We’ve been covering previews of Microsoft’s major Creators Update for Windows 10, and now the numerous tweaks and improvements we’ve been truly excited about are finally here! Microsoft started rolling out its new version yesterday via Windows Update, and it should install automatically once it’s made available to your computer.
Although it’s not as massive as last year’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update, this free upgrade brings features that will enhance the Windows 10 experience. Here are a few of our favorites.
New and noteworthy features and updates
Cortana can now display a list of app-specific commands, auto-suggesting those based on what you’re typing, and recurring reminders that can be scheduled on a monthly basis.
The Cortana shortcut has also been simplified to the Win+C keys.
Paint 3D is the next-generation version of the ever-familiar Windows Paint application. With Paint 3D, users can now “draw” and create 3D objects from scratch. All your 3D creations can then be shared via the newly launched Remix 3D community.
Microsoft is testing its own Windows picture-in-picture support called “Compact Overlay.” This feature will allow you to do a task in a small window, like watching a video, for example, that overlays on top of all other applications on the screen. This will be handy with Skype calls and other video chat services for sure. Universal Windows app developers will have to enable support for Compact Overlay, though.
Another useful feature is Dynamic Lock. This lets you pair a Bluetooth smartphone, and it will automatically lock your Windows 10 PC when the smartphone is out of range. This will be a useful security feature for users who have the habit of not locking their desktop computers when stepping away from their desks.
Improvements to Windows’ biometric sign-in system are also included. With the Creators Update, facial recognition tweaks make Windows Hello logins faster.
For Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education versions, there’s now an option to pause updates for up to 35 days. For users who are wary of bugs that may break their components and peripherals, there’s also an option to not include driver updates.
Nighttime lighting and Settings tweaks
Notable changes were also made to the Settings app. First is the inclusion of a Blue Light Management feature that can automatically lower the amount of blue light your screen emits at set schedules.
There’s also the new Display Settings page that puts the screen resolution settings back to its own section. There are added settings pages for the Surface Dial, Windows theme integration and a cross-device page.
Microsoft’s Edge browser now shows tab preview — thumbnail images of each open tab on the upper bar — and the ability to “set tabs aside” for later viewing. You can also easily launch separate regular or private browsing windows via a taskbar icon.
Edge will now also support Microsoft’s payment-request API so you can use your payment preferences and shipping address stored in Microsoft Wallet while browsing.
But perhaps the most significant change is the blocking of Adobe Flash by default. In older versions of Edge, Flash is still click-to-run, meaning you’ll have to allow it each time you want Flash content to run.
Stylus fans now have access to Windows Ink features that show what color is selected and the point-erase feature that lets you erase portions of an ink stroke.
Start menu and graphical improvements
The Creators Update also brings improvements to Windows 10’s Start menu. You can now group tiles into a custom folder similar to how Windows Phones or iOS gadgets group app icons.
A new screenshot shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+S) is now available, which lets you capture an area of your desktop and paste it to any application, while the newly redesigned Share UI is now available by default.
Other UI improvements include smoother window resizing, scaling for applications and high-resolution support for desktop apps.
Narrator and accessibility improvements
The Narrator (voiceover) shortcut has been moved to Ctrl+Win+Enter to prevent accidental activations, and this update will also mark the debut of braille support in Windows 10.
Windows 10’s built-in security software can now run quick, advanced or full scans, and if your computer gets really messed up, there’s a Refresh Windows option accessible from Windows Defender itself.
New privacy tools
Microsoft also is simplifying Windows 10’s privacy settings in the upcoming Creators Update. This update will revamp the initial Windows 10 setup to clearly show the important privacy settings you need to choose from, whether you’re upgrading from a previous version of Windows or you’re already using Windows 10. This setup will replace the “Express settings” option that’s currently in Windows 10.
Another big change in the Creators Update is the streamlining of the telemetry data that’s currently being collected in Windows 10’s “Feedback & diagnostics” section. With the update, the section will be dropping the Enhanced level, cutting it to two levels — Basic or Full.
Furthermore, the data collected at the Basic level will be reduced. Microsoft said this level will still include data that’s vital to Windows, including device information, what is installed and basic error reporting.
The Creators Update also introduces Game Mode to Windows 10. This mode will reduce background tasks and apps, devoting processor and memory to a game you’re playing to ensure it’s running as smoothly as possible.
Game streaming via Beam
Similar to Twitch, gamers can now livestream and broadcast their play sessions quickly via Microsoft’s newly acquired video-gaming service, Beam.
Green Screen of Death
Anyone well-acquainted with the classic BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) should start using a new acronym soon — maybe “GSoD.” The Creators Update introduces the Green Screen of Death, replacing the infamous BSoD we all know and despise.
How to update Windows
The Windows 10 Creators Update is rolling out slowly, so it won’t be available to everyone at the same time. To check if your computer is already pegged for the upgrade, check out your updates settings. Most Windows machines are set to download and install updates automatically by default. If you haven’t changed your automatic update settings, you should be fine.
But if you want to check, here’s how:
On Windows 10, click Start (Windows logo), choose “Settings,” select “Update & Security,” then, on the “Windows Update” section, click “Advanced Options.” (Note: The “Windows Update” section is also handy for showing you updates that are currently being downloaded or applied.) Under “Advanced Options,” make sure the dropdown box is set to “Automatic.”