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Windows 10 Creators Update: Microsoft’s bid to make your PC even smarter

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-03-2017 Vishal Mathur

The Windows 10 operating system (OS) is in line to get another major update—it is called the Creators Update, and is the next big update after the Anniversary Update which rolled out last August. Microsoft says that the Creators Update will start rolling out in a phased manner, starting 11 April, to the 400 million monthly active devices globally. The Creators Update offers a bunch of new features and enhancements to Windows 10.

Microsoft is improving the Edge web browser again, this time with focus on improving useability. The first addition is the ability to set aside a bunch of tabs that you may have opened—this can be very useful if you want to save a set of tabs for reopening later—such as research links for some project, or gadget deals across different online stores, for something you’ve been considering buying for a while now.

The new Edge browser will also make it easier to share links with friends—there is a new share button that means you’ll not have to copy and paste the links individually all the time, and this also works with a bunch of tabs. While Edge itself is becoming a more mature web browser, it still lags Google’s Chrome in terms of the availability of extensions, which bolt on to the browser and add instant access to certain app specific functionality.

The Settings app, which succeeded the Control Panel we had seen in Windows 7 for example, has been tweaked to add two new features—Apps and Gaming. In apps, you can now control the installation behaviour of apps, allowing or blocking installation from un-verified sources, for instance.

The Gaming section, easily identifiable with the Xbox logo, will include options such as the Game Bar, Game DVR as well as the Game Mode. The latter, for example, detects when a game is running on the PC, and tweaks the graphics, processor and background apps behaviour to allocate maximum resources for improving the game performance. You may have to individually also activate this feature within each game, post the game load, by bringing up the Game Bar (Windows key + G and click on the Settings button, when in the game). How much of an improvement Game Mode can do will also a depend a lot on the specifications and the individual hardware each PC is running.

Parents will now be able to utilize a bunch of features to limit what children do on a Windows 10 PC. The new Parental Controls option will allow parents to set limits on the time a child spends using the PC, limit access to certain websites and set limits on app and game spends on the Microsoft Store.

Visually, not much has changed with Windows 10 post the Creators Update roll-out. However, there is the thoughtful new Night Light feature, which can be activated to amount reduce the blue light emitted from the display, particularly if you tend to use your PC before hitting the bed. This is very much like the Night Shift mode that Apple added in iOS for iPhone and iPad.

3D is getting a big push with the Windows 10 Creators Update. The updated Paint 3D app allows you to create 3D objects from scratch or even add some from Remix 3D online library and add to your project. The Paint app also adds a very useful history feature, which lets you witness how the masterpiece evolved into what it looks like today—this can also be saved as a video and shared with friends.

The new Windows Defender Security Center now does more than just display the standard virus and malware threat protection, and now also shows the health of the system. The settings panel displays green checkmarks to indicate that all is well the system’s virus and threat protection, device performance and health, firewall and network protection, app and browser control as well as family options.

With Windows 10, Microsoft moved away significantly from the Windows OS releases of the past, which ended to be monoliths that were released once every 3 years or so, with security updates rolled out regularly. Now, with Windows 10’s constantly updating nature, it becomes simpler to add new features, roll out security enhancements as well as improve performance with more regular updates.

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