The snow is melting, birds are chirping, flowers and trees are blooming and…. there’s a new version of Windows 10 coming out! Redstone 4 (or Windows 1803 as most folks will likely refer to it) is practically upon us. Windows 10 is now six releases old, and Microsoft is sticking pretty closely to the two-releases per year messaging they’ve espoused for years now. There’s a raft of new features and changes for both the casual user, the seasoned pro, and IT teams to be aware of in 1803. Here’s just a few of my favorites and updates of which to be aware:
- Homegroups – have been retired and all links and visual clues will be removed.
- Look and Feel – lots of changes and updates to the Start Menu, Action Center, Calendar and Settings that incorporate new design elements from Microsoft.
- Edge –
- Extensions for Edge will now also work InPrivate browser windows
- Support for EPUG books and your custom reading library
- Mute specific tabs (take care of those pesky video ads during conference calls)
- Wallet-like functionality to save credit card and related payment information
- Focus Assist – if you’re tired of all the notifications that seem to come throughout the day (email, Twitter, etc.), now you can set hours and notification levels so that only important interruptions get your attention – allowing you to focus
- Sharing – even with Homegroups gone, there’s a new option called “Nearby Sharing” that lets you share files and web links easily and wirelessly with nearby devices using available Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (both devices must be 17035 or better)
- Timeline –
- Timeline Viewer is used to show activities and scroll between them. Think of it like “History” for your desktop.
- Launch Timeline with WIN + TAB
- Simplifies getting back to work quickly if you move between devices, forget sites and apps you used, or, where files and work has been saved.
- Resume activities on PCs, iOS, and Android devices
- Integrated with Task View to switch easily between apps running right now and activities in the past
- Bluetooth – new quick pairing feature can be triggered just by moving a Bluetooth device close to your 1803 PC. Action Center will notify you about the discovered device.
- Privacy – tired of putting tape on your on-board laptop/tablet camera? 1803 now allows for more granular control over which apps can access your cameras.
- SMB – don’t forget Microsoft is now disabling SMB1 support by default due to security concerns. If you depend on SMB1 for network browsing or access to home NAS devices – you may want to evaluate the impact of this change
What does all this mean? If you support 10’s or even 100’s of thousands of PCS, or even just 5, there are features in Windows 10 Spring Creators Update 1803 to be aware of, and if you’re like most folks and admins I’ve talked with – they like the incremental functionality and features Redmond is putting out. Getting and staying up-to-date on Windows 10 ensures that your PCs, your users, and your data are as secure as possible – but only if you’re running the latest version.
One other thing to remember: if Microsoft were sticking strictly to the Windows servicing cycle, the 1607 release would be going out of support about now. As it happens, because many users were taking longer to rollout the earlier releases of Windows 10, Microsoft has specially extended support for 1607, 1703 and 1709 releases. But that’s a short-term thing – this new release, 1803, will be out of support Sept 2019 (or thereabouts) and you should be planning for how you are going to keep with all these releases.
If you’ve not figured out yet how to enable your users and your organization to move quickly to the newest (supported!) versions of Windows 10… give us a call at 1E (http://www.1e.com). Our Windows Servicing Suite and associated patented technology is *the* way to Get Current and Stay Current on Windows 10 with minimal disruption and maximum efficiency and a whole lot of automation. Watch below to learn more about our Windows Servicing Suite: