Timeline

Arguably the biggest feature new feature for Windows 10 is one aimed squarely at productivity. Timeline is part of the Task view feature that was previously in Windows 10, and accessed in the same way, either by clicking the icon on the task bar, or pressing Win + Tab. The idea of Timeline is to make it very easy to get back into a task you were doing previously or find some information you know you had open in a browser.

Sorry for the poor screenshot but Timeline isn't working for me

By default, Timeline is only set to go back a single day, and apps will be sorted by hour. You can optionally enable it to go back 30 days as well, which seems like a more useful method to have as the default.

You can also adjust how Timeline works in the Privacy settings. When enabled, Timeline will sync activities from this PC, and also sync them to the cloud, so you can access documents and information across devices. But if you’d rather not have that data collected, you can disable the cloud sync, the local PC activity collection, or both.

Focus Assist

Another feature added with the April Update which focuses on keeping you focused is Focus Assist. After clamoring for notifications on the PC after seeing their benefit in mobile, it quickly became apparent that, while useful, notifications can also be a distraction.

In previous versions of Windows 10, Microsoft offers a Quiet Hours feature where you could set the PC to not provide notifications depending on the time, but with Focus Assist, that ability is expanded upon.

In addition to being able to schedule a time when notifications are muted, you can now change what level of notifications come through, with a custom priority list. You could in theory mute all notifications except those you want to see, which sounds fairly useful, or you could just set a time where you want to get some work done and only have alarms appear.

There’s also additional new automatic rules for notification action when duplicating a display, which will be very beneficial to avoid embarrassing notifications when using a projector, as well as when gaming.

Enabled by default is also a summary of notifications that were missed while focus assist was on, so if you were gaming, you’ll get a handy summary of everything that happened while you were having some fun, so you can get back to work.

This is of course still coupled with the notification settings where you can enable or disable notifications per-app.

Focus Assist is the kind of feature that Windows 10 needs. Notifications are great, but they can be distracting when you’re trying to get some work done. It would be great if Microsoft added some more settings here to allow you to create more automatic rules, such as when you have an app open, or additional time slots rather than just the single time you can enable it now.

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  • brshoemak - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    "but that’s really a bad thing" - I assume you're missing a 'not' there. Not trying to be that guy but some people don't get context. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    If you don't want to be "that guy" you can always send me an email, but either way thanks for the feedback :) Reply
  • BenJeremy - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    I tried to update this weekend, and it was a disaster. About an hour into the new update, everything on my system started hanging/freezing for minutes at a time. Simply emptying the recycle bin took agonizing minutes. My system is a monster system (64GB RAM, i7-6700K, 2xNVMe in RAID-0 for boot). It's probably a driver issue, but it was inexcusable that this was released into the public. After rolling back, my system was once again usable. Reply
  • IdBuRnS - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    It's a bit much that you think it's "inexcusable" that they released it because you happened to have an issue. I updated last night and it went perfectly fine. Reply
  • Holliday75 - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Its inexcusable that Microsoft did not account for the 325,643,324,962,789 hardware, software, driver, firmware and bios combos. Damn them! Reply
  • nico_mach - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Some updates are better than others. Our IT dept actually sent instructions to delay Windows updates on home machines because they considered this so shaky. I didn't see it in time, updated and have been fine. You never know. I do have very recent hardware, ryzen, though. Reply
  • basroil - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    No issues with 3 machines, haswell, kaby, and sandy bridge (yup, good old 2600k is still a beast!) Reply
  • Samus - Monday, May 28, 2018 - link

    The last update I had issued with was the anniversary update two years ago. It broke Asus AI Suite for the Z97 motherboard I have so I just uninstalled it and set the fan cooking curves in the bios. But I know people who also had issues with anniversary update breaking other software that used drivers, specifically monitor software controls (really common on HP professional monitors) Reply
  • hansmuff - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    Any IT should have set the update frequency to "Semi-Annual Channel", not "Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)", in which case no PC would have updated yet. That setting is specifically for organizations. Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    or more specifically for windows 10 Pro and enterprise (windows 10 home users cant easy limit unless they buy a windows 10 pro key for £$ 3-5) Reply

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