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Windows 10 April 2018 Update review: It's about the little things

Windows 10 Timeline
Windows 10 Timeline (Image credit: Windows Central)

Starting next week, Microsoft will begin rolling out a brand new feature update for Windows 10. Dubbed the "April 2018 Update," (or Version 1803 for short,) this release is the fifth major feature update to Windows 10 since its original debut in July 2015. Microsoft has committed to releasing two feature updates every year, and Version 1803 is the first for 2018. This release brings with it new features and refinements, but unlike previous releases, this one focuses more on the refinements and less on the new features.

While that may sound like a bad thing on the outside, this makes for a far more 'well-rounded' release that's one of the better Windows 10 updates as of late. There aren't so many new blockbuster features shouting in your face; instead, Microsoft has focused on continuing to modernize the OS, make things work better, and improve on things that were broken or redundant.

So, without further ado. This is our full Windows 10 April Update review.

Video walkthrough

Reading not your thing? Check out our in-depth video walkthrough showcasing all the noteworthy new changes and features in the April Update!

More Fluent

As with every Windows 10 release, Microsoft has made a few changes to both the Start menu and Action Center. However, these changes are not major in any way. Microsoft has merely added a few new UI effects and additional behaviors to improve usability. The most notable change to both the Start menu and Action Center is the inclusion of more Fluent Design effects, something that Microsoft began implementing with the Fall Creators Update last year.

With the April 2018 Update, users will now notice a hover effect that follows the cursor around the Start menu's live tiles and apps list, as well as in notifications and Quick Actions in the Action Center. These are small changes that add to the 'delightfulness' of Windows, something the OS has been severely lacking in previous releases. Version 1803 is the first Windows 10 update that I think focuses more on the delightful aspects of an experience, something macOS has nailed for years.

You'll also find these effects in a lot more places than just Start and Action Center. In this update, Microsoft has focused on adding hover effects to all kind of places in the OS, including the Settings app, most apps, and even some elements of the taskbar such as the Date and Time flyout, and more. Microsoft has also added a new blur effect to the taskbar that looks great when using the right wallpaper. Otherwise, it's an unnoticeable change unless someone tells you about it first.

In addition to the hover effects (which are officially referred to as Reveal effects,) Microsoft has added the Documents and Pictures folders to the Start menu's hamburger menu by default in an effort to help users find those locations more easily when powering on a new computer. You can remove these if you want, but this change is in the name of making more File Explorer locations easily discoverable like in Windows 7 in an attempt to ease the transition from the 2009 OS.

Also new in this release is the ability to jump straight into an app's settings by right-clicking it in the Start menu. Previously, if you wanted to get any info on an app you had installed, you had to open the Settings app and manually navigate to the Apps area, and then find the app you wanted to know more about. In Version 1803, you simply have to right-click an app's icon, select More > Settings and that's it, you get taken straight to the app settings area.

The Action Center is more or less the same as it was in the last update, except users with a trackpad can now dismiss notifications by using a two-finger swipe gesture. Finally, My People has been improved with a few new settings and behaviors. You can now drag contacts to arrange them on the taskbar and pin excess contacts in the hub who you need to frequently contact but don't deserve a space on your taskbar.

You can also now customize how many people show up on the taskbar. Three is the default limit, but you can push it up to 10 if you have a monitor that's big enough, but I can't imagine anybody has that many best friends. Microsoft has also updated the My People hub with a new design, featuring the new Reveal and blue effects, and the hub itself will now link to the Store where you can find more apps that support My People.

Windows 10 Timeline

Windows 10's Timeline feature is the only major new feature coming in this update, and it's pretty great. Timeline lives in the Task View button on the taskbar and is essentially a glorified recent apps screen that syncs activities across all your devices up to 30 days in the past. In short, Timeline allows users to go back in time and pick up where they left off apps and documents that they had open in the past, on any device that's logged in with the same Microsoft Account.

For example, I can be working on a Word document on my Surface Book and resume that same Word document on another device logged into the same account three days later. Just open up Timeline, scroll down three days ago, and select the document I was working on. It even has a search function, which is incredibly useful if you can't be bothered to go back through your timeline to find the thing you were working on; search for it instead!

Timeline picks up all kinds of activities, including websites visited in Microsoft Edge, articles read in the MSN apps, emails, notepad, Office apps, and more. It doesn't pick up activities from every app, however; developers will need to add support for Timeline if they want their app to show up there, meaning you won't see activities from Chrome or Open Office unless they add support for it. Hopefully developers adopt this feature over time, but for now it only really works with Microsoft's own apps.

Timeline has been designed in a way that makes it feel like you're scrolling through time to open an app or document that was open previously. Task View itself has been redesigned to accommodate this; currently, open apps are shown at the very top, in the "now" part of the timeline. This is the normal Task View experience you know and love. Below that, are all the apps you don't have open currently but did have open in the past. You can scroll through this list, select one and open it to pick up exactly where you left off. That app then gets moved to the "now" section, and the cycle starts again.

Virtual Desktops are also still here, although they have moved to the top of the screen due to Timeline taking up most of the space within Task View. This does mean more mouse travel when clicking the Task View icon, but it's a small price to pay for such a useful feature. I really like Timeline, and it's especially useful if you have multiple devices that you are often switching between. Timeline makes those devices feel connected and in-sync, and I love it.

For those that are privacy conscious, you'll be happy to know that Timeline doesn't sync activities across devices by default. That's an option you have to manually enable to take. Timeline itself is enabled by default, however, meaning it will collect your activities and showcase them in within Timeline out-the-box, but only locally. You can turn it off, but since it's not syncing anything to the cloud unless you tell it to, I'm not sure many people will care. The option is there regardless though.

The true usefulness of Timeline will depend entirely on how often you need to open up a webpage or document you were looking in the past, and whether or not you use multiple Windows 10 devices that are logged in with the same Microsoft account. I find being able to resume activities that I started on another device incredibly useful and convenient; it makes all my Windows devices feel like one, and that's great.

One really odd issue I've noticed with Timeline is a collection of graphical issues that seem to span across a variety of devices. Timeline is very animation heavy, and it appears Microsoft still has work to do in optimizing those animations. Even on my high-end PC, the animations will often drop frames. On my Surface Studio, the animation doesn't even display properly. I've also had issues with Timeline not showing up at all at times, which is incredibly frustrating.

Microsoft Edge browser

With this release, Microsoft Edge has yet again been improved a fair bit, and that's great news. Every Windows 10 update since Windows 10 was released back in 2015 has improved Edge in some way, and that trend continues here with the April Update. I've been using Edge since it was first made available in preview, so I can definitely see where the improvements have and haven't been made.

I'm happy to report that Microsoft Edge, at least for your average Joe or Jane, is more than fine as a daily browser now. It's stable, with Edge crashing about as often as Chrome does for me, and it's a lot faster and cleaner than it was previously. Microsoft has updated the Edge UI with Fluent Design effects and has even improved the blur-effect found in the title bar that allows your wallpaper to bleed through more obviously. It looks excellent.

What's more, Microsoft has redesigned the 'Hub,' which stores all your Bookmarks, Downloads, Books, History, and Reading Lists. No longer is it a small sidebar that's confined to the very right of your screen; instead, it's a large panel that slides out and takes up as much room as it needs, making the overall experience feel less cramped and more inviting.

Other than that, the categories within the Hub are more or less the same, except for the Books area. The Books area has been redesigned to showcase Books that are available to buy a read right now, which increases discoverability of the Microsoft Store. Unfortunately, the Book Store itself is limited to the United States, meaning those outside of the States won't see this category at all.

On the subject of books, the Book reader itself has been redesigned too. It's now much easier to use, with a scrubber at the bottom allowing you to quickly scroll through pages in a book and a whole bunch of features and options at the top. These features include a read-aloud mode, grammar checker, highlight capabilities, bookmarks, annotating capabilities, and notes. The Edge book reader is one of the better book readers I've seen out there, which is great to see.

Most of the other changes made to Edge are smaller yet useful. For example, Edge finally has a mute-tab button now, meaning if you're someone who browses with multiple tabs open at one time and one of them starts playing an ad or music, you can easily find it and mute it without having to click into it and find the media that's playing. Also new is Edge's ability to automatically fill out preferred information in address boxes, name forms, and so on, just like in Chrome.

Under the hood, Microsoft has done lots of work to enable something called 'Progressive Web Apps', which essentially allow some websites to behave like apps on your PC. For example, you'll now find that some sites can request to send you notifications, which will deliver regardless of whether or not you have Edge open, just like an app on your phone.

Overall, many of the improvements made to Edge in the April Update are small but useful. The most notable improvements are to do with book support, but I can't imagine many people use Edge as a book reader, and since the Book Store itself is limited to the United States only, it's not something most people are going to even know about. Everything else is great, and I really love Edge in this release.

Windows 10 Cortana

Cortana is in a really weird place in the April Update, because its experience is seemingly scattered across the search function and the Action Center now. Microsoft has ripped out the old Cortana Home UI that used to present itself whenever you'd click the Cortana button or search bar and is now showcasing some of that information in the Action Center instead ... but search is still called Cortana, even though Cortana's main features aren't in there anymore.

If you're someone who actually uses Cortana for the 'at-a-glance' day view, you're going to be in for an unwelcome surprise with the April Update. Since Cortana's Home UI is no longer there, there's no way to easily see your upcoming appointments, latest news, or packages that are being tracked unless you go into the notebook first or ask Cortana directly. I don't think many people used Cortana for this anyway, but if you did, the April Update makes getting to these things a little tougher.

Microsoft says a lot of Cortana's proactive content (such as pick up where you left off, reminders, package tracking, etc.) will now pop up in the Action Center when it is necessary to the user. It won't be there all the time, but say if a package ships, Cortana will pop a notification to tell you that, which will live in the Action Center until you dismiss it. It's not a perfect replacement for the Cortana Home UI, but it's better than nothing.

The good news is the Cortana Notebook has been redesigned with a much more welcoming UI that, depending on your country, will better surface different tasks and skills that Cortana is capable of. Each of Cortana's capabilities is now categorized, and in the US, the ability to add more skills to Cortana is now better presented to the user.

There's also a new Cortana Lists feature, which automatically adds things to lists that Cortana thinks you might want to have listed. For example, when browsing on Amazon, Cortana will ask you if you want to add whatever it is you browse for to your shopping list, just in case you're interested in buying something but don't currently have the money. This way, Cortana can save it for you, and then you can cross it off the list once you buy it.

In reality, this feature is more useless than useful. I'm yet to find myself being thankful for Cortana's suggestions here; more often than not I just prefer creating my own lists, that's when I remember the feature exists. It's buried in the Notebook, and doesn't show up as a dedicated app in the Start menu nor does it feature a live tile.

So, Cortana isn't in the best state in the April Update. The removal of the Cortana Home UI makes for a clunky, jarring experience, as Cortana is now showing up in multiple places of the OS. This is because Microsoft is in the middle of rethinking Cortana, which will involve slowly moving Cortana into the Action Center full time, along with introducing a new chat-based UI akin to the likes of Google Assistant on Android.

Those changes aren't coming in the April Update, however, so for now we're going to have to put up with Cortana being all over the place. Not great.

Windows 10 Nearby Share

One nifty new feature in the April Update is the ability to share web pages, documents, photos, and basically anything that supports the Windows 10 share feature with devices that are physically nearby via Bluetooth. Gone are the days of needing to transfer something from one device to another but not having a USB around, resulting in you having to email yourself which is a cumbersome experience. With Nearby Share, you can share directly to other devices wirelessly, kind of like AirDrop on Apple devices.

This isn't tied to your Microsoft Account, either, meaning you can share things with devices nearby that aren't yours. This is great if you need to send a friend or co-worker a file, but don't have a USB around to do it. Just tap on the share icon, select the device that's nearby, and send it. The receiver will have the option to accept or decline the file, and if accepted, the file will transfer over Bluetooth. In my testing, it works pretty fast for basic things like photos, documents, and web pages. I wouldn't trust it with super large files, though.

This is one of those features that you likely won't use often, but will prove incredibly useful when the time comes to it. It's off by default, but you can enable it easily via the Action Center. Microsoft has made it into a quick action that can be toggled on and off whenever you feel like it. I leave mine on, but you might want to turn yours off if you find yourself in public spaces and don't want to constantly receive requests to receive files from strangers.

Windows 10 Focus Assist

Microsoft has redone the Quiet Hours function in Windows 10, giving it a new name and a couple of new capabilities. No longer is Quiet Hours a simple tool for shushing notifications for a period of time. Instead, Focus Assist is designed to help you stay focused when you need it; shutting out notifications in smarter, automatic ways without you really needing to think about it.

For example, whenever you launch a game, Focus Assist will come on to make sure no notifications pop up during an intense match with your friends or enemies. It'll also enable itself whenever you project your screen to ensure no saucy messages from your significant other pop up during an important meeting with your boss. Once done, Focus Assist will turn off and show you a summary of all the things you missed while Focus Assist was enabled.

You can even customize which apps and people can break through when Focus Assist is on, so if you have an app that you absolutely must see notifications from regardless of whether you need to focus or not, you can set that up too. I do wish Microsoft added the ability to customize which apps enable or disable Focus Assist; for example, it'd be cool if I could set it so whenever I open Word, Focus Assist comes on automatically. Alas, that's not a feature, at least not yet.

Finally, and I think this one is the coolest; you can setup Focus Assist so that it automatically comes on when you're at home. This is a feature primarily designed for those who use their laptop for work and home related stuff. When at work, notifications about meetings and projects are important, but at home, you likely don't want all that noise. Focus Assist can automatically turn on once you reach your home so that you don't get bombarded with work-related stuff outside of work. Pretty neat!

Other useful changes

As with every new update, there are all sorts of new settings and miscellaneous changes that don't fit into any other categories, the biggest of which is Microsoft's continued modernization of the old Windows Control Panel. The April Update is the biggest yet in regards to this slow transition, moving over lots of older Win32 applets into the new modern Settings app.

For example, you can find things like Fonts, Language Packs, Sounds and Devices, System Startup Apps, and even Disk Cleanup in the Settings app now. Microsoft is slowly but surely deprecating the Control Panel, and while the Control Panel still exists in the April Update, it's slowly becoming less relevant as more of it gets moved into Settings.

Microsoft has also added updated display options which help with how Windows scales legacy apps. There's a new "Fix blurry apps" notification that pops up whenever Windows display scaling changes, which is designed to help make legacy apps not look blown out or super small when that happens.

Bigger changes have been made to Windows Update, which will now showcase an icon in the System Tray when there's an update pending installation, which should help give the user a heads up that a restart will be required soon. Microsoft knows that updates are an inconvenience to the user, and is trying to give them as big a heads-up as possible.

Microsoft has also done lots of work behind the scenes to make updates install a lot faster once a reboot has begun. In fact, Microsoft has sped up this process considerably, so that most modern PCs should only be out of action for less than 20 minutes. This is a huge improvement over the hour or more it used to take on some devices, and a welcome change that I'm sure many will appreciate.

There's now a new "one-click" Bluetooth pairing mode that works with a handful of Bluetooth peripherals. Just like how you can connect a pair of AirPods to an iPhone with one click, the same can now be done with some Bluetooth devices on Windows 10. For example, if I attempt to pair my Surface Precision Mouse with my Windows 10 PC, Windows will pop a notification asking if it can connect to it. Tap yes, and that's it. It's super easy and quick, although it doesn't work with all Bluetooth devices.

The on-screen keyboard has been given the blur effect treatment, and the larger keyboard now supports shape-writing. Microsoft has also updated support for eye tracking, with an improved navigation bar with more options and features. For pen users, when tapping on a text field, a pen field will now popup allowing you to write directly into the field with ease. This is a much better system than before, which required you to write into a separate pen field.

Those using physical keyboards in the US can now take advantage of new on-screen suggestions, similar to the suggestions you get on a virtual keyboard on your phone. You can use the arrow keys or mouse to select the works, which can prove useful for when you're trying to type out a word you can't quite remember how to spell. I personally don't think it enhances my writing speeds, but perhaps that's because I'm already pretty fluid in my typing capabilities. This feature is also off by default, which is interesting.

Also new in this release is the ability to set input and output audio devices per app. This can be done via the Settings app, and lets you manually choose where you want audio to come from in a specific app, which is excellent. So for example, you can now make it so Google Chrome outputs audio to your headphones, and have iTunes output audio to your PC's speakers. Pretty neat!

There are also lots of new security improvements, as with every release. You can learn more about the new security enhancements in the April Update here.

Final thoughts

The Windows 10 April Update is a good update. We're in an age now where new versions of Windows don't bring huge new changes, and that's okay. Most users don't like it when everything changes at once anyway, so I think it's smart that these new updates are only bringing small, incremental changes that make for lots of change over a long period of time.

If you go back and use the original version of Windows 10 that launched in July 2015, so much has changed. But, going from update to update, those changes aren't noticeable. Windows 10 today is a much better and far more well-rounded product than the Windows 10 that originally launched, all without anybody really noticing.

Timeline is super-useful, at least for me, but that usefulness will depend on whether you use apps that support it and whether or not you have multiple devices or reopen things you had open in the past. I like being able to go back in time and see everything I had done on my PC on a certain day in the past, and quickly resume any tasks or projects I had going at that time.

What's less good about this update is Cortana, and how Cortana seems to be in a weird limbo as she moves out of Windows Search and into the Action Center. The missing Cortana Home experience is going to bum out some people for sure, and there's no real replacement for it, at least not yet. You can still get access to all the things Cortana is watching for you, but you've gotta dig for it or ask Cortana to show it. That's not great.

The other not great thing about the April Update is Microsoft's continued lack of commitment to anyone outside of the United States. Lots of new and improved features in the April Update are US-only, which is absurd for a company as big as Microsoft. Unless you're in the United States, the only new feature you're getting in Cortana is the new Notebook UI; everything else doesn't work.

Book support is U.S.-only, on-screen suggestions are U.S.-only, Cortana Skills are US-only, devices in the Microsoft Store are US-only, and I'm sure there are many other features that I'm missing that are region restricted. Microsoft is beyond bad at supporting users outside of the United States, and unfortunately, this trend is showing no sign of stopping.

Microsoft is running the largest beta and feedback program ever. The Windows Insider Program is full of willing participants all over the world who are happy to test and submit feedback about Windows features before they're ready. How Microsoft is unable to ship features outside the United States at launch is ridiculous based on this fact alone. It's not like Microsoft doesn't have the data, because they do.

Apple does a better job at this; heck so does Google. The only company failing at this is Microsoft, and it's unacceptable. I assumed that when this trend first started with Windows 10, it was only temporary as Microsoft was still finding its feet with Windows as a Service, but it's been three years now, and it's still happening. Why should anybody outside of the US buy a Windows machine if Microsoft isn't committed to bringing those users the latest features and capabilities?

Luckily, the biggest changes in the April Update are available outside the US, including things like Timeline and Nearby Share. Overall, the April Creators Update does the job, and since it's the latest version of Windows, I always recommend updating if only for the security improvements and the fact that you're remaining up-to-date over anything else.

The Windows 10 April Update starts rollout out on April 30.

Pros:

  • Timeline is useful.
  • Nearby Share is great.
  • Focus on refinements.

Cons:

  • Lots of US only features.
  • Cortana Home is gone.
  • Timeline is laggy.

See at the Microsoft Store

More Resources

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

63 Comments
  • I feel WC is a bit too generous with ratings, but not with the excellently written reviews. Example, this review is perfect in my opinion. The rating though should be 3.5-4. Not 4.5.
  • He's entitled to his opinion/observation and you're entitled to your opinion neither one of your opinions have to be 100% right or wrong
    it's just your view on the update.
    And if you're comparing this from the original update to now this is definitely the best updates when it comes to performance, edge, fluent design implication.
    go to PC mag every time a Mac update comes out it's always a 5🤔
  • Well Marty, I'll go you one better: so much of the internet can be boiled down to a simple confusion of categories between objective and subjective. In objective matters truth is everything, and right and wrong are the very foundation. I can't remember what the circumference of the Earth is, but let's just say it's 3000 miles. So, I say it's 3000 miles, and you say it's 6000 miles, and a third person says it's 300 miles. Either I'm right, and you guys are wrong, he's right and we're wrong, you're right, and we're wrong, or we're all wrong, and the answer is something else. Those are the only possibilities. There is no other available outcome. Why? Because the Earth is a set number of miles in circumference, and that's that. And if I think or feel otherwise, I am wrong. Period. In objectivity, feelings, and preferences, and desires are invalid categories that have no place. All that matters is the cold hard facts of absolute truths and absolute values. And we can debate those values, but one -or both- of us will be wrong. In subjective matters, right and wrong are invalid categories, and "truth" is nothing more than what you think and feel, what something means to you personally. In subjectivity, feelings, and preferences, and opinions, and likes and dislikes....those are king. Let's say I like blue better than red, and you like red better than you like blue. Neither one of us can call the other "wrong". Let's say I even feel so strongly on the matter that the converse notion is so amazingly preposterous to me that I double over in uncontrolable laughter and pee my pants. Even then, I still can't call you "wrong", or myself "right", even though blue plus, now yellow, makes me green instead. ;-) So, when someone says I like the look of the new this or that, and someone snarls back "you're an idiot, the old one looked way better", the one who's actually the moron is the second person because he confused his categories. Generally this doesn't happen in a vacuum, though. Generally this happens when someone has a reaction to a change, and puts that out on the internet, which is seen by another person who has a passionately converse opinion, who reacts in passion to the first person's perspective. By that point they're not thinking clearly anymore, as they feel the one person's, say, exultations of joy amount to rubbing this person's misery all the more in their face - or conversely, see this first person's tirade as harshing their buzz, raining on their parade, pooping in their Cheerios....you pick your metaphor ...and then it's on. The first scenario is more likely to result in a fight than the second, because in the first scenario, the second person is already agitated, and more likely to be combative.....but it goes both ways. They take the opposite opinion as a personal attack, and then they fight back. And objectivity and subjectivity are killed in the streets in the chaos that ensues. But either way, the second person is the idiot, unless the first person responds in kind, indicating that he made the same mistake. And then they're both idiots! Yay internet! :-D As for me, I like the updated look in 1803, and I like most of the new features. What I DON'T like is that 1803 represents the first Win10 update I've received that has brought with it significant troubles. All of my UWP apps on my D drive are grayed out and say they need to be "repaired" (aka, "reinstalled").. My UWP apps on C are fine, and my non-UWP stuff on D is fine. It's only at the intersection of where UWP and D drive meet that I'm having problems. But unless someone knows a better and more convenient solution, I'm gonna have to spend a lot of time, and waste a lot of data redownloading about 100 apps, some of which are giant blockbuster UWP games, like Gears 4 and Forza 7 and so on, and for those, I may have to get creative just to get them to fit on C while downloading them again, before I can even think about moving them back to D. It's gonna be a great big mess, and take a lot of time, and that's making it hard to appreciate what otherwise seems like it's gonna be a really nice update! So, if anyone knows anything (objectivity), please let me know! :-) Cheers!
  • As an update, 4.5 is valid imho. It's a really good update, been using it for several weeks now.
  • I had nothing but issues with language packs on this build. Why is it so hard for Microsoft to create a simple way to uninstall EVERY part of a language pack and why does English (US) always reinstall itself EVERY time Windows is updated?
  • Really hate the missing Cortana home information. At least I can still get it on my Lumia 950.
  • You mean the feed?
  • Enjoy it while you can.....
  • Its sad to see it gone. Though changes are coming but the problem with Microsoft is that they do it bit-by-bit making the transition rough and feels more unfinished. If they just changed it together with new chat-based UI, it would be feel more substantial and makes more sense to see the change. Now it feels weird. But not as weird as the new To-Do feature in Cortana which is another fragmentation of task mangement from Microsoft.
  • Meh. It was just a Google knockoff and not that good either. Cortona needs more focus. I admit it was strange to see as well for me, but the more I think about it the more i feel meh is a good response
  • It's been almost 3 years now and they still haven't managed to merge CP with Settings app. It just makes you appreciate how much work has went into Windows 8.1 that was released only one year after initial Windows 8.
  • They are doing it in stages to work out what options are still required and which ones need to be depreciated. Settings is still the area to go to and is the default for a reason.
  • I think they intentionally to make it less drastic at the same time it really gonna takes a while to migrate everything. What I just wish though is that they should start grouping all subsettings like on Accessbility, so it will look more visually organized. And they need to improve its search capability.
  • Yes but it's primarily because of what I said above, personally I don't want another Control Panel style hot mess of settings.
  • Nice overview. Small correction: when you say "it's a small payoff for such a useful feature". I think you mean "it's a small price to pay for such a useful feature"
  • Looks good but I really wish they'd add the Tab key to the default "tablet" onscreen keyboard layout. I don't need numbers and function keys like the "full layout" keyboard has but not having the Tab key and having to pull up the symbols keyboard is really annoying.
  • I agree, this would be nice. I'm in the same boat. EDIT: I was for some reason initially recommending the "full layout" keyboard to you, but I deleted the comment when I realized that I completely misread your comment. My bad.
  • You didn't make a single comment about general polish, which to put it nicely, is utterly ****. The animation bugs and visual glitches that plague Windows 10 are now more noticeable and worse than ever and considering the number of updates and amount of time Microsoft has had to fix them, is just unforgivable. It's time to start weighing general polish into the score for these reviews. My score as a result would be 2 out of 5, or 3 out of 5 if I'm feeling particularly generous.
  • I feel that's a very subjective judgment. I get how designers and people versed in this stuff may find it offensive, but as an everyday user, I really have zero idea what you are talking about. Like, there's never a moment where I'm using Windows 10 and I'm like "huh, the general polish of this OS is terrible, I now feel bad about using this". But that's me, I also don't freak out when icons don't line up etc. as I'm more of a meta-person. Like saying "is just unforgivable" seems completely hyperbolic to me. Not that it's even wrong to point out UI inconsistencies (pretty sure even I just wrote something on that critiquing MS), but rather, in the scheme of how I actually use Windows this is low on my list.
  • It is something that only some people are bothered by, and it's a shame, because without the critical mass of feedback on these polish issues, they will never be attended to since they are not critical bugs. What it does result in is Windows 10 being by far the least visually appealing OS with the lowest attention paid to UX. A good UX is critical for consumer facing OSes because it gives the overall impression of a well designed and built EXPERIENCE. Windows 10 doesn't give this impression and it shows. I work in a customer facing retail environment and both staff and customers have this general impression of Windows 10 due to the factors I'm talking about. Also, on a related note, Microsoft is actively courting creatives with it's devices and partnerships, and without a good UX and smooth workflow designed to not only be functional but pleasing for creatives, the stigma around Windows as ugly and clunky will remain and success in breaking into the creative mainstream will be limited. Seemingly small issues can have a big impact and I don't think Microsoft fully understands this (and neither do most Microsoft fans).
  • Though I prefer not to make noise about this but I'm on the same boat. Though I don't see Windows 10 in general as being completly ugly, but it still is mostly unpolished. Though I'm not expecting to make everything sorted out in day-one even I wish to, but on areas that are more obvious and supposed to be finished. Example is that opening Live Tile Folders lack animations on closing, not to mention it still not on par with functionality as the W10M just to name one. It seems that Microsoft or more to Windows team doesn't take polishing the UX more seriously than it should be. Even though lately they are attracting designers and creatives with their Surface line of products and the marketing of 'Creators' Update. Which I'm happy but they still need work to show that they care about solid design on their OS. I still post my suggestions and feedbacks to the Feedback Hub when I got time, even with concepts or mockups. But lately I just grown tired of it. Maybe it will slowly improve integrating design to their development process more as they push Fluent Design further. It's just that the fact design isn't Microsoft's strong suit that I just have to accept it. Sometimes they still do great when they do, not just consistent. Though when it comes to hardware they sure are different and can run circles around Apple. Weirdly when it comes to software they are not, ironic in a sense that they are Software and Services company. All I can suggest is to keep them noted on Feedback Hub. The more detailed the feedbacks, the better. Finger-crossed that someday they will put their designers more to ther development process and have unified language.
  • I say it's a good idea to make noise about these things (especially on feedback hub and social media), because people who care about this are too few in the Windows community. We need to be louder in order to get any attention at all.
  • Agreed! No 1px window border & rgb antialiasing ftw!☺
  • Disagree with you, and agree with OP. This thing gets nicer by the day, and I'm a big W10 fan, but it totally lacks polish. Example, switch to tablet mode, and change between apps. Now witness them going all wonky, fashes, sudden change, no smooth transitions (like in non tablet mode).
    I witnessed this first, on the first betas of w10 3 years ago, and thought, buggy as hell, but they will fix it before release. three years on, and these unpolished animations animations are still there. As sad as this makes me and i'm sorry to say, this would never fly in Apple world.
  • Exactly on point. Tablet mode is simply an abortion (and that's not being hyperbolic) on Windows 10 and it is where most of the issues are apparent. Not only would this not fly on Apple's platforms, it wouldn't fly on ANY OS on the market now.
  • I'm a happy user of windows 10 myself and with this release Groove music has an in-built equalizer in its settings tab :D yes!, edge better than ever and OneDrive is much more functional, overall app control is even better.
  • This^ But get over it. Microsoft never polishes anything. By the time they get to polishing, they will change the design again.
  • animation bug and visual glitches...
    Never noticed anything like that on my Surface Pro and Alienwares... Maybe is your graphic card? driver? background services? I don't think I can recall seeing any graphical glitches since Win7... certainly not on Win8/10.
  • I'll give you a simple test to do so you can see what I mean. Grab your iPhone or Android phone and wake the device, taking note of how it looks. Do the same on your Surface Pro. That's the first impression someone gets when using the device and it's awful. There's many many other instances of shoddy engineering or design across the OS that I can call out if you want but I feel like no one will care or notice anyway.
  • It kind of looks like Cortana on Windows 10 is taking its cue from Cortana in Microsoft Launcher on Android. I have gotten to the point where I ignore Cortana for search and use a search engine site directly. Most of the on-screen features she brings seem to be headed to "too janky to depend on" territory. Maybe the second update for 2018 will help patch her up.
  • Does it finally enable the emoji picker (from Fall Creators Update, mind you) for non-US users??? I'll be really pissed off if they didn't.
  • I don't think it's there for all languages but it's definitely there for many more besides en-US.
  • The section about Timeline is kind of wrong. Apart from apps that implement a deeper integration (like Edge), Timeline shows all files opened via standard methods (e.g. by just opening it in File Explorer). If it appears in a "Most Recent" jumplist, it should appear on Timeline as well. On one of my PCs, I seem to be getting 30 days of Timeline even though sync is disabled while I have four days on the other. Do you know what's up with that? Overall I like this update except for the bad animation performance in Timeline. It's a little bit better than in 17133.1, admittedly, but still not really good. I wish they paid more attention to that.
  • It's a good update, the new features are great
  • Agree about the US-only features, there is no need for them to be restricted to just one market
  • That's probably why English (US) is installed after you upgrade, now no one is left out!!!
  • Are you sure about this functionality:
    "The Action Center is more or less the same as it was in the last update, except users with a trackpad can now dismiss notifications by using a two-finger swipe gesture" I can't swipe on navigation with two finger using the trackpad of my Surface.
  • Timeline pick up on different device only works with OneDrive, right?
  • Nice complete review.
    I agree this update is a mixed bag, as have previous updates. In this build I appreciate the more consistent UI elements are the OS. The rest is in my experience and outlook still a messy OS with half baked features. I agree that feature and language support is a sorepoint with windows. This despite windows household name outside the United States. For me its mindboggling microsoft can't get their language support in order. I haven't had this experience and issue with older windows version, yet windows 10 seems liked climbing mount everest to get it done, despite extensive feedback through mulitiple feedback channels over the years. Coranta region and language support outside the US is laughable, to date, and after 12 months I'm still waiting for the Dutch swipe keyboard support (this while the Dutch swipe keyboard has been supported for the last 5 years on windows phone/windows 10 mobile, crazy!). I think the timing of this critique is right at this point in time.
  • Hey, random question, I'm running the latest version of the retail Windows 10 release, should I have OneDrive placeholders (or whatever it's called now)? Because I don't. Also, more US only features? Seriously, Microsoft need to pull their heads out of their arses and think of the other 6.5 BILLION people in the world.
  • Thanks Zac for the review, it’s really comprehensive, how is the performance, I have 3 Atom devices: Two tablets and 1 pc stick and wonder if the performance will be the same or better, I use them for edge, streaming and reading, H
  • Really like the new release, and think you did a splendid job outlining the pros/cons. As for the major con I totally agree with your statement "The other not great thing about the April Update is Microsoft's continued lack of commitment to anyone outside of the United States. Lots of new and improved features in the April Update are US-only, which is absurd for a company as big as Microsoft." I would understand if they didn't just make what 5 BILLION more in profits due to Azure in the last quarter than expected! Seriously, can they not take just a fraction of these profits and make Cortana, Bing, the App Store, and the MS Rewards program fully on par with the US in major markets? They have 242 markets in the store, but at a minimum I would like to see them fully support their ecosystem in Canada, all of Europe, Brazil, India, China, Japan, and Russia.
  • Agreed. Microsoft's inability to be truly global given its history and resources is staggering.
  • My People is still lacklustre and pretty useless. Not even LinkedIn integration if I'm not mistaken? But Twitter and Facebook are key here - Microsoft needs to get them on board pronto!
  • True! I would love to use My People but at the moment it's still pretty much useless. They can't even make LinkedIn, Microsoft Teams and Xbox integrate to My People, their own very services. My People seriously needs to put all their messaging services to My People and have Facebook on-board at the very least. Imagine a Facebook Messenger integration, people would actually will want to use the app than just the web browser thanks on having a feature that similar to their Android with Chat Heads. They have to really entice developers of other messaging and social networking apps like Twitter, Line, WeChat, Viber, and WhatsApp. Also, SMS support too when Andromeda finally comes.
  • Little things? That's an understatement. They haven't fixed **** of what needed fixing and spent time on a bunch of useless crap. Nadellasoft strikes again ☹
  • Biggest disappointment is the missing Cortana feed informations.
    It seems Microsoft is slow poisoning Cortana to death.
  • Microsoft needs to move Cortana into its own App, and allow you to map it to a key. That's the way Siri works on iOS. If it was less intrusive, and I could turn it on and off easily (not the current Settings Gymnastics it takes to deal with this), I would actually use her less... Well, maybe. Since my iMac is... literally right there and I could just use Siri, instead. Microsoft hurt Cortana by being too aggressive with her. They went all in with it, trying to bill it as a convenience, but people are a lot more apprehensive about these types of integrations since the whole Snowden thing happened. Aside from that, they need to allow us to Add ePub and PDF to our Books Library, similar to the way you can with iBooks or the Kindle App. I hope this update does not *** with my drivers or anything. That will really infuriate me. And please don't re-install any bloatware I've already removed from my machine. Will turn Time Machine (whatever it's called) off immediately after installation. Don't see a point in using this. I have my browser set to delete my history when I close it. There is very little useful utility in this considering which apps I use on that machine (largely media creation/editing apps and games). I do all of my productivity work, and probably 75% of my web browsing on my iMac. My use of these two systems is a bit "backwards" from what people would expect. I like the Nearby feature, but they need a way to limit it only to known Contacts or something - the way Apple allows you to do with AirDrop. Otherwise I would never consider turning that feature on. They should make this able to work on WiFi, as well, though. I like the idea of 1 click pairing with devices, though! I just hope there are no performance regressions or driver issues... This started installing automatically on my machine. I'm pretty sure I had options selected to not do that (never mind, forgot when I got new Notebook that I didn't move my Windows Pro license over, and gave the laptop with it away to a family member... UGH!).
  • Looks good so far...
  • Downloaded and clean installed as with previous version. So far very good update. PC feels faster and noticed big improvement on Edge. It was very slow on previous version, that I ended up using chrome as main browser, where there is no need on the April 2018 update.
  • PROBLEM ENCOUNTERED: So, I just got the update this morning on my main PC. I have a little 2-in-1 that's on insider fast ring, but my main rig I keep off of insiders entirely, so this was the general public update. The update itself went off without a hitch, and the new update looks real nice. But I am left with the strangest problem: any UWP app that was installed on my D drive is grayed out, and says it needs "repaired" (which means reinstalled). I've done this with a few minor apps, and apart from being reinstalled on C rather than on D, it seems to be okay. I haven't tried moving them back to D from C yet, but I imagine they'd be okay. All my other files and .exe applications on D seem to be just fine. And of course, all my UWPs on C are fine. It seems to be limited strictly to UWPs on D. Has anyone else encountered this? I mean, I can "repair" all these apps, but I have a bunch, so that'd take a lot of time, especially considering I'd have to move them all back to D again - assuming that moving them back to D doesn't "rebreak" them. And if it does "rebreak them", and it's C or bust, I'm gonna have to do without a lot of them because of space constraints on C. And of course, that says nothing of the data usage involved in redownloading some of these really huge apps like Gears 4. Hell, I may not even have the "landing zone" space on C for Gears at all. So this bug has the potential to be tremendously disruptive for me. And even under the best case circumstances, assuming the "yep, you're gonna have to reinstall them all", it's still gonna involve a ton of time and a ton of data, and a ton of "data management" when I get to the bigger game apps. So, I guess I'm hoping that someone else has encountered this, and knows of a simpler fix that will provide me an alternate route to a solution that doesn't involve me "scorched earthing" my UWPs on D and eating up a bunch of my data. Lemme know! Thanks!!
  • Microsoft has not updated protection against Spectre (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4093836/summary-of-intel-microc...) in order to make it available for version 1803. KB4090007 update for 1709 was installed with the Intel microcode to mitigate Spectre. I just installed the 1803 and, after using the InSpectre tool, I see that I am vulnerable again. Edge continues to be unable to operate at 144Hz in a 144Hz monitor (you can use Testufo or Vsynctester to check it).
  • I just realized that the Mix Reality headset will not connect to the computer when you are offline and that is a very big disappointment to me. I have been playing games and watch downloaded neflix movies and other local content via VR headset several times without having to connect to the internet but after I downloaded this latest update, that is not possible anymore. I was demonstrating Mix Reality to a colleague at work this afternoon on my 15" Surface Book 2 and I was unable to connect the headset. At first I thought something was broken but I tried later on when I connected the Surface to the internet and it worked. After several trials with and without internet connections I realized that the new update requires internet connection for the MR headset to work.
  • Just Ctrl+F-d the whole text and could not find the words Skype and OneDrive.
    These two are busted totally like no icon in the taskbar for Skype, no indexing option for your files in your OneDrive folder etc.
    I wonder why Microsoft does not give a damn to these key programs.
  • Been struggling this week to update my Lenovo yoga tab 2 with this update... Better be worth it! Hate when big updates come along having a tablet with nowhere near enough storage for the update. Using an external USB drive to assist with it but that then means I can't keep the tablet plugged in whilst it updates... And for some reason still can't use micro SDs for updates!
  • I've got the update and one thing that seems cool is in the Photos app there are some new options for spicing up videos with various overlays, 3D objects, etc. At first I thought it wasn't working right because I couldn't find the option to add this stuff, but there was a Photos add-on that downloaded separately while I was trying to use the new features and it worked fine after that. It'll be easy to add explosions, confetti, etc. to videos with the new features.
  • "We're in an age now where new versions of Windows don't bring huge new changes, and that's okay.", and yet it still takes over an hour to install. Geez
  • It still a completely new build revision
    16299 to 17134
    and it didn't seem to take an hour on my HDD😁
    excluding download and preparing time seem about 30/40 min for me
    Also rs4 is just laying down the foundation for RS5
    which will be more in peoples faces with new feature😉
  • The update broke my sound card. Had to delete sound drivers and reload.
  • I've just gotten to the point of using Cortana and now it seems they are abandoning it. :(
  • If you mean why the cards were removed
    Like news and weather. There were a lot of people out there who just didn't like it in and only wanted it to be for search.
    But no there not abandon Cortana like if you ask her to set a reminder there a new UI for it. She still works with everything that she did before like ask her for packaging information or music.
    on PC I believe their goal is to now give her own dedicated spot outside of the search like Zach showed off a while back
  • Possibly the most buggy ***** Microsoft has released in some time.
  • Like every update it found a new way to make my recording hardware not work. Each time I have to find a new way to get my computer to recognize my recording hardware and drivers. Fun. And like usual, it's slowed up my system considerably. It's that old Microsoft/Intel conspiracy: make slower and slower software so Intel can sell faster processors.