On August 2nd, Microsoft delivered the next major update to Windows 10, nicknamed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Unlike previous versions on Windows that had service packs to fix major bugs or add features, Windows 10 major updates will be delivered as new “builds” up to two times per year which is faster than previous versions of Windows. This update will be delivered to all PCs running Windows 10 over the course of several months. PSI clients that subscribe to patch management & monitoring will be updated several weeks after the initial release, allowing for initial bugs to be corrected.

One of the biggest changes to Windows 10 in this update will be the ability to use “dark” themes. Currently, Windows 10 uses a white or light gray background for all of its Windows. The “Dark” theme will change this color to a dark gray, making the overall color of Windows appear darker. This feature has been introduced due to feedback that Windows is too bright, and some users are having trouble reading the menu choices on the screen.

Microsoft Edge, the web browser specifically designed for Windows 10, is also receiving updates. The browser will now support extensions, something that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have supported for some time. Expect to see third party supported extensions such as Ad-Block Plus ready for Edge on August 2nd. The browser has also been updated to automatically pause video feeds that start as soon as a webpage loads.  Most of this content is considered to be advertising, so this is a welcome change.

Windows Hello, the login assistant for Windows 10, is also being updated. The change will allow for Windows Hello to authenticate users to websites (if supported) or the Windows Store. This extended support will be used for biometric identification, including facial recognition and fingerprint reading. Instead of typing your password into a website, a Windows Hello supported site would allow you to swipe your finger instead. Microsoft has identified that consumers are becoming frustrated with password complexity, and this is an attempt to ease the burden of security users experience.

Users with touchscreens can also expect to see changes in what Microsoft calls Ink. Ink will now come with an “Ink Workspace” that allow for additional tools to be used when writing on the screen. For example, a user of Windows Maps will be able to annotate notes along the map route with Ink Workspace.

Cortana was a central part of Windows 10, and is also receiving several updates to make the feature more useful to everyone. Users may fine the service more useful as it has been allowed access to Office, Outlook, and the Windows 10 calendar app. This allows for Cortana to be aware of your schedule, and create calendar items for you. Third part support for additional programs is also included, and we expect to see some manufactures add support to their applications in the future.

The action center will also see several changes that allow for individual apps, like Twitter, to send notifications to it. Notifications can also be limited to a specific number per app as well. Speaking of Twitter, Windows 10 also adds support for several new Emoji:

Additional features that are not as visible include security changes within Windows that help keep the operating system as secure as possible. Several features will have power-saving options, and have their code optimized to allowing them to run faster. Power saving options will allow for laptops to run longer without needed to be plugged in.

Since this update is a “major” Windows 10 release, please expect 30-120 minutes will be needed to install the update, depending on your hardware. PSI will send the update to our client’s computers after-hours to keep downtime to a minimum. As you update your home PCs, please plan for some downtime once the update begins. If you have any questions or concerns about the update for your PC or business, please call Plummer Slade at 412-261-5600.