Back in the day, a new version of Windows would launch about as often as the US elected presidents. It was exciting to see updates because of how infrequent and dramatic they’d be. However, that all changed when Windows 10 was released, and the shift in strategy worked: there are now more than 700 million Windows 10 users as of March 2018.
System Reqs and Versions
This review pertains to the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10. For detailed Windows 10 system requirements and the various versions, check out the Microsoft website.
Since its launch, Windows 10 has become Microsoft’s sole operating system (OS), constantly evolving with new features and supported form factors. The most recent of these evolutions is the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, which we’ll dig into momentarily.
Beyond that, Microsoft is busy trimming redundant Windows features ahead of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. We’ve actually seen what’s in this new Windows build back at Microsoft Build 2018, in all of its ‘Fluent Design’ glory. Alongside a new dark theme for File Explorer, it’ll also feature a more robust ‘Your Phone’ app, which will integrate with your mobile device, regardless of OS.
Generally speaking, Windows 10 devices are more accessible than ever, thanks to Windows 10 S Mode. Plus, if you want an even more secure and lightweight version of the OS, you may be in luck – Microsoft is rumored to be working on a Windows 10 Lean Mode, a more extreme version of S Mode.
It’s through these updates, revisions and spin-offs that Microsoft’s OS continues to evolve over time, with features and support that extend way further than the traditional computer.
How to use Windows 10
Stuck with figuring out how to work this newfangled operating system? Check out our detailed guide for how to use Windows 10!
And now that Windows 10 on ARM is a thing, we could see more of these low power modes that have Windows 10 adapting to the hardware it runs on. We’ve also heard some rumors that suggest that Microsoft is busy working on a super-secure, ‘next-generation’ OS, that could be completely modular.
If you want to pick up Windows 10, Microsoft calls for $139 (£119, AU$199) for the Home version, while Windows 10 Pro will set you back $199 (£219, AU$339). However, you can easily find downloads of Windows 10 Home for just $99 in the US.
After first diving deeper into the major beats of the Windows 10 April Update Update, let’s determine for you whether a copy of the OS is worth the price.
Windows 10 April 2018 Update
The April 2018 Update first issued several months ago, at the time of writing, has introduced several brand new features to Windows 10 that add quite a bit of depth and utility to the experience. Let’s break down the features you’ll use the most.
Timeline. Imagine this feature as the virtualized desktop tool of versions past, but now with the added element of time. This allows you to go back in time to saved desktop states as they were at the time. Timeline also works with connected phones and tablets to reconnect with automatically saved places in Microsoft Edge and Office 365 apps. You can even delete specific activities. All told, it’s an awfully useful feature that could potentially save your butt.
April 2018 Update Issues
Experiencing issues with the latest version of Windows 10 you just can't figure out? Check out our guide on the top Windows 10 April 2018 Update problems and how to fix them!
Nearby Sharing. This is, frankly, a lot like Apple’s AirDrop feature that has been on Macs and iPhones and iPads for a long time. It’s simply a faster way of sharing files with Windows 10 devices that are, well, nearby over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The feature is nevertheless useful – it’s just one that should have been there already.
Focus Assist. Welcome to one of our favorite and most-used Windows 10 features since the update landed. This allows you to suppress both visual and audio notifications to allow you to focus on the task at hand. You can either manually toggle the setting or schedule it to activate at specific times of the day. When you’re ready to re-engage with your feeds, you’ll get a summary of notifications. It’s Do Not Disturb mode from your phone for your PC, and we love it.
Microsoft Edge. Microsoft has brought further ebook improvements to its Edge browser, now allowing for a full-screen reading mode and holding a wider EPUB book selection. Also, there’s a new Dark Mode for Edge that should excite some users as well as – finally – the ability to mute audio within tabs.
Windows Ink. Now, you can ink anywhere within Windows 10 that previously required you to type. Just press your stylus directly onto text fields to start writing, and you can even edit your work. This is an interesting feature, but sadly only works in Microsoft made or supported apps right now, so you can’t navigate a web browser with writing or literally pen an email. That is, unless perhaps it’s with Outlook.
Windows 10 in S Mode. This edition of Windows 10 marked the transition of Windows 10 S from a spinoff OS to a mode that can be toggled in either version of full Windows 10. This ultimately means potentially more secure machines for newbies and the option to opt out for pros.
Security. Microsoft has introduced even further improvements to Windows Defender, particularly a new account protection pillar within the app. This collects all of the tool’s functions for protecting your account details and backing them up with biometric data via Windows Hello. The tool also now provides more information regarding device security as well as the options to toggle hardware security features. We very much appreciate Microsoft’s rounding out of its security offering from malware protection down to biometric login management.
First reviewed: July 2015
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this review