Microsoft's Windows 10 April 2018 Update ships April 30 with a mission: Saving you time

Don't expect it to be a barn-burner, but there are some great new features.

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The next big Windows 10 update is finally upon us, and it finally has a name: the April 2018 Update. It will be available for download beginning Monday, April 30.

The April 2018 Update is also known as Version 1803 (it was codenamed Redstone 4, and it was informally called the Spring Creators Update). It rolls up several of the features that Microsoft has been quietly previewing in its Windows 10 Insider beta editions for the last few months.

This particular update’s focus is efficiency. “With our latest major release – the Windows 10 April 2018 Update – we want to give you back some of your greatest currency, your time,” Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post on Friday. “Our hope is that you’ll have more time to do what matters most to you –  create, play, work or simply do what you love."

Here are the highlight features, according to the blog post:

  • Timeline, a history of websites you've visited and documents you've used
  • Focus Assist (formerly Quiet Hours), which does a better job of managing notifications
  • Updates to the Edge browser, with now stores payment information and includes clutter-free printing
  • Better dictation (Windows dictation was a feature that quietly debuted in the Fall Creators Update.)

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, will still be there, with new controls for the smart home

While PCWorld will present our final verdict on the April Update on Monday, we’ve already written in-depth evaluations of a couple of the key features of the April 2018 Update:

TechHive has also looked at how Cortana interacts with the smart home as part of its review of the Harman/Kardon Invoke. 

With the April 2018 Update out of the way, Microsoft is moving on to Redstone 5, its next Windows 10 feature update that will debut in the fall. So far, that's very focused around Sets, the tabbed interface that Microsoft tested in the April 2018 Update, then later withdrew for inclusion in Redstone 4. 

What this means for you: Windows 10 updates can be fun for those who appreciate new features—but also a source of stress for those who can never find a good time to install them. We’d recommend making sure you’re up to date on two things: ensuring that your Windows active hours (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Change active hours) are set so that new feature updates will download and install during off hours, and even possibly delay the feature update for a set number of days (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options). The ability to defer feature updates is only part of Windows 10 Pro, however.

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