Windows updates – love them or hate them, they are a part of using a PC. Many times, updates include bug fixes and security patches meant to keep you safe and help your PC run better. However, they also often contain feature updates that are not as critical. Also, since there are millions of different hardware configurations, it is impossible – even for a company of Microsoft’s size – to test updates in every possible way. This can sometimes mean updates break things. When it happens to you, it is very frustrating, to say the least.
To make things more interesting, with Windows 10, Microsoft also releases new ‘builds.’ This is a larger update than a regular one. A regular update would be like changing the lock on your door or hanging a picture. A new build is more akin to remodeling your whole living room.
When Windows 10 was released in July 2015, it was version number 1507. Then, in August 2016 they released Version 1607 – the Anniversary update. Next week, version 1703 – the Creator’s Update is released. You may not get it for a while (it took months for Microsoft to roll out Anniversary), but it is coming. So, what can you expect from this update?
First, any major release is more like a fresh install of Windows than a regular update. Because of this, it takes longer to install, and there is a bigger chance that something will go wrong with the process, so there is some risk. Normally, the risk is small, but it is there. Additionally, older versions get depreciated and eventually are no longer supported or receive security updates. So, even if you do not care about the feature updates, it is important to get the upgrades.
Alright then! What else is in the Creators Update? Well, mostly it is product improvements and additions related to creating things. For instance, the venerable MS Paint gets an update that lets you create and edit 3D objects. There is increased support for virtual reality and mixed reality. There is more unification between the Xbox one and Windows. For instance, you can buy an Xbox game once and play it on Windows too without having to buy it again.
Microsoft Edge, Microsoft’s flagship browser in Windows 10 gets several usability updates. However, we still do not recommend using Edge as your day to day browser as it still has many hurdles to overcome. The start menu is now more customizablel you can group tiles, turn off the apps pane and more.
Microsoft is also updating its privacy features. Windows (just like Android and iOS) collects a significant amount of data about how a device is used. This update has more granular controls over what is collected and shared. Also, Microsoft is releasing more detail about the data it collects. Information on that can be found on this Tech Republic blog post.
Another interesting feature is Dynamic Lock. Pair a Bluetooth device, like a phone to your PC, and when it moves away from the PC, it will automatically lock. There are still some questions about implementation, but this could make machines more easily secured. This update also has features to change the color temperature of the screen at night. This is called night light and is similar to apps on Android and iOS that reduce the blue content of the screen which is said to trigger insomnia.
In total, it looks like Microsoft is not going to rest on its laurels with Windows 10. Whether the particular features interest you or not, they keep on coming. Time will tell if they are truly useful and well thought out.