This adds new features for productivity, security, and more.
Let's look at an overview of some of the most useful features added in this release.
Wait, Don't I Already Have Windows 10?
If you're new to Windows 10, you might not know that Microsoft's strategy with it is different than prior versions of Windows.
While Microsoft consistently released security patches for Windows 7 and 8, those operating systems stayed roughly the same throughout their lifetimes. With Windows 10, Microsoft is using an approach similar to Apple's macOS.
Roughly every six months, Microsoft releases a major update for Windows 10. It's not a change as radical as moving from, say, Windows 7 to Windows 10, but it does transform your experience somewhat.
Unfortunately, Microsoft's naming scheme for these updates isn't great. The prior version of Windows 10 was called the Fall Creators Update, while this latest version is called the April 2018 Update.
While your home PC might have this update already, your company's IT department decides when to update business machines. For our Managed Services clients, we plan to run yearly Windows 10 updates in June. Thus, you can expect the latest Windows 10 updates to arrive around then.
When Windows 10 is ready to update, you'll see a prompt like this appear:
Note that it takes some time to install, so you should only start the process when you won't need to use your computer for a while.
Probably the biggest new feature of the April 2018 Update is the Timeline. This feature allows you to step back through what you've done on your PC recently to make it easy to resume your work.
To open it, click the Task View icon on your Taskbar (next to the Cortana icon) or use the keyboard shortcut Windows + Tab. Below your currently open apps, you'll see a list of activities starting with Earlier Today. This might include pages from Microsoft Edge, documents from Word, and similar activities.
Click one to open it and return to where you were. As you continue scrolling, you'll see activities from prior days. If you're not interested in a particular element, right-click it and select Remove to hide it.
Easily Share With Other Devices
Mac and iPhone users will be familiar with Apple's AirDrop, which lets you easily share files with other devices on your network. Now, Windows 10 has a similar feature with Nearby Sharing.
With Bluetooth enabled on your computer, you can click the Share button in apps like Microsoft Edge of Photos to send the file over to another computer. There's even a Share button in the File Explorer to make it easier than ever to send files.
Easier Font Management
Windows includes some default fonts, but you can install many more from the internet. With this update, it's easier to manage and install fonts.
To view the fonts installed on your system, open Settings > Personalization > Fonts. You'll see previews of all the fonts you have. Click one for detailed information and to enter your own text to preview.
Click the Get more fonts in Microsoft Store link to visit the new Microsoft Store page for additional fonts. There aren't many available yet (and some of them even cost money), but hopefully more will appear in the future.
Diagnostic Data Viewer
Windows 10 has raised many privacy concerns since its launch. In order to improve the ever-changing product, Microsoft collects lots of usage data about how its users interact with the operating system. In the latest update, you can see exactly what data your computer collects and sends to Microsoft, and even delete it.
This move to make Windows 10 more transparent should hopefully ease the concerns of many users.
These are some of the headline features of the April 2018 Update, but you'll find many other smaller changes as well.
- It's simpler than ever to pair Bluetooth devices. Supported devices will now show a notification that lets you pair it with one click instead of diving into a menu.
- Microsoft has streamlined the update process, meaning that your computer won't have as much down time during major updates.
- The Privacy tab in Settings now lets you disable your webcam for all apps.
- The Quiet Hours feature is now called Focus Assist, and lets you choose what notifications you let through when you don't want to be disturbed.
Take a look around, and you'll find even more changes. Windows 10 is a regularly evolving product. While this may cause some issues along the way, it's great to get new features a few times a year instead of waiting years for a new version of Windows.