In April 2017 Microsoft will begin rolling out the next major Update to the Windows 10 operating system, which they are calling the ‘Creators Update’. Even though this may dismay many people who remember the issues that they had with the ‘Anniversary’ update in 2016, Windows 10 has been specifically designed to have these major updates in much the same way as Apple OSX and iOS does.
Microsoft has been heavily criticised since releasing Windows 10 because of the amount of private data it collects about users by default – that is unless the data collection is switched off in settings that most people wouldn’t look for. In the Creators Update, users will see a Privacy Settings page when installing initially (or after a major Update) with toggle controls that go into much more detail about privacy settings such as Location and relevant ads. Unfortunately the telemetry and diagnostic data that Windows 10 collects cannot be switched off and the choice will be either minimal data sent or all data is sent to Microsoft – there will be no middle ground.
There is also a ‘Privacy Dashboard’ now available through your Microsoft account, which allows you to manage data collected, such as browsing data and the data that Cortana collects.
The Creators Update includes a Gaming Options section as well as a Game Mode, which tries to tweak hardware resources in a gamer-friendly way. There will also more Xbox compatibility involving streaming and chat.
The venerable love-it-or-hate-it ‘Paint’ program will include 3D capability and is believed to include tools and filters that assist in image manipulation, 2D-3D conversion and more sophisticated functions.
Windows Update Improvements
Windows Update has been a necessary evil for many years but even more so with Windows 10, after all Windows Update was the main reason why so many people had their computers ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10 whether they wanted it or not!
If you have the ‘Professional’, ‘Enterprise’ or ‘Educational’ version of Windows 10, you will be able to defer Updates for longer – unfortunately ‘Home’ version users will still be the Windows Update ‘guinea pigs’.
Windows Update ‘Active Hours’ will now be available which many people will be pleased about as it will allow you greater control over when Updates are installed. You will be able to tell the computer what times you want Updates installed and more importantly, when you don’t want them installed – so there should be fewer reboots at the worst possible time in future!
Microsoft Edge Tweaks
Changes will include Microsoft Wallet support, a ‘Set Aside’ function to stash your browser tabs for later, and a Tab Previews bar which allows you to view thumbnails of open tabs.
It will be interesting to see how Edge matures, although many people are still a little sceptical at the moment.
There will be enhanced support for customising the look of your computer and you can buy more Themes from – you guessed it – the Windows Store. This will be a welcome addition for the many people we see who do not go for the dark look out of the box.
The built-in antivirus app in Windows 10 will get more functions, including new scanning options and reports on computer performance and health (much like paid versions). Strangely, it will also include a ‘Refresh Windows’ option, which is a nuclear option that you need to be very careful of, as it removes apps and programs that did not come with the computer.
There are many more changes and tweaks coming with the Creators Update, including being able to drag Start Menu Apps on top of each other (effectively grouping them as if in a folder), Virtual Reality support, automatic locking of the computer when walking away from it, EBooks, Cortana Monthly Reminders and many others.
As this is the new way of getting the “latest and greatest” version of Windows, Windows users will have to get used to getting larger updates at regular intervals which are essentially the equivalent of Windows 10.1, 10.2, etc., although this fact may not be good news for those who still have low broadband speed.
Before doing any kind of upgrades (especially significant Updates like this one), do make sure that you have backups of all your important personal files first. Some updates do go wrong and you need that peace of mind beforehand.