Windows 10 update: Key features you need to know about

1 May 2018

Microsoft logo on building. Image: r classen/Shutterstock

Microsoft releases details about the major new changes in store for Windows 10.

The April update for Windows 10 kicks off today (1 May) and Microsoft has released four new videos outlining the most exciting features.

The update is full of small and beneficial tweaks, with only one massive change: Timeline.

Here’s a breakdown of the key improvements and additions.

What’s new with Windows 10?


Timeline replaces the Task View button, which shows the apps that are currently running on a system. The new feature will let you do the above but will now show you which apps and activities you have been using over the past 30 days.

These sync across multiple devices, so you can work on something you began on a desktop once you have signed in. Timeline can also be used in conjunction with the new Microsoft Edge Browser for iOS and Android, allowing you to view your smartphone browser history on your PC or laptop.

Edge Tab Muting and PWAs

Users of Microsoft Edge can now mute annoying websites with tab muting. Microsoft is also adding support for progressive web apps (PWAs) in this latest update. These are web apps with the full support of the likes of Apple and Google (and Microsoft with this latest update) across mobile and desktop.

There are now also options for full-screen PDFs in Edge as well as autofill and new grammar tools that highlight different elements of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives.


A welcome boost for those looking for greater accessibility, pressing the Windows key and H will now launch the in-built Windows 10 Dictation tool in any app. This will no doubt prove useful for those who need to compile documents or chat with friends without a keyboard.

Dictation can also be used to manage smart home devices using Cortana on your Windows 10 computer.

Focus Assist

This new feature will please those who struggle with the temptation to use social media while working. The Focus Assist feature will boost your productivity by muting notifications and social media for an assigned amount of time.

You can also set it for certain times of day. Once it has been switched off, you will be brought up to speed on what you may have missed.

Nearby sharing

This feature will allow you to easily share websites, photos or documents to other Windows 10 machines running close by, similar to Apple’s AirDrop feature. This will come in handy in terms of sending files, as email is a little slower.

Change audio preferences

Input and output for audio devices can now be set per application, so you can listen to the audio from your browser via headphones as you play music in another app from your speakers.

What about enterprises?

Modern Desktop

Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus manage Modern Desktop, and two new features have been added. Delivery optimisation allows for one device to download and use the local network to send the update on to peers, reducing bandwidth by up to 90pc.

Delivery optimisation statistics can be monitored using Windows Analytics.

Readiness Toolkit for Office (RTO)

RTO will help with Office VBA, Macro and add-in compatibility. The application health analyser will also be launched in the next few months, and will examine the dependencies of internally developed apps.

Kiosk updates

Windows Kiosk devices will see boosted options, including: “extending the assigned access capabilities for Windows 10, so you can easily deploy and manage kiosk devices with Microsoft Intune for your single or multiple app scenarios”.

It added: “This includes the new Kiosk Browser that will be available from the Microsoft Store. Kiosk Browser is great for delivering a reliable and custom-tailored browsing experience for scenarios such as retail and signage.”

Built-in compliance

New capabilities for Microsoft 365 have been added in terms of classification and discovery of data, and a new data privacy tab is now available in the Security and Compliance Center.

Integrated administrative experience

Office 365 and Microsoft 365 users will now have access to the same admin centre and capabilities.

Windows will be staggering this release, but those eager to explore the new features can download it themselves.

Microsoft logo on building. Image: r classen/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects