Image 1 of 16
Windows 10 April 2018 Update
Windows 10 is changing again, with another truckload of new features due to roll out from this month.
This latest crop of improvements expected to be pushed out as the ‘April 2018 Update’ is once again a mix of new functionality and under the hood tweaks.
Here’s what to look out for, with changes running the gamut from Timeline’s pick up where you left off feature, to the easier sharing of files and links between PCs, and from better online protection for small businesses, to giving users more control over privacy.
Windows’ equivalent of Apple’s AirDrop feature, allowing nearby Windows 10 devices to share contacts, files and URLs via Bluetooth.
How to use it: Apps like Photos, Microsoft Edge and File Explorer have a Share icon, which when clicked will have an option to look for nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices you may want to share with. The recipient gets a notification via the Action Center and when they accept, the transfer takes place.
A new look
Microsoft continues to roll out its new Fluent Design System to Windows 10, which overhauls the look of the OS to be more visually appealing and make its interfaces more intuitive.
The design tweaks aim to create a distinctive look: adding light, depth, motion, and the quality of physical materials to the Windows’ UI and apps.
These effects can be seen in new locations throughout the OS, such as the glowing cursor Reveal effect, seen here lighting up the borders of the OneNote entry in the All Apps list.
The same Reveal effect is also now used in the My People hub.
Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer
This new tool lets you see exactly what data Microsoft is collecting from your PC.
The viewer allows Windows 10 PC admins to examine the data sent to Microsoft by the Universal Telemetry Client.
This information relates to: common data, device connectivity and configuration, product and service performance, product and service usage, software setup and inventory, browsing history, inking, typing, and speech utterance data.
How to use it: The viewer is accessible by navigating to Settings -> Privacy -> Diagnostics & feedback. Enable the Diagnostic Data Viewer toggle and then click the Get button to install the app from the store.
Once the app is launched, you can drill down into the data by selecting a “diagnostic event” from the left column and browsing the list of data collected. You can also filter by specific categories and search for specific terms. However, be warned, not all of the data is intelligible to the average computer user.
The new quick pair feature aims to make it easy to connect two devices via Bluetooth. Holding a supported Bluetooth devices near your PC should trigger an Action Center notification asking if you want to pair the PC with the device.
How to use it: Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled in Settings-> Devices -> Bluetooth & other devices.
Next put your Bluetooth peripheral in pairing mode and move it close to the Windows 10 PC. The Windows 10 Action Center should show a notification, select Connect to pair the device with the PC.
Windows Defender Application Guard for Pro
Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) is designed to help protect firms against online threats by adding container-based isolation to Windows 10’s Edge browser, allowing it to safely contain malware so it can’t spread within a company’s network.
The update both improves performance when browsing using WDAG, but also allows users to download files from the container to the host machine.
WDAG is also available on the Windows 10 Pro edition for the first time, however the download to host machine feature is reserved for the Enterprise edition.
How to use it: Search for Features in the Windows search bar, open Windows Features and then tick the box marked Windows Defender Application Guard.
Restart your computer and then start up the Edge web browser, click on the three dots in the top righthand corner, and then New Application Guard window.
New download limits
While you can already limit how much bandwidth is used for background downloads, for example for Windows 10’s regular updates, now you can also limit foreground downloads, for example when you click to download an app from the Windows Store.
How to use it: Go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update -> Advanced Options -> Delivery Optimization -> Advanced Options, then adjust the slider under Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the foreground.
New privacy controls
There’s now more control over which apps have access to your PC’s webcam, with the ability to toggle off access for all apps, not just apps from the Microsoft Store. You can also restrict which apps have access to your Documents, Pictures and Videos folders and the wider file system, with the ability to approve apps each time they make an access request.
How to use it: To control camera access go to Settings -> Privacy -> Camera and toggle Let apps use my camera hardware.
To control access to the file system / personal folders, go to Settings -> Privacy and at the bottom of the lefthand menu there are four separate access settings pages: Document, Pictures, Videos and File system.
Improved My People hub
Contacts in the My People hub can now be dragged up or down to change their priority, and dragged between the Taskbar and the My People hub. Up to 10 people can now also be pinned to the Taskbar.
How to use it: Click on the My People icon on the Taskbar, the white silhouette of two people, and drag the image of the contact up and down in the flyout to change their priority, or drag pinned contacts to and from the Taskbar.
Progressive Web Apps
Good news for those disappointed with the poor selection of software in the Microsoft Store — the update will add support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to the store, a move which has the potential to massively expand its selection of apps.
PWAs are basically web apps that behave like native apps, able to work offline, send notifications and be installed on PCs.
PWAs are already supported in major browsers such as Chrome, and that large potential userbase should give developers greater incentive to develop PWAs than is the case for UWP apps on the Microsoft Store.
One of the first PWA Store apps to be revealed is this offering from Twitter.
Fonts settings page
It’s never been easier to tweak the Fonts in Windows 10, thanks to the new Settings page that shows Font previews and colors, as well as allowing you to customize their appearance using sliders.
How to use it: Navigate to Settings -> Personalization -> Fonts and you can, install and uninstall fonts from the system, as well as buying new Fonts from the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft Edge mute and more
Microsoft’s Edge browser gets a host of new features, such as the ability to mute tabs, the ability to pin a book to the Start menu, support for extensions in Private Mode and autofill on web payment forms, and a redesigned hub that shows bookmarks, downloads, eBooks and history.
How to use it: To mute a tab in Edge right click the tab and select Mute tab. Annoyingly this option seems to be greyed out until sound starts playing. There also doesn’t seem to be a Mute site option as offered by Google Chrome.
Owners of PCs with a discrete graphics card, who want to make sure it’s not sucking up power unnecessarily, gain more control over which software uses the discrete GPU, and which software uses the less power-hungry integrated graphics chip.
How to use it: Go to Settings -> System -> Display, scroll down and select Graphics settings. Click on the app you want to customize and select Power saving for that app to favor integrated graphics and High performance to favor the discrete GPU.
Cortana's new Organizer
Cortana gets a new ‘Organizer’ tab to provide a single place to view lists and reminders, while skills — the name for the services that Cortana can command — are brought together under a Manage Skills tab. Cortana recently gained the ability to work with the IFTTT service, as well as a number of new smart home devices, such as the Ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, and LIFX. However Cortana still lags far behind its rival Amazon Alexa in terms of the number of supported skills.
How to use it: The Organizer and Manage Skills tabs are accessible by opening Cortana and clicking on the Notebook, the third icon down in the lefthand bar.
Cortana collections combined with Lists
Microsoft has merged its Lists feature with Cortana Collections, which sees the virtual assistant suggest items you might be interested in making a note of based on your browsing history in Edge — for example suggesting books, recipes or restaurants you might want to save for future reference. Lists on Windows 10 PCs also sync with iPhone and Androids handsets running Cortana.
Cortana’s suggestions for the action you might like to take next have also moved to the Action Center.
How to use it: Open Cortana, click on the Notebook, the third icon down, then click on Lists.
Start-up apps controls
Other changes include various options migrating to the Settings app, including:
u25cf Configuration for Apps that run during startup — available via Settings -> Apps-> Startup.
u25cf Sound configuration — available via Settings -> System -> Sound.
- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: How to get it early (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: How to delay it (TechRepublic)
- Will my computer run the Windows 10tApril 2018 Update? (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 Spring Creators Update is loaded with productivity features (ZDNet)
- Microsoft 365 bundle gets a slew of updates as part of Windows 10 April rollout (ZDNet)
- Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update aims to shield us from notifications (CNET)
- Software usage policy (Tech Pro Research)