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May 2, 2018

The 5 best features of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update

by John_A

That was a close one! Microsoft’s long-planned Windows 10 April 2018 Update, dubbed by many as the Spring Creators Update, only just slipped in under the wire as the month came to a close. There was some concern it would be pushed back until mid-May, throwing off the whole numbering scheme of Microsoft’s OS builds. But it made it the cut and brought with it some neat new features.

For now though, here’s why you should update: The five best features of the Windows 10 April update.

Timeline

While Timeline might make you think of the currently much maligned Facebook, Windows 10’s interpretation is a little different. It gives you the chance to look back at previous documents you were working on, old web searches, or old articles you were reading. The collection is listed chronologically and searchable for keywords to help you find whatever it was you were doing recently, up to a 30-day limit.

Think of it as a much more capable “recent documents” feature, but covering the whole of your Windows experience. It’s even compatible with multiple devices, so you can keep track of what you were doing across different hardware too.

Focus Assist

For those who regularly find themselves inundated with Windows notifications, Focus Assist is designed to give you a distraction-free environment to help you get some work or study done. You can turn it on manually through the action center, or have it start and stop automatically based on certain parameters, like the time of day. To make sure you don’t miss anything super important though, you can whitelist some notifications so they will still come through, even when you have your head down.

Edge kills the noise

Even if Microsoft’s Edge browser continues to fall behind the competition, that doesn’t mean it’s not always improving. New features added in the Windows 10 April update include the ability to disable audio on tabs you’re not watching with the click of a button. Great for those annoying auto-playing adverts or when you’re jumping around tabs. There are also some handy tools for students now built in, including the Grammar Tools, which can help identify different components of sentences and paragraphs — and a clutter-free print function to get rid of digital detritus.

Repeat after me

Windows 10 is now a better listener than ever, with an improved dictation component. Simply pressing the Windows key + “H” enables quick-dictation, so you can say, rather than type what you want to note down. Although you’ll still need to manually select the window or field you want the input to go into, it’s a neat feature for those who find typing bothersome and is a great improvement for those who need additional accessibility tools.

Per-game performance tweaks

Gamers weren’t forgotten about with the latest Windows update. Users can now customize their system’s graphical power within the settings menu on a per-game basis. While desktop gamers won’t need to use such a feature often, those running laptops with dedicated graphics chip might like to switch to the on-board GPU to save battery life.

Borrowing from Focus Assist, there’s also a new setting to let you turn off notifications when playing a full-screen game. You don’t only need to focus when working after all.


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