Windows 10's Distraction-Reducing Feature Is Now Called Focus Assist

Quiet Hours, an attention-honing feature, will get a new name and expanded functionality in the next big Windows 10 update.

Focus Assist

Microsoft's Quiet Hours is getting a new name befitting its role as a distraction-reducing feature for the Windows 10 operating system.

In preview build 17083 of the operating system, available to members of the Windows Insider testing and feedback program, Quiet Hours is now called Focus Assist. The new name evokes Microsoft's ethos of boosting both professional and personal productivity through its products, in this case with a feature that helps users concentrate on the task at hand in Windows 10.

Like Quiet Hours, Focus Assist allows users to set aside time that is free from notifications, application alerts and other interruptions. Users can define a schedule and make exceptions for notifications from selected contacts and applications. To keep meetings and presentations on track, Focus Assist is automatically triggered when Windows' screen-mirroring function is enabled.

Fleshing out the features introduced in Windows 10 Insider preview build 17074, Focus Assist will allow users to access three modes (priority only, alarms only and off) by right-clicking the Action Center icon in the Windows taskbar. Previously, users could turn the feature on and off by right-clicking on the icon while most of its options were tucked into a Windows settings screen.

Microsoft also continues to fine tune Timeline, a new visual interface that allows users to scroll back in time and resume tasks that show up as activity cards. Clicking on a card allows users to jump back into websites, files and applications and pick up where they left off.

Build 17083 now allows users to remove Timeline activities in one fell swoop, rather than having to delete each one individually.

"When you are in the default view, you will see a new 'clear all from day' option when right-clicking on an activity.  If you clicked 'see all' to see activities for just one day, this option changes to allow you to 'clear all from hour' instead," blogged Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program. "Because this option can clear a lot of activities at once, we will ask you to confirm this choice before deleting the activities."

Windows 10 is also gaining a more flexible font-management system.

A new Fonts page has been added to Windows settings. It features a preview of each font, a customizable snippet that shows off what each font looks like on-screen, along with sliders for OpenType Variable fonts that allow users to change each font's look on the fly.

In addition, Microsoft has added fonts as a category in the Microsoft Store. For now, it contains a small set of curated font packages, but the company expects it to expand over time, said Sarkar.

Finally, build 17083 introduces the Diagnostic Data Viewer app, a new privacy tool that allows users to see exactly what kind of information their Windows PCs are sending to Microsoft. Users can search and filter diagnostic events, and leave feedback.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...