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Apr 27 2018

Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking: Windows 10 V1803 Available from April 30

It's official: The waiting period for the latest functional upgrade to Microsoft's desktop OS in what has been sarcastically dubbed Windows 10 Springwatch by a certain British colleague is drawing to a close this upcoming Monday.

Originally expected at some point between mid-March and April's Patch Tuesday, Redstone 4 aka the Spring Creators Update, will first be available as a free-of-charge standalone download before entering the regular update cycle on May 8 alongside other patches. At least that's what Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's Corporate VP, Windows and Devices Group, has promised today in a fresh post to the company's Windows Blog. Sadly, Mr. Mehdi doesn't offer any explanation for the prolonged delay, so customers will have to make do with the motives hinted at here and here. Given the potential for damage, prescient IT administrators as well as cautious professionals may want to run the refreshes in separate steps, even though this may cause occasional congestions of Redmond's distribution servers over the next couple of days. Moreover, anyone who resorts to the 'upgrade before the upgrade' should be aware that this method requires the manual creation of installation media (DVDs or bootable USB drives).

Aside from the official release date, Mr. Mehdi's post does relate a number of interesting details. First off, scores of users had wondered whether Microsoft would finally come up with a catchier moniker for an OS upgrade, instead of following the somewhat dull pattern established with its predecessors. The answer is a resounding no – as it turns out, the official title is now "Windows 10 April 2018 Update." Whether that means the final version number will be 1804 instead of 1803, as initially planned, remains to be seen. Regarding new features, Mehdi appears to be focused on Timeline, an enhancement of the Task View functionality that we described as a "type of activity log that [...] records which specific application one uses to work on a specific piece of content" at specific points in time in an earlier newsflash. The idea is to make documents, mails, photos and websites easier to find after a break – users no longer have to sift through a batch of files and folders, but can simply click a small window on their screen instead. Focus Assist for its part is an improved version of a feature previously known as Quiet Hours that lets users suppress notifications when they want to be able to work without distractions, e.g. while giving presentations. Beyond that, the upgrade includes refined versions of the Edge browser, Cortana and voice dictation that mainly address the needs of power users and a variety of tweaks for management tools such as Windows AutoPilot, Delivery Optimization and System Center Configuration Manager.

We'll return to this topic once we've had a few days to play around with the April Update.

 
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