Microsoft's Windows 10 April 2018 Update is due out any day now, and it's a big one.
As was the case with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, plenty of the features are geared toward consumers, but the enterprise world wasn't forgotten. There are plenty of changes to Windows 10 in the April 2018 Update that affect business users too.
The entire list of big changes coming in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update are featured in this TechRepublic gallery, but here are nine of them that really stand out for enterprise users.
Note on April 27, 2018: The expected name for this Windows 10 update was Spring Creators Update, though it was revealed it will be Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
1. The Timeline
Pressing the Windows Key and Tab at the same time brings up the Timeline. This quick history view shows the apps you've been using and the files you've had open in them, making jumping back into work a breeze.
Those signed in to a Microsoft account on their PC will be able to pull up their timeline on other devices as well, including Android and iOS devices with Cortana installed.
2. Windows Defender Application Guard comes to Win 10 Pro
Also known as WDAG, this feature used to be exclusive to consumer versions of Windows 10 but is now available for Windows 10 Professional users.
WDAG is an extra security feature in the Microsoft Edge browser that uses containers to isolate downloads to protect systems. Downloaded malware is stuck in a container and unable to do damage, which may make some administrators consider mandating Edge use in the office.
3. Windows AI platform with pre-trained machine learning models
One of the most cumbersome parts of getting started with machine learning is training a new AI to do what you want. That phase could be a barrier to entry for smaller companies, but not with the Windows AI platform set to debut in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.
Windows AI will come with several different pre-trained learning machines that many companies may find fit their needs without having to invest countless hours teaching it how to do basic sorting.
4. Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer
Back when I was in tech support, viewing dump files and diagnostics required several steps depending on how the system was set up, but not anymore. In the April 2018 Update, Windows diagnostic reports will be viewable in the Diagnostic Data Viewer.
All the data that Windows wants to send to Microsoft can be looked at, though it takes a bit of knowledge to know what you're looking at—Windows will let you view it but it doesn't translate anything from computer speak to plain English.
5. Improved folder access restrictions for apps
In the Settings application under the Privacy tab are four new options: Documents, Pictures, Camera, and File System. Under each of those categories is the option to toggle access to those Windows components for any application on the computer.
SEE: Securing Windows policy (Tech Pro Research)
This is a huge benefit for those concerned about privacy and security—now applications won't be able to access the File System unless access is granted by the user.
6. Multi-GPU management
Need to cut down on office power bills? This could be the setting you've been waiting for.
A new option has been added for high-performance computers that use both onboard and discrete video cards: the ability to specify which apps get access to which.
You'll find these options in the System app under System -> Display. There you can see all the apps installed on a machine and tell each one which card it can use.
7. New Windows Subsystem for Linux features
Several quality-of-life features have been added to the WSL:
- Unix sockets are now available, meaning that WSL instances can now communicate with the Windows system they're installed on. Specifically, the Linux Docker Client will be able to talk to the Windows Docker Daemon.
- Linux tasks can keep running in the background when the WSL terminal is closed.
- Linux permissions can be added to file metadata.
- Debugging Node.js projects in WSL just got easier: The VS code IDE can be used inside WSL.
- The WSLENV environment variable can be shared between Linux and Windows.
- A tool called wslpath has been added to make converting files from Windows to Linux easier.
8. Bandwidth management now available in Group Policy
In the Group Policy Editor, under Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Delivery Optimization is a new feature: the ability to control app and Windows update bandwidth.
GP managers can now throttle update delivery based on time of day or individual machine, saving bandwidth during peak business hours and moving those updates to the evening where they belong.
9. VM deployment improvements
A quick create tool for building custom VM images is coming with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, which is sure to please anyone who does testing in an IT environment.
You can find more details about this feature on Microsoft's website.
- Will my computer run the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: How to get it early (TechRepublic)
- What's new in Windows 10 version 1803, the Spring Creators Update (ZDNet)
- Windows 10 Spring Creators Update: Act fast to delay this big upgrade (ZDNet)
- IT pro's guide to effective patch management (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.