Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Features & updates

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The Windows Fall Creators Update has been released as of 17 October, 2017. Here's what you should know.

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The Fall Creators Update is the latest update to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, following one in April 2017 and the massive Anniversary Update on 2 August 2016.

The update is touted to improve the Windows 10 mobile experience and will provide additional functionality, such as creative elements, OneDrive files on-demand, and a new cloud-based clipboard.

Read next: Windows 10 for business: Pros and cons for enterprise users - why your business should move to Windows 10

How do I get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

With the release of Windows 10 back in 2015, Microsoft decided to make all updates automatic, meaning that the default setting will force PCs to update Windows 'as-a-service'.

Read next: How to block the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

So, unless you have changed the setting manually, you'll get the update as soon as it comes out along with any other future updates from Microsoft.

What's new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

As the name might suggest, Creators Update will focus on some new creative elements to Windows 10.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would be ditching MS Paint after 32 years, however, these plans were put on hold after the mammoth backlash and instead you'll be able to download Paint from the Windows Store for free. So while Paint won't be part of the normal Windows 10 desktop, you'll still be able to use it by downloading it.

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So let's take a look at what new features will be in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. 

Cortana and Alexa

Cortana, the virtual assistant built into Windows 10 will (by the end of 2017) be able to communicate with Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa, which is built into the popular Echo and Fire devices.

Both Microsoft and Amazon will work together so you can use your preferred assistant across all devices. So you'll be able to ask Cortana to read your to-do list on your Echo out loud, for example. 

Story Remix

If you're an iPhone user you'll probably be familiar with Memories, a multimedia app that will create videos from photos found in your image library. Google has a similar feature built into the popular Google Photos app. Now, in the Windows 10 update you'll be able to do all of this through Story Remix. 

And for those of you with touch-screen devices, there is Windows Ink. This will let you draw or annotate on a video and even pin your notes or drawings to the person or object, the result: the drawing or text moves with the image on the screen.

The Fall Update will essentially integrate mixed reality into existing videos, using anchoring and image-tracking technology.

Timeline

Ok, before divulging the details of this new feature, it should be noted that recently Microsoft announced that Timeline (basically an improved Task View) was one of three features that will not be in the Fall Creators Update on day one. 

According to Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, who heads up the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, Timeline was never promised for the Fall Creators Update, but it will appear in Insider Preview builds of Windows 10 after the update is released.

Timeline will provide users with a dashboard for work logs. It will be able to show you the apps and windows you currently have open, and the applications you were previously working on over the past couple of days (even up to months).

This can also be used across all Windows 10 devices as all information can be stored in Microsoft Graph. 

OneDrive Files On-Demand

The new on-demand feature lets OneDrive users select and download files from the cloud only when they are needed. This means that it won't need to sync full files and folders to a device in order to retrieve them. This is a similar feature to Dropbox's Smart Sync.

This is just handy for obtaining documents, as they won't need to be stored locally on a device or PC.

Clipboard

Announced at Microsoft's Build developer conference in Seattle earlier this year, Clipboard is a new cloud-based service (or cloud-powered as Microsoft refer to it) that will let Windows 10 users copy content from an app and paste it on mobile devices, including iPhones. 

Fluent Design

Previously called Project Neon, Fluent Design will add to the graphical changes taking place in the Fall Creators Update. And while the introduction of this won't make any major changes, there are a few things that you'll be able to look out for. 

For example, the update plans to introduce Acrylic or blurring and animations, similar to what you see in iOS. This could mean that some native applications feel slightly different. The end goal here is to make the feel of Windows 10 more modern and slick, although this process is open to developers as Microsoft don't want it to interfere with the overall user experience. 

Pick Up Where I Left Off

This feature is one that won't be available from day one of the update, but is one that most will look forward to. As the name suggests, the idea is that you'll be able to resume apps on other devices. For example, it will use Cortana to let you carry on working on another device once you've left your previous device or PC. 

Linked to the Timeline feature, users will be able to switch between multiple devices, including Android and iOS.

New privacy settings

Data privacy has never been more important for businesses, especially with GDPR around the corner.

Windows 10 users will now receive information about the level of data sharing and privacy policies for Windows 10 apps.

You can visit its new Learn More page on the privacy settings screen, to gain insights on location, speech recognition, diagnostics, tailored experiences and ads.

Windows Defender

An upgrade to Windows Defender will be built in to the enterprise or business versions of Windows 10, and will harness AI to detect and remove malware before it has a chance to get into your network or system. 

This is called Advanced Threat Protection and works across devices, as well as Windows Server now.

Windows 10 also provides a new range of identity management tools, including Active Directory access, which is delivered via Microsoft's Azure cloud. This should reduce the need for additional passwords when moving between desktop accounts and cloud services.

Microsoft has also launched a new Security Analytics service which will allow system admins to analyse their Windows security features, configurations and patch status across networks and endpoints.

Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility and Security

Mobile management capabilities will be greatly improved in the latest creators update, with Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility and Security features. This new service essentially combines Microsoft Intune, Azure Active Directory, Azure Information Protection, Microsoft Cloud App Security and Advanced Threat Analytics under one roof.

CMD.exe update

Perhaps not the most revolutionary update, but it's the first time in years that the Command Prompt is getting a makeover. Microsoft is giving it a new scheme which will make it much easier to see certain colours on modern LCD monitors. 

Windows mixed reality

For some time now Microsoft has put its weight behind its Hololens platform for mixed reality. Now, the Windows 10 update will make systems ready for integration with Hololens and the new generation of mixed-reality headsets.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Microsoft has also launched Windows 10 Pro for workstations within its Creators update. This, as the name may suggest, is a new version of Windows 10 Pro specifically designed for workstations.

Microsoft says that this Pro edition will provide 'unique support for server grade PC hardware and is designed to meet demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads'.

Features include: resilient file system, persistent memory, faster file sharing and expanded hardware support.

How much will it cost?

The Windows 10 Fall creators Update is free for all those already running Windows 10. For those wanting to upgrade to Windows 10, Windows 10 Home costs £119.99 and Windows 10 Pro costs £219.99, both of which can be bought at Microsoft's online store.

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