It's almost here! The next major Windows 10 update is upon us and it's going to introduce big changes and other tweaks to Windows 10 desktops and laptops everywhere.
Mark your calendars! It will start rolling out on October 17.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Microsoft calls it the Fall Creators Update since it is the follow-up to the Creators Update, the last major Windows 10 update released in April.
The Fall Creators Update will be the fourth major update for Windows 10 since its debut and it is set to deliver welcome improvements and features to the more than 500 million Windows 10 computers worldwide.
So what's new with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update? We've been keeping an eye on the new features being tested with the Windows 10 Insider Builds and here are the most useful features we've seen so far:
New feature for OneDrive
OneDrive is set to receive a major upgrade when the Fall Creators Update is released. Being called "Files On-Demand," the tool will give users additional control options for cloud and local storage options.
This feature will be perfect for anyone who needs access to their files and folders on the go since everything will be available even if you haven’t synced your device to your computer in a while.
One of Windows' worst problems has always been its sluggish start-up time. These days, when we're all so accustomed to our smartphones and tablets quickly opening, it can feel like an eternity for your laptop to start up.
Microsoft has been working to improve its boot-up experience with Windows 10. That's continuing with the Fall Creators Update.
There's also a big new feature called Eye Control and it allows you to operate an on-screen keyboard, mouse, and text-to-speech using only your eyes.
If this sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie, well you're right. This means you can control the mouse cursor by merely moving your eyes around or interact with a user interface icon by simply staring at it until it activates.
Windows 10 laptop and tablet users will definitely appreciate this new feature. Power Throttling will diminish the performance of non-priority background programs to save battery life.
This feature is said to lower processor power consumption by up to 11 percent, which means improved battery life for your portable Windows 10 gadgets.
My People Hub
A new way to communicate with your family and friends will be introduced via the "My People Hub." This will have its own taskbar icon and it will provide a quick way to launch communication apps like Skype and Mail and a shortcut to your contacts list.
Three of your favorite contacts can also be pinned to the right-hand side of the taskbar for instant communication. You can simply click on the favorite contact's avatar to send an email, call via Skype or share files.
Automatic Storage Sense management
Windows 10's drive storage management app Storage Sense is also getting key improvements. Now, it can automatically delete files from the Downloads folder after 30 days and also remove previous versions of Windows automatically after an upgrade.
New look: Windows Fluent Design System
The Fluent Design System for Windows 10 is also being introduced with the Fall Creators Update. This was previously known as Project Neon and seems to be influenced by Google's Material Design.
Microsoft's operating system will now include elements of transparency and animation that it previously lacked. The Fluent Design System is expected to look cleaner and fit better on the display than before. Some additional user interface touches will bring the desktop to life.
Link your laptop to your Android smartphone
Microsoft's Windows 10 is an operating system for laptops and PCs. Windows has never been a great OS for smartphones. Microsoft has openly acknowledged that it needs to do a better job of working on your smartphone.
This new feature, called Cross-Device Web Browsing, is a step in the right direction. To share a link from your Android device to your Windows 10 laptop or PC: From your computer, go to Settings >> Phone and link your phone >> from your Android phone, open the text message link called Microsoft Apps.
Emoji fans rejoice! The Fall Creators Update will bring support for the new Emoji 5.0 designs. There's also a new-onscreen Emoji panel and a touchscreen keyboard with predictive text Emojis.
Web results without opening browser
Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana, responds to your voice or typed queries. "Cortana, where is the closest McDonald's?"
Now, Cortana will give you faster answers for some questions. Instead of opening your web browser to provide the answers, the Cortana pane will expand, showing your results.
Bonus: You can now ask Cortana to turn off your laptop, restart it, lock it and sign out of Windows.
New Login Options
The Fall Creators update also introduces an "I forgot my password" option below the password field on the login page. Windows Hello and PIN code users can also access this password reset link by going to "other options."
Once you start the password recovery process by clicking "I forgot my password," a wizard with Cortana will guide you throughout the whole process.
Although this sounds like a minor change and it still requires another gadget for verification, this is more simple and quicker than the current password recovery system, which still requires you to reset your password entirely on another device.
Windows Mixed Reality
The Fall Creators Update will also roll out support for a selection of inexpensive sub-$300 virtual reality headsets from a variety of manufacturers via the Windows Mixed Reality package.
With Windows Mixed Reality, users can discover a large, evolving catalog of experiences: immersive and casual games, travel, 360-degree videos, creativity, social, live events and more.
There will also be a handful of new Mixed Reality apps coming soon designed to expand the user experience.
Better update control
We all know how intrusive automatic Windows Updates downloads can get. Thankfully, with the Fall Creators Update, users can start specifying the percentage of network bandwidth reserved for the update downloads.
Other new features
Other notable improvements include a more modern look for Microsoft Edge, which was also inspired by the "Fluent Design System." Microsoft said that the "use of Acrylic material provides depth and transparency to the tab bar and other controls, and we've improved button animations to feel more responsive and delightful."
Some other new features of the OS will include the ability to resume sessions on multiple gadgets, a cloud-based clipboard and an overhaul of the Task View area.