Windows April 2018 Update Focuses On Time Management

Microsoft has made the latest version of Windows 10, called the April 2018 Update, available just in time for its name to remain accurate, with a focus on features for time and task management.

The software was planned for delivery earlier in April, but Microsoft halted rollout in order to patch a last-minute bug.

The update marks a shift from the previous two versions’ focus on media creation, the company said.

“We want to give you back some of your greatest currency, your time,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group.

Windows 10’s new Timeline feature

Time management

The April 2018 update adds a timeline feature to the task view, showing a searchable history of the applications and files opened earlier in the day or week.

Timeline allows users to easily resume activities where they left off on a PC or other devices, Microsoft said. The Edge browser on Windows 10, Android and iOS is one of the first applications to support the feature.

Focus Assist is aimed at helping users concentrate, and can be turned on manually or scheduled. It blocks notifications and other distractions while a user is working, and provides a summary of what happened when it is switched back on.

Users can whitelist certain people so that their emails and messages appear even when Focus Assist is activated.

A new dictation feature lets users trigger dictation from any text box using the Windows Key + H.

The Cortana virtual assistant can now suggest tasks to resume from previous devices via Timeline, and can control smart home appliances from  Google’s Nest, Honeywell, ecobee and others, as well as third-party applications including Spotify.

Edge browser upgrade

Microsoft’s Edge browsercan  now remove extraneous elements when printing from a website and can mute audio from designated tabs. Grammar tools help users deal with complex words and highlight sentence components.

Windows 10 now has a feature for sending files over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, similar to Apple’s AirDrop.

A Delivery Optimisation feature now lets users download updates to a single machine, which can then transfer the software to other systems on the same network. Microsoft says the feature can reduce bandwidth usage by up to 90 percent.

Windows 10 S Mode has also now arrived, as well, providing an option to run a simplified version of Windows that boots faster and is more secure. Microsoft said the mode is aimed at use cases such as kiosks and remote workers.

Microsoft stops supporting Windows 10 updates two years or less after release, meaning the Windows 10 Anniversary Update from August 2016 will now no longer receive bug fixes or security updates.

Support for the Creators Update from last April will end on 9 October, Microsoft said.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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