On the 30th of April, Microsoft released the new Windows 10 version, known as April 2018 Update, which we can download and install for free. Following in the footsteps of the previous updates, it too offers a number of new features and improvements. In this guide, we will be going through the most important changes the new Windows 10 update has to offer.
If you want to install Windows 10 on your PC for free, check out the methods that are still working:
Table of Contents
- New Windows 10 – Version 1803
- Menu – User Interface
- Nearby sharing
- Focus assist
- Password recovery for local accounts
- Diagnostic data viewer
- Faster update installation
- Microsoft Edge
- Quick pairing
- Why we should not rush the update
- How do we prepare for the update
- How do we solve problems with the update
- Uninstalling the update
- What is missing from the new Windows 10 release?
New Windows 10 – Version 1803
The new Windows 10 April 2018 Update is the fifth big update Microsoft has released for Windows 10. It is also the last one of the four important updates under the codename “Redstone” (Redstone 4).
The update was expected to debut on the 10th of April but eventually had to be delayed for a few weeks due to some serious bug detected prior to its release. This is also why the name of the update changed from the initially expected “Spring Creators update”.
The new Windows 10 update was gradually distributed to the users, so the exact date each one of us got it might vary. In any case, it has been available for manual download since April 30th.
Once again, we saw no groundbreaking changes from the latest version. The most important features of the new version include Timeline, Nearby sharing, password recovery for local accounts, and management of the data collected by the Operating System.
As usual, there are various visual enhancements and we see even more options migrating from the control panel to the Settings App.
The Timeline feature was originally supposed to make its appearance in the Windows 10 Fall Creators update. Microsoft finally decided to postpone it until the April 2018 Update.
The timeline is here to enhance the Task View, adding a history of activities which we have previously performed on our PC. When we click the “Task View” button, on the left part of the taskbar…
…or press Win + Tab, we’ll see our activities from “Earlier Today,” as well as those from previous days, directly below. The history keeps a record of up to 30 days.
The list might include websites we have visited via Microsoft Edge, articles we have read in the News app, or documents we edited in Microsoft Word.
Timeline’s main purpose is to make it easier for us to continue any activity from the point we left off. Those activities will also sync across different devices, so we can resume on a different computer. We can control how our history is recorded under Settings > Privacy > Activity History.
The whole Timeline concept, with the user being able to access previous working situations, strongly resembles Apple's time capsule from macOS.
Learn more about the new Windows 10 timeline:
Menu – User Interface
Microsoft's Fluent Design System was first introduced in the Fall Creators update. With the new Windows 10 update, Windows extends its use in more apps and menus of the Operating System.
Menus like the Action Center, the clock popup, and the Calendar app bear various minor appearance changes in the new Windows 10 version, such as a more transparent background, wider use of acrylic and reveal effects, etc.
We’ll find similar design refinements in other places. For instance, changes in the Settings app include different colors, fonts, and optical variations when the cursor hovers over menus.
Another feature we first saw in Fall Creators update that resembles the macOS, the so-called "Near Share" becomes the equivalent of Apple's AirDrop.
After enabling Bluetooth on our computer, we can click the Share button in any app.
Among other options, we now see a list containing all the nearby devices with Nearby Sharing enabled. We can choose any of the devices, and share our content with it wirelessly. This works in file explorer...
...as well as in any app with Near Share functionality, like Microsoft Edge or the Photos app.
We can specify which devices are allowed for Nearby Sharing under Settings > System > Shared experiences. We can choose either "Everyone nearby" or "My devices only."
Focus assist on the new Windows 10 version is the feature we used to know as "Do not disturb mode" up until now.
While before the new Windows 10 update we could only enable or disable it, we now have three choices: Off, Priority only, which allows notifications from apps we have added in the priority list, and Alarms only.
We can also set rules to automatically enable the assistant, under Settings > System > Focus assist.
Such rules include blocking notifications on certain hours of the day, while playing a video game, or while our display is being cast (which means we possibly are in the middle of a presentation).
Password recovery for local accounts
Until recently, Windows 10 did not provide a way of retrieving a lost password for local user accounts.
In case we were not logged-in with a Microsoft account, we had to make sure forgetting our password was an impossibility. Otherwise, we would straight up have to crack it.
With the new Windows 10 update, the OS allows us to set three security questions for every local user account. So if we forget our password, we can answer these questions from the sign-in screen to regain access to our account.
We can define or edit our security questions under Settings > Accounts > Sign-in οptions.
Diagnostic data viewer
Windows 10 has caused major privacy concerns regarding the user's personal data from the first days of its release.
We have already explained why the numerous anti-spying tools we may find for Windows are probably not worth even bothering with.
This time around, Microsoft attempted a big step forward, giving the users the opportunity to keep track of the exact data information Windows is collecting. In addition, we can now delete all this info any time we want.
Under Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback, we can find the standard option for Basic or Full diagnostic data collection by Microsoft.
Below these settings, we 'll find the Diagnostic data viewer option.
We toggle it on and then click on the "Diagnostic Data Viewer" button. Then, Windows transfers us to the Microsoft Store, where we can download the free application for our PC.
Running it, we can review the information that Microsoft has so far collected from us.
Sure, the content isn't structured in the most comprehensible format, but we can still go back to the Settings and delete all this data.
Faster update installation
Even if we don't care much about Windows 10 updates, most users will no doubt welcome this particular improvement.
From this build on, these (twice-a-year) Windows 10 updates will take less time to install.
A big part of the installation process will be done in the background, while we are using the PC. This means that resource consumption will be on low priority, so it shouldn't considerably slow us down while using our computer.
According to Microsoft, the period of time we spend "offline" while waiting for the updates to be installed, is now greatly reduced, starting from this new Windows 10 update.
The time for which we won't be able to use our PC for other tasks is reduced from 82 minutes to 30, on average. The exact duration obviously depends on a few factors.
As with each new Windows 10 update, Microsoft keeps improving the successor of Internet Explorer.
The "hub", which includes things like our bookmarks, history, reading list etc, has been redesigned, and we can now pin it to the start screen.
The use of the fluent design system is being extended, as we saw in many other apps and menus. Also, a new dark theme is now available.
Other new features include keeping personal information, automatically filling in online forms, muting the sound of separate tabs (by clicking on the tab we want)...
...reading view improvements and touchpad gestures support (for laptops with a precision touchpad).
Moreover, Edge now supports notifications in the action center sent from websites and has upgraded its full-screen mode. We can go full-screen by pressing F11 and not have to go back to normal if we need to perform some task from the menu.
We can simply hover our mouse cursor near the top of the window and the tabs along with the rest of the navigation bar willl appear.
Connecting our computer with bluetooth devices has become easier thanks to the new quick pair feature. As soon as a device in pairing mode gets near our PC, we'll see a notification.
Clicking on it, we can connect with the device in a matter of seconds, without having to visit the Settings app.
Initially, only official Microsoft peripherals supported this function (more specifically, the Surface Precision Mouse). However, its equivalents are already becoming a standard feature both for Android (fast pair) and for the iPhone. This means we should expect more device manufacturers to begin adding support for it.
Why we should not rush the update
Even though the new Windows 10 release is already officially available, and brings many new features, updating our system as soon as possible might not be the optimal route.
We wait until it’s our turn
Microsoft does not update every user at the same time, even if the distribution of the update has already begun.
This isn’t only due to the inability of its servers to cope with all of the users simultaneously.
In theory, if our system has a known hardware bug, it won’t receive the update until Microsoft comes up with a solution.
Therefore, our update may be scheduled for a later time, and it could be risky to hurry things up.
It's best not to risk our system’s stability
You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Since our system is running smoothly at the moment, why should we risk our stability with an update, where something might go wrong?
There is no need to put our system in danger.
As soon as we are adequately prepared, having taken all the precautionary measures, we can proceed with the update.
We wait until newer updates are out
No matter how many tests Windows Insiders may have run, there are millions of users out there with different combinations of hardware and software.
As a result, a better approach is to upgrade at a later moment, when fixes for the majority of the most common bugs will already be out. This way, we can significantly reduce our chances of facing problems.
How do we prepare for the update
If we have decided that we are getting the update anyway, we’ll have to take the appropriate measures.
Before we move on, we’d better prepare our system to ensure a flawless update. Let’s check thoroughly all the necessary steps.
We free up space in the disk
By freeing up some space, we make sure the new operating system has the essential space to install correctly.
Another way to free some space is to uninstall apps and games we no longer use.
With major updates, such as April 2018 Update, there is always a chance of something going wrong.
This means we should make a backup of our most important files, as well as create a full safety copy of our system.
How do we solve problems with the update
Every update for an Operating System has a chance of creating inexplicable problems with strange system error codes.
Along with every new Windows 10 release, we constantly renew our guide with solutions to the most common problems of the update. The guide for the April 2018 Update is here:
Deleting the previous installation
After we have upgraded to the new Windows 10 version, it’s a good idea to delete the Windows.old folder, which could be taking up several gigabytes worth of space in our disk.
We should, of course, make sure we really want to proceed to this step. In case the update doesn’t satisfy our needs, there is no turning back.
Uninstalling the update
If we face problems with the new Windows version after the April 2018 Update (version 1803), there is a way to get back to the previous stable version 1709.
To do this, we’ll find an option under “Recovery” to “Go back to the previous version of Windows 10," and follow the steps.
All this, of course, under the condition that we have kept Windows.old folder.
If we don’t see the corresponding "Go back to previous version" section, more than 10 days have passed since we upgraded to the current build. Windows must have probably cleared away those files.
What is missing from the new Windows 10 release?
The April 2018 Update has brought several interesting changes and additions in Windows 10. However, there is always room for improvement.
Which changes of the new Windows 10 release did you like most? Which do you think were the worst, and what would you like to see in the next update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below..
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