Microsoft unveils a name and a date for the next Windows 10 update

After early 2017's Creators Update and the Fall Creators Update later last year, Microsoft has been mysteriously quiet about the name of the next big Windows update. The company let the cat out of the bag in a recent blog post. The next biannual release will be called the April 2018 Update, and its release on Monday will get it out the door on the last day of the month.

Microsoft says the big focus in the new update is on saving time. The company is especially proud of a new Timeline feature that aims to make it easier to find things a user has worked on in the last 30 days. The feature even works across PCs and mobile devices, provided one is signed into a Microsoft account and using Office 365 and Edge on their Android or iOS device.

The Focus Assist feature turns off social media and related distractions in order to help the user work more effectively. Focus Assist can be activated manually or be scheduled to start automatically at certain times. When the Focus Assist period is over, Windows provides a summary of the hushed notifications and updates.

The Edge browser gets some new features as well, including a button to mute or unmute sound playing from a specific tab. The browser can now show books, PDF documents, and Reading View pages in distraction-free full-screen mode. A new clutter-free print option could help make printed web pages easier to read and save some paper and ink in the process. A new set of grammar tools can break words into syllables and highlight parts of speech in a sentence, among other functionality.

The feature that caught my attention was the pumped-up dictation options. My wife and I use Amazon Echo Dots for home automation and entertainment in our house, and I use voice-to-text on my Android phone quite a bit, so keyboard input sometimes seems like a bit of a throwback on my Windows PCs. Microsoft says once the April 2018 Update is installed, users can put the cursor in any text box, press Win+H, and just start dictating text. The software firm also says it's  improved the Cortana voice assistant's ability to work with smart home devices like thermostats from Ecobee, Honeywell, and Nest.

Microsoft says the April 2018 Update will include other goodies like improved Mixed Reality capabilities and new tools for photos and system management. Users will have to join the Insider Program or wait until fall to get access to the tabbed File Explorer that many have been waiting for, though. Windows 10 users can download and install the April 2018 Update starting Monday, April 30.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 1 year ago

    What I want them to do right now is fix their schizophrenic patching cycles that have such poor QA they introduce as many bugs as they fix, taking several re-patches to get fixed right.

    • rechicero
    • 1 year ago

    So I’ll need to fix the registry. Again. Great 🙁

      • isotope123
      • 1 year ago

      If you’d rather something do it for you, I’ve been using [url=https://www.reddit.com/r/TronScript/<]TronScript[/url<]. And it's worked well for me.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 1 year ago

    Having recently being forced into Office 365 / 2016, I can confidently say that MS has no clue what they are doing anymore. Their entire staff is out of touch with users, as seen by their support/feedback forums as well as design decisions. I sat through HOURS of required learning on all their half-baked sideline apps like Yammer learning about each individual feature 2 minutes at a time with some extremely-high-productive-value extremely-low-information videos. Only to end up finally getting Outlook 2016 desktop installed (because g0od lord is the online version completely worthless with its default SIX mail messages visible at a time) and have to google each individual tweak I want to do.

    Maybe its confirmation bias, but when the top several suggestions is a variation of “fix the terrible UI and waste of screen space you damn idiots” , originating from 2014 if not earlier; one thinks that MS is out of touch.

    Maybe its just silly of me not to want massive spaces being completed wasted. Maybe its silly that the color coding for “categories” should be able to be applied to not only the font, not only a tiny 8 pixel sized square that is surrounded by more completely useless and space wasting white space ; but instead be used to color code the entire background of that specific email. SILLY ME.

    Then Win10 happened. Jesus. F’ing. Christ. People wonder why us “old folks” (only 35!) want to go back to the old versions.

    • highlandr
    • 1 year ago

    I already have a Focus Assist Feature. Earbuds, with Soma.fm or Pandora’s “Deep House Drive” station. Get with the program, Microsoft!

    • gmskking
    • 1 year ago

    You can probably ditch the 10 and just call it Windows.

    • sweatshopking
    • 1 year ago

    Most important feature is probably Pwa support.

    • Bumper
    • 1 year ago

    Where’s the addition of application specific audio playback device choice?

      • sweatshopking
      • 1 year ago

      Can’t you do that already?

        • Bumper
        • 1 year ago

        There are apps that do this. I don’t know of a way to do it using windows audio options.

          • sweatshopking
          • 1 year ago

          Was thinking about the audio mixer, which allows you to control audio volume for each specific app, but i don’t know if you can configure multiple audio devices, and I only have one device setup.

        • cygnus1
        • 1 year ago

        No. You can control individual volume of apps, but you can’t set App A to go to headphones and App B to go to speakers.

          • spiketheaardvark
          • 1 year ago

          Apps can select what their output device is, but most don’t have the option(skype is the only one I’ve seen recently) and just use whatever is the active default. But along with proper color space management this is something that people have been asking for a while.

            • cygnus1
            • 1 year ago

            True, apps can do it if they’re built to. Definitely seen it in skype and other voip apps and even some games. But no control panel or other OS tool to redirect an apps audio to other devices. I don’t really know that many users would ever use the feature, but I do think it could be pretty handy.

    • w76
    • 1 year ago

    I’d love a peek at their telemetry data. I bet monthly user usage of so much of the stuff they’ve added in recent years (3D paint, mixed reality) is in the low single digits, if not nearly zero for desktops.

    The only thing in this update that sounds good for a long-time Windows user is the tabbed File Explorer — except Stardock’s Groupy program probably has a superior implementation, and nothing from Microsoft seems likely to enable me to move away from MultiCommander.

    Everything else I wish I could toggle off to ensure there’s no performance hit from, for example, it tracking my every move for 30 days in case I want to go back to an app or webpage.

    I think they keep tossing out features hoping for a home-run, and keep trying to build up a OneDrive/Office/Cortana/Microsoft Store ecosystem to a point where they can start walling off the garden, but 90% of this is stuff users don’t want.

    Edit: I’ll add the slideshow function in Photos is cool — or it would be, if you could save a larger project and go back to it later. As it is, it seems to be you can finish it all in one go or start from scratch again later, and no tweaks once you export. My wife was hoping it’d be a real Movie Maker replacement, but that it aint. Hopefully it gets a little more attention, because it’s at least part way there!

      • arunphilip
      • 1 year ago

      [quote<]The only thing in this update that sounds good for a long-time Windows user is the tabbed File Explorer[/quote<] Hate to burst your bubble, but tabs (aka Sets) are not in this release. It is in the next release RS5, which is expected about 6 months later.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 year ago

      The philosophy of [i<]innovate or die[/i<], applied to mature software. I'm mostly not super pleased with the changes MS makes in their various software, but I guess the new reality is that you're going down the river, whether you like it or not.

    • Aranarth
    • 1 year ago

    I’m betting the dictation tool will be a big hit for my kids!

    I might even use it a little bit… 😀

      • trackerben
      • 1 year ago

      Same!

    • Lemonsquare
    • 1 year ago

    Not mentioned in this article/for clarity: Wide release via Windows Update starting May 8 (Patch Tuesday), but can be manually downloaded ahead of time on April 30th (ISO).

    Basically May 2018 Update…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    [quote<] The Focus Assist feature turns off social media and related distractions in order to help the user work more effectively.[/quote<] Does it also turn off "Would you recommend Windows 10 to a friend" and "download the latest apps from the Microsoft Store!" notifications? If so, that's an instant on for me.

      • EzioAs
      • 1 year ago

      It mutes notifications so, I’m gonna go with yes.

      By the way, I think I’ve only gotten once the recommend question and nothing else other than that really so I’m really curious how and who they push the notifications to.

      • jessterman21
      • 1 year ago

      You forgot “We found one or more settings that could affect your battery life.”

        • kvndoom
        • 1 year ago

        On a desktop.

        • DPete27
        • 1 year ago

        Avast antivirus has been doing that lately too, except they’re using it to sell you a paid subscription since the freeware can’t actually fix any of the issues they alert you to.
        I’m about ready to kick Avast to the curb.

      • UberGerbil
      • 1 year ago

      I’ve never seen either of those. Not on Win10 Pro on my Surface, not on Win10 OEM on my second desktop, not on my mother’s retail Win10 Home, all of which I’ve used extensively. I don’t get all the Win10 hate, but I guess that’s because I’ve been having a completely different experience from everyone else? Weird.

      • sweatshopking
      • 1 year ago

      You know you can right click on notifications and silence specific providers or notification types.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Why is this the default behavior, though? Unless I dig around, I have no way of knowing that.

          • UberGerbil
          • 1 year ago

          There are a bunch of default settings in Windows that aren’t to my liking, and on every fresh install I have to set them the way I want. I want to see file extensions, I want to see system & hidden files, I want to see the full path in explorer, I want certain file types to open with certain media players and certain other file types to open with other media players, etc etc. None of these are things I would have any way of knowing without digging around for it, or because I’ve just been using Windows for so long I remember when the defaults were set that way — ie for techy people rather than for ordinary users, so arguably incorrectly.

          I recognize that the default settings make sense for most people — I would never let my mother see system files, for example — and so I don’t get bent out of shape when I have to do a few minutes’ work exactly once every few years when I set up a new system. (Since I’m not one of those people who obsessively reinstalls Windows — either out of some cargo-cult belief it “cleans things up” or because I so futz around with “tweaks” that I hose the system — it really is once every few years for me: my Sandy Bridge system is still running fine on its original Win7 install from 2011).

          Microsoft clearly is trying encourage people to use the Windows Store and promote Win10 to others — and that’s fine. It’s not like iDevices where that’s the [i<]only[/i<] channel to get software. And if MS didn't make those things easy to turn off, I might be one of those people perpetually posting how "Windows 10 Sux0rs!" But they are easy to turn off, so I don't (and actually I wouldn't anyway; I have better things to do with my time.) And like I said, I don't think I've seen any of those at all. Maybe I have and I turned them off so quickly I don't even remember. But part of it may be that I don't use the start menu much at all: Win+R is how I've been launching things for the better part of 20 years now, and that still works in Win10.

            • DPete27
            • 1 year ago

            I want “My Computer” to show on the desktop by default…..

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            IMO you’re making a false equivalency between protecting the user (hiding system files by default) and system alerts designed to annoy people. I draw the line at default behavior being “annoy the user”. I thought I had uninstalled every UWP app that can be removed on my corporate PC but apparently I haven’t. macOS doesn’t do this, and it’s not like Apple is having a hard time pushing hardware.

            It’s a good thing the Windows 10 update on my personal machine was free, because I’m sure not using it much anymore.

      • LostCat
      • 1 year ago

      Pretty easy to turn either off. Right click on suggestions and uninstall Feedback Hub.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      One of these days I’m going to LTSB my home machine. Microsoft’s advertorial notifications are just the tip of a very unwelcome iceberg.

      Maybe I should try out Windows Server at home. It’ll give me 1990’s nostalgia just like when I was trying to find an escape from the abysmal Windows 98/Me

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        I never ran Windows Server at home, but I did get Windows 2000 Professional from the college at launch and stuck to it pretty exclusively until XP shipped.

        • Demetri
        • 1 year ago

        The only problem I’ve had with LTSB is Nvidia’s Pascal drivers refusing to install because of the older Win10 version number. No problems with Radeon or Maxwell drivers though. I’d imagine you could probably spoof the version number in the registry or something to get around it.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 1 year ago

      What drive me crazy are the number of useless notifications i get from Outlook, whenever it loses connection to the server or reconnects. Which seems to happen every way too frequently btw.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        That’s gotta be a server-specific issue. I almost never have problems. Corporate mail (around 4,000 users) is hosted by Microsoft and we basically have 0 problems.

          • Ninjitsu
          • 1 year ago

          Maybe, it’s uni email. But the notifications are a client side windows/outlook issue. I muted them so that made them bearable, but i found no obvious way to only allow email notifications while disabling the connection event spam.

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