We’re about three years into Windows 10, and we’ve seen a lot of changes to the OS, as well as the servicing model, in those three years. The move to no longer offering major OS updates every couple of years with a new name, and requirement for purchase, is very welcome, and has likely been the biggest success of the Windows 10 launch. Microsoft has also refined the servicing model to a more consistent pattern of two updates per year, and while that can either be a pro or a con depending on where you stand, they’ve met that over the last couple of updates. With the Windows 10 April Update, which is version 1803, we’ve got arguably the smallest update yet in terms of new features, but that’s not really a bad thing. Three years in, the OS is mature enough that it’s good to see the company dialing back on the major interface changes, and hopefully focusing more on consistency, and reliability.

There’s still a lot of new features for the April Update, but only a handful of what you’d consider major feature additions to Windows. There’s Timeline, Nearby Share, Focus Assist, and Progressive Web App support being the most noticeable user-facing features, but there’s also a lot of little changes under the hood as well, such as more use of their Fluent design language across the OS, a continued movement of replacing the Control Panel with the new Settings app, and improvements to visibility of privacy information, among others.

Windows 10 Version History
Version Version Number Release Date
Windows 10 Original Release 1507 July 29, 2015
November Update 1511 November 10, 2015
Anniversary Update 1607 August 2, 2016
Creators Update 1703 April 5, 2017
Fall Creators Update 1709 October 17, 2017
April Update 1803 April 30, 2018

It’s also worth discussing the state of Windows right now in the grand scheme of Microsoft. Terry Myerson, who has been the EVP of Windows and Devices for Microsoft for almost five years, and who has been the driving force behind the new Windows 10 model of constant servicing rather than large updates every couple of years, announced his departure from Microsoft in March of this year. Microsoft is in the middle of a transition from their legacy applications such as Windows and Office, to a cloud computing company based on services, and Windows is no longer going to be the driving factor there. As such, the former crown jewels of the company are being pushed to the outskirts. It’ll still be an important platform for Microsoft, but growth for the company is going to come from other places.

What this will mean for Windows 10 is likely going to be a reduction in resources allocated to its development, although that’s speculation at this time. It would not be surprising to see future updates scaled back in terms of frequency though. Considering the maturity of Windows 10 now, and the major foothold it has in the enterprise, a yearly update would likely make more sense anyway, so this might not be a bad thing.

We’ve also seen the latest April Update falling into some issues with delivery, thanks to some critical bugs found right before it was set to ship. This delayed the shipment of the new update until the very last day in April, which was only symbolically important because someone decided to call it the April Update. In reality, it wasn’t being pushed to anyone in April, but was available for people to manually get it. But as of this writing, the official rollout seems to be very slow to start, so perhaps there’s other issues holding up deployment, much like the incompatibility with the Intel 600p. That’s unfortunate, since the Fall Creators Update was pretty quick to rollout, but even with a massive beta test network in the Windows Insider Program, it proves again how difficult it is to do Windows as a Service on a regular schedule.

But, once it does start rolling out through Windows Update, there will be some new things to check out, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Timeline and Focus Assist: Get More Done
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  • nico_mach - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    They pretty much did? These are the best, most useful implementations of Linux on Windows I've seen, and they're only lacking server versions.

    If you mean, why don't they ship linux? Well, they kind of do on Azure. There's no real reason to do so as a consumer facing OS, unless you're suggesting Windows EdgeOS? Which is very clearly crossing the line into why-bother territory.
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - link

    There's no value in running something other than a *nix kernel at this point. If they want to keep costs low in the OS development department, then its probably as good a time as any to make the transition. The open source community and Microsoft could further mutually benefit from working together as would software compatibility and cross-platform functionality. All of that can be relatively hidden from the end user by the OS UI so aside from the one-time cost of conversion, a cost they could absorb into pushing out Windows 11 -- something that they'll eventually have to do anyway given predominant market forces, I think staying on their current course is a misstep and a missed opportunity for the computing industry in general and Microsoft in specific.
  • ChristopherFortineux - Friday, June 8, 2018 - link

    Because linux will never be fully supported for everyday use and software across the board. They can run the kernel within Windows already.
  • Kvaern1 - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    "But, once it does start rolling out through Windows Update, there will be some new things to check out, so let’s take a look at some of them."

    Not sure what you mean here. My home PC got it through Windows Update on April 30th.
  • Brett Howse - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    You had to manually check for updates for that to happen on the 30th. The auto rollout has been a lot less aggressive.
  • ikjadoon - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    The flip side is that I was checking for *other* updates (some minor security fixes), not 1803.

    Got my first blue screen ever in Windows 10 immediately after the update. Plus a host of other minor bugs (Chrome freezing, OEM partition assigned a drive letter, etc.).

    I would’ve appreciated either the choice to install 1803 (but why can’t I take minor updates like everyone else?) or don’t allow it all thru the OS unless you use the Media Creation Tool.

    I didn’t need to be a beta tester seemingly a month early.
  • Drazick - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    I wish they gave us back the option to customize Windows on installation phase.

    I'd really want to install a minimal Windows.
    I don't need all this bloatware. I want my system to be compact and efficient.
  • LazloPanaflex - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    You want "minimal windows"? Then do yourself a favor and upgrade to Win 7.

    Here's my recent experience with 10 -- bought the in-laws a lower end Dell laptop with 10 pre-installed. Could not get their slightly older HP printer working, even with win 10 drivers from HP's website. Bought a Canon printer, same problem. Logitec speakers would not work correctly for some reason. And the coup de grace? Windows updates refused to download. So I put Win 7 on it, and it's running great.

    Microsoft can shove 10 up their collective asses.
  • Drazick - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Actually Windows 10 has smaller footprint than Windows 7 and it is more efficient.
    But still there are som many applications and background processes I don't want / need.

    I wish I could not have them at all.
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - link

    As far as space goes, I agree. Also faster boot time. More efficient in general operation is not so clear. As you said, so many applications and background processes.

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