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Windows 10 Anniversary UpdateOn Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016, Microsoft released what everyone is calling the “Windows 10 Anniversary Update”, and to help you prepare for what you will automatically be getting (if you are a current Windows 10 user), I’ve pulled together the most important changes affecting the “typical home user”.

But before I examine at the update, let me take a moment and for one last time, talk about upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 to Windows 10.

The Windows 10 Update Deadline

Windows 10 Upgrade DeadlineAs a Windows users, you already know that the deadline for getting the Windows 10 update for free (if you have Windows 7, 8, or 8.1) is Friday, July 29th, 2016.

After that date, if you decide to update it will cost you $119.00.

Of course, if you’re planning on purchasing a new PC fairly soon, it will come with Windows 10.

But if you aren’t, and if you haven’t yet done the update, here are my last minute views about doing it…

  • If you have Windows 8 or 8.1, I suggest you do the update since all the best features of Windows 8.1 can still be found in the “tablet mode” of Windows 10.
  • If you are a Windows 7 user, I can’t say there is anything about Windows 10 that is so incredible, that you HAVE to update. But I personally think the upgrade is worth it since Windows 10 has proven to be faster and more stable than Windows 7, and using Windows 10 is not so different than using Windows 7.

This past year I’ve had lots of students upgrade to Windows 10 without any major problems. The biggest issue I’ve heard is with older printers not working, although some have found that if you search Google with the name/model of your printer, followed by “Windows 10”, you may find a work-around that lets you use your old printer.

I had to do this with one of my printers, an HP Photosmart 7760. There were no new Windows 10 printer drives (which allow Windows 10 to use the printer), but in doing a Google search, found others who had manually installed the printer and then chosen an HP driver that was close enough to my model, to still have it work.

Anyway, if you do decide to do the upgrade before the deadline, here are some resource articles you can use that talk about how to do the update and what you might try if you have problems:

[click the name of the article to open a new browser window and visit the site]

Update-Sign01The Windows 10 Update History

Since its release in July of 2015, Windows 10 has already gone quite a few updates, with the biggest one (code named “Threshold 2”) coming this past November of 2015.

In fact, you can see a nice list of updates and what they included by visiting the Microsoft Windows 10 Update History page (CLICK HERE).

And if you want to see if you have the latest version…

  • Go to the Start Menu, and click SETTINGS, then click the Systems button, and from the menu choose About.
  • In the information list that appears, look for VERSION and OS BUILD NUMBER.
  • Compare these numbers to what you see at the top of the version list on the Microsoft Windows 10 Update History Page (I mention above).
    • For example, as I write this the latest VERSION is 1511 and BUILD is 10586.494.

What You’ll See in the Anniversary Update

Updated-Start-Menu01As I’ve mentioned, on Tuesday, August 2nd Microsoft will again be releasing a somewhat-significant update to Windows 10, that all current Windows 10 users will automatically get.

Here is a synopsis of the most important changes…

An updated Start Menu

When you click the Start Menu button, the Start Menu now automatically displays the All Apps menu, with the “Most Used” icons at the top, followed by the long alphabetical list of all the apps on your computer. Icons to get to Account Settings, File Explorer, Settings, and Power are still there at the far left side in the form of a collapsible menu.

A more omnipresent Cortana

Cortana has been expanded to now be more aware of what you are doing (only if you have the Cortana feature turned on), including the ability to connect to more apps you use and get information from your emails. Cortana can now also be accessed from the Windows lock screen, so that you can say “Hey Cortana” and wake her up without having to log onto your computer. You can also now use Cortana to remember facts (such as someone’s favorite color or movie) and then recall those facts by just asking.

Edge Browser Extensions

Early on, the Edge browser was a bit slow and sparse in terms of going beyond just basic browsing, and very few users were abandoning their Chrome or Firefox browsers to use Edge. But with every Windows update, Edge has been getting better, and with the Anniversary Update Edge will now have extensions you can get from the Windows App Store, and Edge will be even more closely integrated with Cortana.

Windows Hello

This will only work for the Windows Store now, but in the future will let you use your face (with a web cam) or fingerprint (using a fingerprint scanner on some tablets and phones) to log into your computer or to other online sites. Is this more secure? Only in that it verifies you are really you using your computer hardware.

Dark Theme01A Dark Theme

The update now includes a new Windows theme (colors, icons, etc.) that tones down the now “brighter” theme, displaying a darker, and for some, easier to see desktop.

Windows Ink

For those with a Surface Pro 9 (which includes a pen), the Windows Ink Workspace that comes with the Anniversary Update provides a collection of ink specific apps that allow you to use the pen to take notes, draw, etc.

Other Improvements

Here’s a quick list of some other small changes the update will include…

  • Click the date on the right of the taskbar to see both a calendar AND events from the calendar (if you use it).
  • On the Action Center panel (which appears when you click the Notification button) notifications are now better organized.
  • Microsoft App Store is redesigned with large top boxes to take you to featured apps. But the store still doesn’t have near as many apps as the Apple or Google app stores.
  • The Battery Saver feature in Settings has been improved to give you more options in saving your battery life, if you have a laptop or mobile device.
  • Windows Update now lets you set “active hours” where you control which hours of the day Windows can reboot to install changes.
  • More options from the old Control Panel now appear in the new Settings App.
  • Improved WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

 

Crazy-Guy01With so many computers getting the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, I’m guessing that Microsoft will “roll it out” over at least a few days, which means that if you are a current Windows 10 user, you may not get the update until later in the week, after August 2nd.

But the good news is, you WILL get it (automatically), and although there are no earth-shaking changes, what you will get is a more stable, user friendly version of Windows.

 

As always, I would love to hear your comments about your experiences with Windows 10. You can leave them below!!!

 

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