The Total Package

The Windows 10 April Update is one of the smaller updates we’ve seen since Windows 10 launched, at least in terms of shiny new features, but it does have some nice additions. The OS is mature enough now that there’s hopefully going to be less of the major changes to the UI and feature list with each new update, since those large scale changes can cause confusion with consumers. Windows is still the workhorse of businesses as well, and when you’ve got tens of thousands of employees, it’s not fun to have to retrain people every six months on how to do the couple of tasks they do every day. For 2018, we’ve already got the next update scheduled for the fall, but it would not be surprising to see Microsoft shift to a less aggressive schedule in the future.

For this update, there’s only a couple of big features. Timeline is a great idea and one that was definitely missing from Windows 10, and it will get more powerful with Android tasks coming to Timeline thanks to the Microsoft Launcher, Edge, and Cortana on Android. iOS will likely never be able to have as much integration though thanks to the Apple App Store model.

Focus Assist really seems like a great idea as well to give people a chance to stay focused when they need to. It needs a bit more fleshing out, but even as it is, it’s great to get time that is distraction free, but still allows you to easily check and see what you missed.

Probably the biggest addition for the update though is Progressive Web Apps, which will hopefully bring some much needed app support to the Microsoft Store. Twitter has been very actively developing their PWA, including support for Windows 10 specific features. The irony here is that with PWAs, Microsoft would likely have had a better shot with Windows 10 Mobile, but it’s already too late for that.

The other changes to Edge are also very welcome, and Edge has certainly come a long way. Its performance and standards support continues to improve, but like Windows 10 Mobile, it may be too little, too late. Microsoft has ceded a tremendous amount of browser usage to Google, and there’s no sign that’s going to change.

The other new features are going to be less used, but still important when needed. Being able to quickly pair a Bluetooth device, or easily share a file with Nearby Share, is really something that’s going to pay for itself rarely, but when it is needed, it’ll pay larger dividends.

There's also a pile of small tweaks and additons, such as the improved touch keyboard with swipe typing support, a new game bar, easier Hello setup, Cortana improvements, dictation support for text fields, and improvements to My People, which rounds out the update nicely.

Overall, the April Update is a small, but nice update. The biggest issue with it is that there’s been some reliability problems with the update as we’ve seen specifically with the Intel 600p SSD, and a few other pieces of hardware. The update was delayed until the very last day of April, and even then it was definitely a soft rollout. I have only been able to get one PC to even get the update over Windows Update so far, with even very current devices still not receiving it through that method. You can always force an install, but there could also be a reason the machine isn’t seeing the update due to a known compatibility issue that’s not resolved yet. We’ll have to wait and see statistical numbers to see how quickly it rolls out compared to its predecessor, but at the moment it seems like it’s a very slow and steady deployment. But the update is worth it just to get PWA support alone. It just might not be worth it right 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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