On Monday, Microsoft will start to push out the April 2018 Update to Windows 10 — a free upgrade to the operating system that makes lots of small tweaks, while also adding a bunch of new features.
The flagship new features in the Windows 10 update include Timeline, a nifty way to keep track of what files you were working on, when, and from what devices, and Focus Assist, which makes it so you only see the notifications you want to see while you're working. If that's all you need to hear, you can manually download the update straight from Microsoft starting Monday, by way of the Windows Update tool. Otherwise, Windows 10 will start bugging you to upgrade beginning on 8 May, and pushing it out as part of the normal update process.
Microsoft releases these big updates twice a year. This time, though, one thing is a little different: The nomenclature. In the past, they've come with flowery names like "Anniversary Update" or "Creators Update." The more straightforward "April 2018 Update" name is just so people can keep track, says Microsoft.
Notably, the April 2018 Update was widely expected to launch earlier in the month. However, Microsoft delayed the launch a few weeks after some members of the Windows Insider preview program discovered the update had a glitch that caused the dreaded Blue Screen of Death on some PCs.
Now, Microsoft is confident that it's stamped out the bugs, and it's ready for prime time.
While we're on the subject, the Edge browser on Windows 10 is getting a handful of upgrades, too:
- For instance, you can now mute and unmute sound coming from browser tabs, as you can with Google Chrome.
- Books and PDFs in Edge can now be viewed in full-screen mode.
- For online shopping, Edge can save your address to quickly fill out forms.
- Most intriguingly, a new grammar tool will help younger readers, or anybody who just needs a little help, make sense of the web by breaking the words into syllables, and highlighting nouns and other parts of speech.
Other little input additions include a new dictation mode. The Windows button + H on your keyboard in any app will let you type away with your voice. On the subject of voice, the Cortana virtual assistant on Windows 10 is getting a little upgrade to control select smart-home equipment with your voice. Microsoft touts integrations with smart thermostats from Ecobee, Google's Nest, and other popular brands.