We’re about three years into Windows 10, and we’ve seen a lot of changes to the OS, as well as the servicing model, in those three years. The move to no longer offering major OS updates every couple of years with a new name, and requirement for purchase, is very welcome, and has likely been the biggest success of the Windows 10 launch. Microsoft has also refined the servicing model to a more consistent pattern of two updates per year, and while that can either be a pro or a con depending on where you stand, they’ve met that over the last couple of updates. With the Windows 10 April Update, which is version 1803, we’ve got arguably the smallest update yet in terms of new features, but that’s not really a bad thing. Three years in, the OS is mature enough that it’s good to see the company dialing back on the major interface changes, and hopefully focusing more on consistency, and reliability.

There’s still a lot of new features for the April Update, but only a handful of what you’d consider major feature additions to Windows. There’s Timeline, Nearby Share, Focus Assist, and Progressive Web App support being the most noticeable user-facing features, but there’s also a lot of little changes under the hood as well, such as more use of their Fluent design language across the OS, a continued movement of replacing the Control Panel with the new Settings app, and improvements to visibility of privacy information, among others.

Windows 10 Version History
Version Version Number Release Date
Windows 10 Original Release 1507 July 29, 2015
November Update 1511 November 10, 2015
Anniversary Update 1607 August 2, 2016
Creators Update 1703 April 5, 2017
Fall Creators Update 1709 October 17, 2017
April Update 1803 April 30, 2018

It’s also worth discussing the state of Windows right now in the grand scheme of Microsoft. Terry Myerson, who has been the EVP of Windows and Devices for Microsoft for almost five years, and who has been the driving force behind the new Windows 10 model of constant servicing rather than large updates every couple of years, announced his departure from Microsoft in March of this year. Microsoft is in the middle of a transition from their legacy applications such as Windows and Office, to a cloud computing company based on services, and Windows is no longer going to be the driving factor there. As such, the former crown jewels of the company are being pushed to the outskirts. It’ll still be an important platform for Microsoft, but growth for the company is going to come from other places.

What this will mean for Windows 10 is likely going to be a reduction in resources allocated to its development, although that’s speculation at this time. It would not be surprising to see future updates scaled back in terms of frequency though. Considering the maturity of Windows 10 now, and the major foothold it has in the enterprise, a yearly update would likely make more sense anyway, so this might not be a bad thing.

We’ve also seen the latest April Update falling into some issues with delivery, thanks to some critical bugs found right before it was set to ship. This delayed the shipment of the new update until the very last day in April, which was only symbolically important because someone decided to call it the April Update. In reality, it wasn’t being pushed to anyone in April, but was available for people to manually get it. But as of this writing, the official rollout seems to be very slow to start, so perhaps there’s other issues holding up deployment, much like the incompatibility with the Intel 600p. That’s unfortunate, since the Fall Creators Update was pretty quick to rollout, but even with a massive beta test network in the Windows Insider Program, it proves again how difficult it is to do Windows as a Service on a regular schedule.

But, once it does start rolling out through Windows Update, there will be some new things to check out, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Timeline and Focus Assist: Get More Done
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  • B3an - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    I wish someone would benchmark Win 10 April Update compared to the original Win 10 release. Would be interesting to see if anything has improved at all. And i mean from gaming to app loading times, start up times, battery life and network performance. Reply
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    I wish the staff would openly discuss the problem with Microsofts DRM instead of deleting my posts without comment

    YES, it may be against the "LAW" to discuss getting around DRM but those Laws only help Criminals who wrote the Law

    A permanent backdoor into everyones computer IS a matter of National and Personal Security

    Bill Gates once asked for an open discussion on security

    When are you willing to actually have it ?

    I believe James Comey even asked for an open discussion on the problems affecting National Security such as Encryption Backdoors

    I am ready for an honest open discussion

    AnandTech is definitely NOT Ready!

    Be a part of the solution, instead of the problem
    Reply
  • ChristopherFortineux - Friday, June 8, 2018 - link

    Being from India yourself. You know better than breaking the law discussing breaching the DRM. Why you keep mentioning it on random comments is redundant. Also, "Bullwinkle J. Moose" LOL Reply
  • npz - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    > but with the April Update Windows 10 will now prompt you to automatically try and fix an app if it think it’s opened with blurry text. You’ll get a notification asking if you’d like to try and fix it, and you can say yes. Then close the app, and hopefully it’s fixed.

    What exactly does it do? I've seen the blurry fonts issue before and that's when my laptop was set to scaling > 100% by default by Windows. But that's because the app uses bitmap fonts. Does the fix switch to 200% scaling? Or does it substitute the bitmap with vector fonts?

    However, no matter the OS, scaling only works with vector fonts/graphics and so bitmap fonts/graphics still face the same issue within the app contents or when you need bitmap fonts like in text terminals.

    Personally I hate the principle of scaling for this reason and so always set my displays to 100% to avoid it.
    Reply
  • npz - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    Or for apps that use a fixed dpi and despite vector fonts, does Windows pre-render at that app's fixed dpi, then scale that image to the user's setting (as another cause for the blurriness)? Reply
  • Azurael - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    I think this one went better than FCU. No complete reinstalls required yet, but one of the machines I manage still won't install it. Still, I'm not going to hold it against Microsoft because I insist on running all of my EFI-capable machines _in_ EFI boot mode and some of the early UEFI implementations (2007-2010ish) are flakey as hell. On this particular (personal) machine, I don't think the fact that the ESP is shared with a Linux install is helping, Microsoft seem to like a lot of free space on it to successfully install, even though their default partition map creates an ESP about half the size of the 'standard' 256MB...

    Sill, about 20 machines and no other issues, as I said, much better than FCU! I had to reinstall 3 at work last time today round... One thing I've learned is that it really isn't worth trying to diagnose issues with the updater. If you have to try and run it more than twice, a clean install is invariably quicker...
    Reply
  • landerf - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    The amount of hoops I've had to jump through to replace homegroup functionality is mind boggling and I'm still not sure it will keep working the next time I reboot and all the solutions are far less secure than homegroup. Reply
  • coburn_c - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    They turned last access time stamp back on. I can't understand why, considering the i/o performance hit of the latest security patches and the fact that it has been off for the last decade. Reply
  • exactopposite - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    i have tried the update on 4 machines
    Ryzen x370 syste updated with no problem
    Kaby lake desktop updated ok but network settings changed which prevented network shares form working. It was a simple fix but annoying
    Kaby lake HTPC and Broadwell laptop both refuse to install it. The install almost completes but then uninstalls and rolls back
    Reply
  • lfred - Monday, May 28, 2018 - link

    What fix did you use? shares keeps disconnecting from time to time here? Reply

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