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Press F to pay respects to the Windows 10 April Update casualties

Or dance on their graves, whatever flips your pancake

The Windows 10 April Update has begun seeping out from beneath the Redmond bathroom door. As an antidote to the excitement of the new, let us take a moment to mourn the passing of the old.

First on Microsoft's roll of honour was Groove Music Pass. The music service, which was loved by a niche of users, got a Spotify-shaped knife through the heart back in 2017. With the April 2018 Update, Microsoft has formalised the arrangement. The Groove app will now only play music on a PC or stream from OneDrive. If users want to source music elsewhere, well, there's an app for that.

Another victim of April's cull was HomeGroup, arguably the last vestige of Microsoft's PC-based home media and network strategy. Introduced in Windows 7, HomeGroup was intended to allow a group of PCs on a home network to share files and printers without recourse to servers or complicated authentication rules.

Unfortunately, HomeGroup came just as Microsoft began a long retreat from its attempt to fill the home with PCs. The latest release saw the networking solution that nobody used totter off into the sunset, following Windows Home Server and the much-missed Windows Media Center.

The final notable absentee from Windows 10 1803 onward was the venerable XPS viewer. Built into Windows Vista, the technology was intended as an alternative to PDF. With the April 2018 Update, users desperate to use the unloved format will have to manually download a viewer when using a fresh copy of Windows 10. Upgrading users should be able to ignore the viewer as before.

Other features not quite dead, but not receiving any further love from Microsoft, include the little-used Phone Companion and the Windows Help Viewer. With roots going back to the Windows 3.0 helpfiles of 1990, users could be forgiven for being surprised to learn that WinHlp32.exe was still a thing. With all Windows documentation now online, Microsoft has been determined to kill it once and for all.

So pause a moment while tearing off the wrapping paper from today's new Windows 10 toys and ponder which will survive the test of time. ®

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