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Major Windows update released today, here's what you need to know

Major Windows update released today, here's what you need to know
© Ximagination | Dreamstime.com - Hands Using Windows 10 On Laptop And Smartphone Photo

As promised, Microsoft's latest major feature update for Windows 10 has started rolling out today, October 17.

It's named the Fall Creators Update and it is the follow-up to the Creators Update, the last major Windows 10 update released in April.

What should you expect? There are numerous new feature tweaks being introduced with this new update including a new look called the Fluent Design system, a big push toward 3-D modeling and Mixed Reality modes, new login options, Eye Control, and under-the-hood improvements like OneDrive Files-on-Demand, better update control, faster boot times, power throttling, Storage Sense optimizations and more.

How to get the update

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be rolling out starting today but it could take some time, even weeks or months before it becomes available to your device.

First off, make sure your Windows 10 machine meets the minimum requirements too:

  • At least 1 GHz processor.
  • At least 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version, at least 2GB for the 64-bit version.
  • Clear out some storage space. This is a large update - reserve at least 16GB of free space for the 32-bit version and 20GB for the 64-bit version.

It's important that you have a backup of your files too before you proceed with the update, just in case something goes wrong during the upgrade process.

We recommend our sponsor, IDrive, for fast and reliable cloud backups. Backup your all your gadgets and save 50% on all your backup needs and get 2TB of storage for less than $35!

Once you have all these requirements set, keep an eye on a Windows notification telling you that your update is ready to download and install.

Alternatively, once the update goes live and you can't wait, you can grab the whole Windows image from here. This method requires intermediate technical know-how so we recommend that you just wait for the update to be pushed to your machine instead.

Don't want the update because you want to wait until all the initial bugs are ironed out? If you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can defer or postpone for a few months.

Windows 10 Home users are limited with postponing updates but you can slow them down by toggling Metered Connection to "On" under your Network settings. This is not recommended though since you might miss critical security patches while you're slowing down the update process but it's still an option you can try.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update feature recap

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. Here's a recap of the most useful features we've seen so far:

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.

Faster boot-up

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.

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.

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.

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.

Eye Control

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.

Power Throttling

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.

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.

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.

BonusWindows 10 tips only the power users know

Emoji panel

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.

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.

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