The Windows 10 Creators Update — codenamed Redstone 2 — will go live on April 11, 2017. Like other Windows 10 updates, it’s free and includes many new features. It will be released slowly as an Anniversary Update, so it will be several months before Microsoft offers it to everyone.
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However, you can upgrade to the Creators Update right now using the official tool from Microsoft. Not sure whether to rush to upgrade? Here is everything you will find inside.
This post was originally written after Microsoft’s October 26, 2016 major event, but has since been updated with features from the final release.
3D for everyone
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Microsoft is betting big on 3D creativity with the Creators Update. After all, this is the company that bought Minecraft.
The new Paint 3D app included with Windows 10 lets you work with and create 3D models. Windows also comes with the «3D Viewer Preview» application that allows everyone to open 3D models, view, rotate them, and enlarge them. It currently supports the .fbx and .3mf file types.
In addition, the Microsoft Edge browser now supports 3D content. It can be used to upload and download 3D models, including models exported from Minecraft and SketchUp, from the Remix3D community website, created by Microsoft. Windows can then 3D print any type of model on a 3D printer, meaning Minecraft players can bring their creations to life in the real world.
Microsoft PowerPoint receives 3D models and cinematic 3D animation for transitions such as Morph, so these 3D models can be included in presentations. Over the next year, Microsoft will add more 3D features to Office applications such as Word and Excel.
Basic augmented reality and virtual reality headsets
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Mixed reality, which includes augmented reality, virtual reality and holographic computing, is another important area, according to Microsoft. «Windows Mixed Reality» is the new name for «Windows Holographic» and it works hand in hand with 3D support. For example, Microsoft’s own HoloLens headset is a mixed reality headset. This allows you to see the real world through the headset, and the digital images are superimposed on that real world image.
With HoloLens, you can download a 3D model from Edge or create it in Paint 3D and place it virtually anywhere in the real world.
You will be able to create your own virtual reality space and decorate it with your own furniture and applications just like in another room. Applications can be placed on shelves. There’s also a new app called HoloTour that lets you explore places around the world using virtual reality or an augmented reality headset.
Microsoft Edge is getting support for WebVR, a standard that will allow websites to deliver virtual reality apps like desktop apps. WebVR was originally developed by Mozilla and Google is also working on WebVR support for Chrome.
But the most interesting: Microsoft is partnering with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo to create mixed reality headsets. They will work without any additional tracking equipment that needs to be placed in the room. “Zero is needed for a separate room. Zero requires complex setup,” as Microsoft put it. These headsets will include cameras, so they’re capable of mixed reality — think Pokémon Go, but in a headset. Best of all, the headset will start at $299, so it will be much more affordable than Microsoft’s own $3,000 HoloLens hardware. They’re also much cheaper than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets, which cost between $599 and $799 respectively.
These headsets won’t need a very expensive computer either. The minimum specifications are much lower than those required by Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. These headsets will even work with Intel integrated graphics if you have the Intel Kaby Lake GPU series or newer. Here are the minimum specifications that Microsoft has announced:
CPU: Dual-core Intel Mobile Core i5 processor (e.g. 7200U) with Hyperthreading support
GPU: Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 (GT2) equivalent or higher DX12 API compatible GPU
RAM: 8 GB + dual channel for integrated graphics
HDMI: HDMI 1.4 with 2880 x 1440 @ 60Hz HDMI 2.0 or DP 1.3+ with 2880 x 1440 @ 90Hz
Storage: 100 GB + SSD (Preferred) / HDD
Bluetooth: 4.0 and above for accessories.
Microsoft plans to bring these Mixed Reality headsets to Project Scorpio and other Xbox One consoles in 2018.
Windows 10 now includes a new Mixed Reality icon on the home page of the Settings app for managing VR and AR device settings. There’s also a new Mixed Reality Portal app included with Windows 10. This app provides a demo of Windows 10’s Mixed Reality experience.
Windows 10 introduced the Night Light feature, which was known as Blue Light in earlier builds of the Creators Update.
Night Light works similarly to the venerable f.lux utility. This makes the color temperatures warmer at night, so it will be easier for you to make eye contact and theoretically sleep right after using your computer. Many operating systems have added this feature recently, like iOS with Night Shift.
Go to Settings > System > Display > Night Light Settings to enable Night Light Mode and adjust your desired color temperature. You can set Windows to turn on night mode automatically at sunset and turn it on at dawn.
Game mode and game settings
Windows 10 is acquiring «Game Mode» which claims to improve gaming performance by using both the new Microsoft UWP app platform (Windows Store) and the older Win32 app platform (desktop).
To enable Game Mode, open the Game bar by pressing Windows + G while playing a game. Click the settings icon on the game bar and select the «Use game mode for this game» option.
Game Mode functions by giving priority to the game you are playing, giving it more system resources, and giving other applications on your PC less resources. According to MSPowerUser, your game will get more CPU cores and less background processes. This will work better for newer UWP (Windows Store) apps, but Microsoft says it will still do something for traditional Win32 (Windows Desktop) games. We’re skeptical about Game Mode and its benefits when it comes to traditional Windows tabletop gaming, but we’re sure to see some interesting benchmarks once the Creators Update is officially released.
These features are now much more accessible. Game-related settings are now available in Settings > Games. You no longer need to open the Xbox app and sign in with a Microsoft account to turn off the Game Bar or Game DVR features.
Game streaming for Windows 10 and Xbox One
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The Microsoft Game DVR feature, which can already record video of your gameplay in the background and upload it to social services, is getting a Broadcast button. It will be able to broadcast your Xbox Live gameplay in real time, and your Xbox Live friends will be notified that you are broadcasting. This will be built into the Xbox One PC and Windows 10. He runs Beam, a service bought by Microsoft in August.
However, this feature can only be transferred to Microsoft’s own Xbox Live service. It will probably be popular on Xbox One, but alternatives like Twitch and YouTube are very popular on PC and Microsoft’s built-in feature doesn’t support them.
Other improvements in PC games
Augmented reality and broadcasting aren’t the only gaming enhancements coming to Windows 10.
Microsoft has partnered with Dolby to bring Doly Atmos positional audio to PC and Xbox One. You don’t even need Atmos-enabled hardware — Windows 10 will let you create Dolby Atmos virtual positional audio with «virtually any pair of headphones.» The Microsoft blog uses Overwatch as an example, promising a tactical advantage where it’s easier for you to hear where other characters are in the game world.
The games you download from the Windows Store can now include built-in display drivers, ensuring that people who choose to buy games from the Store will always have the bare minimum driver needed to make the game work well.
The Game Bar supports many more full screen games including Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, Overwatch, Starcraft II, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Terraria.
The Xbox app is getting support for custom tournaments. Create a tournament so your friends can join while playing on Xbox One PC or Windows 10 if the Xbox Live-enabled game works on both platforms.
Other features include the Windows Display Driver Model 2.2 (WDDM 2.2), which is reportedly tailored for virtual, augmented and mixed reality scenarios. The Creators Update for Windows 10 will also introduce high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut support for PC gaming and media.
Many of these details were announced at the PC Gaming WinHEC session.
Microsoft Edge improvements
Edge now offers a tab preview bar that shows you a visual preview of each tab you have open. Click on the little down arrow icon to the right of your tabs to view it. It looks a bit like the tab bar in Windows 8 «Modern» version of Internet Explorer. Another new tab management feature allows you to «save tabs» for later, view the tabs you’ve set aside and even «share» them with other apps on your PC. Two new buttons for this are located on the left side of the tab bar.
Microsoft Edge has always been a multi-processor web browser, but Microsoft has redesigned its architecture. In short, Edge should be more stable, more responsive to input, and more resilient to slow or frozen web pages.
Edge will now favor HTML5 content if available, blocking Flash by default. You will be able to choose whether you want Flash to load or not. Avoiding flash will increase battery life, security, and browser performance. This decision follows similar announcements from Google, Mozilla and Apple.
Microsoft has also added support for web payments, which uses a «Pay Request API» that is designed to speed up online payments by making it easier to provide credit card information and a shipping address stored in Microsoft Wallet. You won’t be able to use this feature until websites add support for it.
Edge also received many small improvements. The Edge taskbar icon now offers jump list support, so you can right-click or swipe on the Edge icon in the taskbar to get quick access to tasks like opening a new browser window. Edge can now also read EPUB eBooks right in your web browser. Click on an EPUB file and it will show up in Edge, just like PDF files currently show up in Edge today. Edge now lets you export your favorites to an HTML file and lets you import data from other browsers on your PC.
The file download experience has been improved to match what was possible in Internet Explorer. When downloading a file, you can choose to «Start» the download without first saving it, or use the «Save As» button to specify exactly where you want the file to download.
Internally, Edge now supports Brotli compression. This promises better compression ratios and decompression speeds, which means that websites using this feature can load faster. This compression scheme is also supported in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, so it’s a cross-browser solution that should make the web better for everyone.
New features of Cortana
Microsoft Virtual Assistant knows several new voice commands in the Creator Update. Cortana can now turn off your PC, restart your PC, lock your screen, or put it to sleep with a voice command. It can also increase or decrease the volume of your system. Cortana now supports voice control for the iHeartRadio and TuneIn apps. You can also ask Cortana what song is playing and she will tell you.
App developers can add Cortana commands to their apps — for example, you can use Cortana voice commands to play movies on Netflix. If you enter the name of an installed app into Cortana—for example, «Netflix»—you’ll see a list of suggested commands. Here is a list of apps that offer Cortana voice commands.
Cortana is also getting a new full screen mode. When your PC is unlocked and idle, you can say «Hey Cortana» and Cortana will appear in a full-screen interface, allowing you to read the screen from across the room. To try this, turn on «Hey Cortana», don’t use your PC’s mouse or keyboard for at least ten seconds, and then say «Hey Cortana».
Reminders in Cortana have become more flexible. You can set reminders to repeat «every month» or «every year» if you want a reminder that happens once a month or once a year.
Cortana is now integrated into the «Windows Out-Of-Box-Experience», the setup wizard you see when setting up a new PC. You can get through this experience just by talking to Cortana.
Microsoft is also working on a new Cortana feature that will prompt you to sync apps across your devices. When you switch computers, Cortana displays links in the Action Center to direct you to the websites you’ve opened in Microsoft Edge and the cloud documents you’ve opened. For example, Cortana will prompt you to open a PowerPoint presentation you’ve saved to SharePoint or OneDrive if you switch computers while working on the presentation. Basically, it’s similar to Apple’s Continuity feature, which works between iOS and macOS.
Developers from Microsoft are quietly working on new features of Cortana, which are also not officially announced. Cortana appears to be acquiring a new «Universal Clipboard» that lets you sync your clipboard across devices running Cortana. It looks like you’ll be able to use the «Copy to» voice command to copy content from one device’s clipboard to another.
Notification sync also looks to be much improved. Not only will Cortana be able to show notifications from your phone on your desktop PC, but it will be able to go the other way as well. Cortana will be able to push notifications from your desktop PC to your smartphone using the Cortana app so you can receive notifications from your PC to your phone.
There is also a feature that allows you to unlock your computer using your phone. You may be able to use your phone with the Cortana app along with Windows Hello to unlock your computer.
More control over Windows Update (mostly)
Huge changes are coming to Windows Update: Microsoft has added options that many Windows users have been asking for.
You can now pause updates for up to 35 days. You’ll find this option under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Pause Updates. This option is only available on Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions, not Windows 10 Home.
If you have a home edition of Windows 10, there are a few new changes that may prevent Windows 10 from restarting to install updates while using it. When a new update is available, you’ll see a prompt and can choose to «pick a time» when it’s convenient to install the update, or «postpone» it for up to three days. You do not need to restart and install the update immediately if you are using a computer.
You can now set up to 6pm as active hours so Windows 10 won’t restart for updates during those hours. Previously, the maximum was 12 hours. Windows Update also attempts to determine if the PC’s display is being used for something — such as projection — before automatically restarting the PC.
Unfortunately, the option to set the connection as «measured» to avoid receiving all automatic updates is gone. You can still set the connection as measured, and Windows Update will still honor this setting, but only partially. Now Windows 10 automatically downloads «updates necessary for the normal operation of Windows» on measured connections. Microsoft has stated to Winsupersite that they «do not plan to send large updates over measured connections, but may use this for critical fixes if needed in the future.» It’s not clear how often Microsoft will send updates over the measured connections and how much data they’ll use.» I will be a consumer.
The new unified update platform speeds up Windows Update when searching for available updates. Microsoft expects a new major update, such as the Anniversary Update or the Creators Update, to be about 35% smaller in size, resulting in faster downloads and reduced data usage.
And finally, you can now set up wired ethernet connections under settings > settings > network and internet > ethernet. This prevents Windows from automatically downloading all updates and using other unnecessary data in conjunction with limited data. This previously required a registry hack. However, it may be less useful if Microsoft forces some updates through metered connections.
Changes to privacy settings
Microsoft is finally trying to allay some concerns about privacy settings in Windows 10. First, there’s a new Your Privacy page for your Microsoft account. On this page, you can view your information and delete it if you wish. It provides more information about what information Microsoft collects and why.
The Windows 10 installation process that you see when setting up a new PC is also changing. The «Express» setting option, which encourages you to be nondescript and choose the default settings, is gone. Instead, there is now a «Choose privacy settings for your device» page that provides information and prompts you to make a choice.
Telemetry levels in Windows 10 are also simplified. You can now choose between «Basic» or «Full» diagnostic and usage data, with the «advanced» level in the middle removed. The amount of data that Windows 10 shares with Microsoft when you select the Basic tier is also reduced.
Only the most sophisticated Windows users will notice these new features:
Location panel in the registry editor. Editor The registry finally includes a location panel, making it easy to copy and paste addresses rather than having to search for them carefully.
Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10 Updates : Windows Subsystem for Linux now supports Ubuntu 16.04. On the Anniversary Update, it only supports Ubuntu 14.04. Windows applications can now also be run from the Bash shell, making it more flexible.
PowerShell is the default : PowerShell is now the default shell. If you right-click the Start button, you’ll see options to open PowerShell instead of Command Prompt. By holding down the «Shift» key and right-clicking a folder or selecting the File menu in File Explorer, you’ll see the option to open PowerShell instead of Command Prompt. Regardless, Microsoft insists that Command Prompt is not dead and will not be removed from Windows until almost everyone uses it.
The control panel is harder to get to : You can no longer right-click the Start button and select Control Panel to launch Control Panel easily. It has been removed from this menu and replaced with a link to Settings.
Symbolic link improvements : you can now create symbolic links, without elevating the command prompt to administrator. It also means that developers, tools and projects can now use this useful feature without requiring administrator access.
Hyper-V display scaling : A new «Scale» option in the View menu allows you to set your preferred display scaling for Hyper-V virtual machines, overriding the default display scaling settings. You can set it to 100%, 125%, 150% or 200%.
Quick virtual machine creation : If you are using Hyper-V to create virtual machines, you will see a «Quick Create» button in Hyper-V Manager. This is a simplified wizard that allows you to create new virtual machines with just a few clicks.
The size You can change the Hyper-V virtual machine connection windows. You can quickly resize the Hyper-V virtual machine connection window by dragging the corners of the window. The virtual machine will automatically change the screen resolution for the setting. You must be logged into the guest operating system and use enhanced session mode for this to work.
Improved high resolution support for desktop applications : If you have a high resolution display, fewer desktop apps will look blurry. In particular, Microsoft has made Device Manager and other Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins look better. Microsoft has written about their struggles in improving high-res support in the past, so it’s good to know they’re finally getting better.
Additional scaling options High DPI: If you have a very high resolution display, you know how annoying DPI scaling can be. Microsoft has enabled improved high resolution scaling for some of the included Windows desktop apps, and you can now enable it for other apps. Right-click the program’s .exe file, select Properties, and under the Compatibility tab, you’ll find a new «System (Enhanced)» setting for DPI scaling. This new feature forces the application to scale on Windows, so it can help fix blurry applications, but only works with applications that use GDI, the Windows Graphics Device Interface.
Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection enhancements . Windows Defender ATP enhancements will enable network administrators to better detect new threats on their organization’s computers. ATP sensors can now detect threats that are simply stored in memory or the Windows kernel.
Windows Hello for Active Directory : Organizations using a local Active Directory will now be able to use Windows Hello to unlock their PCs if they choose to.
Green screen of death : If you are using an Insider Build of Windows 10 and Windows crashes, you will now see a «Green Screen of Death» instead of the usual Blue Screen of Death. This helps determine that the problem may have occurred because you were using a faulty Windows Insider Build.
Other new features
The Creators Update includes many other important features:
Store Apps Only (Optional) : A new option can force Windows 10 to only launch apps from the Windows Store. It’s similar to Gatekeeper on macOS. Software from anywhere is blocked. it’s disabled by default, but can be a useful way to block malware and other dangerous software if the Store becomes more useful.
Additional embedded advertisements . With every major update, Microsoft adds new advertisements. In the Creators Update, you’ll see Office 365 ads and other notifications in File Explorer and «suggestions» notifications in the action center. You can disable all of these inline ads if you wish.
New share menu : Microsoft has redesigned the current Share feature, replacing the old sidebar design introduced in Windows 8 with a new Share popup interface that shows a list of apps you can share. The apps you share are most often listed first. The old Windows + H hotkey that was used to open the share bar has been removed. You need to find the share icon in the app to share something.
New hotkey for screenshots : Windows 10 has another screenshot tool. Press Windows + Shift + S to capture an area of your screen and copy it to your clipboard. This feature was originally part of OneNote 2016 but has been added to Windows itself.
Accessibility improvements : Windows 10 is getting Braille support. Narrator is now available in the Windows Setup and Recovery Tools environment. The Narrator hotkey changes from Windows + Enter to Ctrl + Windows + Enter to make it harder to accidentally launch.
The meaning of storage A: Windows 10 can now automatically free up disk space, although this feature is disabled by default. Turn on the Storage Sense feature in Settings > System > Storage and Windows will automatically erase your temporary files and empty the Recycle Bin to free up space.
Dynamic blocking : Windows 10 can now automatically lock your PC when you step away. Connect your Bluetooth-enabled phone and turn on dynamic lock in Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. If you step away from your computer for 30 seconds and take your phone with you, Windows will automatically lock your computer. Microsoft’s blog post says it’s for «Bluetooth phones» but it looks like it could work with other devices like Bluetooth-enabled wristbands.
Troubleshooting the Settings app . The troubleshooter built into Windows can detect and fix common system problems automatically. They are now available in Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
Settings changes : Microsoft has simplified the settings app again. Application-related settings have been moved from the System category to the new Applications category. You will find more information about related settings at the bottom of each settings page. The Devices > Bluetooth & other devices page is a single place to manage your connected devices. The System > Display page has been reorganized and now allows you to change the screen resolution without first visiting the Control Panel.
New Windows Defender interface : Microsoft updated the Windows Defender interface in the Creators Update, replacing the old desktop app with a modern Universal Windows Platform app that feels right at home in Windows 10. Windows Update, which downloads the new Windows System from Microsoft and wipes out any manufacturer-installed malware, is included in Windows Defender.
Improved Entry using a PIN code : When logging in with a numeric PIN, you don’t need to worry about pressing the Num Lock key. The PIN field will behave as if the Num Lock key is always on. No more fighting with Num Lock!
Windows remembers which built-in apps you don’t need A: If you uninstall built-in apps like Mail and Maps, they won’t be automatically reinstalled when you update Windows. Windows will now respect your choice. You can always reinstall these apps from the Store if you wish.
Compact Windows Overlay : UWP apps can now use a «compact overlay» that works like a picture-in-picture mode on a TV. For example, video streaming or video chat applications can display videos as a thumbnail always on top. corner of your screen. Microsoft will update the Movies & TV app and the Skype Preview app with this feature.
Wi-Fi Control Improvements : When you turn off Wi-Fi, you can set it to turn on automatically after one hour, after four hours, or after one day. It will be disabled by default until you manually enable it.
Action Center Improvements : Improved quick action icons for quick settings management. Plus, the volume and brightness sliders are right in the Action Center, making it easy to tweak those settings. Developers can now group their app’s notifications and override the timestamp displayed for notifications if that makes sense. Notifications can now have progress bars. You will now see a progress bar in the Download notification, for example when downloading an app from the Windows Store.
Start menu folders : Windows 10 now allows you to group tiles in the Start menu by folder. Drag a tile onto another tile to create a tile folder that can contain two or more tiles. Click or tap on a tile folder and it will expand to show its contents.
Start menu customization : A new option in Settings > Personalization > Start allows you to hide the All Apps list that always appears on the left side of the Start menu in the Anniversary Update.
Additional interface color options . The Personalization screen now has a color picker that allows you to choose any color for the interface and window title. In earlier versions of Windows 10, you can simply choose from several available colors. It also shows a list of recent colors so you can quickly select one of your favorite colors.
Virtual touch panel A: Windows 10 already includes an on-screen keyboard, and it’s getting an on-screen touchpad. Press and hold on the taskbar and you will be able to select «Show touchpad button». You will then get a touchpad button next to the touch keyboard button. Microsoft says you can use the virtual touchpad on a tablet, for example, to control the mouse cursor on a connected external display. You don’t need a mouse or even a physical touchpad.
Smoothing window resizing . It’s not significant, but Microsoft has improved performance when resizing the application window so it will look smoother. This applies to both new UWP apps and desktop apps, but only desktop apps that use the Windows Graphics Device Interface or GDI.
Control Themes: You can now manage and select desktop themes in Settings > Personalization > Themes. This previously required a control panel. Themes are now also available in the Windows Store.
Placement improvements Desktop icons: Windows now more intelligently rearranges and scales desktop icons when you switch between different monitors and scaling settings, aiming to keep your own icon layout rather than encrypting them.
Accelerated VPN access . When you open the network menu from the notification area, you can connect to the VPN directly from the menu instead of opening the VPN settings screen.
Login improvements multiple accounts. If you have multiple accounts, you’ll appreciate the new sign-in dialog that appears when you need to provide a Microsoft account in apps. It shows all the Microsoft, Work and School accounts you have added to the system and gives you the ability to add new accounts to Windows.
Support lunar calendar on the panel tasks : You can now see Simplified or Traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar in the taskbar calendar. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Time & Language > Date & Time and use the new menu «Show additional calendars on the taskbar».
Improvements in the Photos app «. In keeping with the Creators Update theme, Microsoft is refining the Photos app. Now you can use the stylus or your finger on the touch screen to draw directly on your photos or videos. Write on the video and what you have written will appear when you get to that point in the video. The Photos app offers a new set of filters and a redesigned photo editing interface. Microsoft is also releasing a Photos app for Xbox One so you can view the same photos in your living room. There’s also a new light theme for the app, so you don’t have to use the old dark theme if you prefer a brighter look.
Sticky Notes Insights : Sticky Notes app offers more «Insights» . For example, it can detect stocks, flight numbers, email addresses, web addresses, phone numbers, and times and automatically provide additional information. Now it works for many other languages. Sticky Notes has also received various performance, reliability, and interface improvements.
Books in the Windows Store. Score Windows now offers eBooks in the Books section, which appears next to Apps, Games, Music, Movies, and TV at the top of the Store window. However, Windows 10 does not have an e-book reader app, so these e-books open in Microsoft Edge after you purchase them. Hit the menu button in Edge and you’ll see a new eBook library section along with your favourites, downloads and history. Edge can also read e-books aloud.
Improvements in Windows Ink : windows ink , introduced in the Anniversary Update, looked pretty good. Screen thumbnails can now be resumed and the cursor will be hidden while drawing on the screen. The new rounded protractor combines the protector and compass into a single tool, making it easier to draw an entire circle or arc. The size of the protractor can be changed with two fingers. The ruler also shows the numerical value of the angle at which it is located. Now you can only erase parts of the ink stroke. The pen, pencil and highlighter control menu now visually shows which colors you have selected.
Ground Dial Settings A: If you have a ground kit, you can adjust its settings in Settings > Devices > Wheel. The options here allow you to set custom shortcuts for specific apps. You can set up the wheel to send custom keyboard shortcuts to quickly perform actions in apps.
Interaction settings between devices : There is a new settings panel in Settings > System > Multi-device management. App developers can use Microsoft’s new multi-device tools to build apps that use apps across multiple devices, but you can disable these features here if you want.
As usual, there are many other small changes and bug fixes. We’ll keep an eye on Insider Preview builds and update this post as Microsoft adds more new features.
Missing: Promised features that are gone
The Creators Update for Windows 10 is still missing some of the features announced by Microsoft. In some cases, Microsoft has gone completely silent on when we can expect to see these features.
Prioritize contacts with Windows MyPeople. As part of its «put people in the middle of Windows» plan, Microsoft has shown off the «Windows MyPeople» feature for Windows 10. You’ll be able to drag and drop people to an area on the right of the taskbar, giving you quicker and more convenient access to the few key people you interact with on a regular basis. . These people are prioritized when using Share on Windows, and messages from them will be prioritized in apps like Mail, Skype, and Xbox Live. Your priority contacts can also send «pats on the back,» which are animated emojis that appear on your taskbar. Microsoft originally promised this feature for the Creators Update and it was one of the biggest features they showed off. Most likely, it will appear in the next major update to Windows 10.
Scan 3D objects on any smartphone . One day you will be able to scan an object with your smartphone using the «Windows Capture 3D Experience» and then paste it into a Paint 3D scene and modify it. Microsoft demonstrated this with Windows Phone, but said it assumes it’s possible on any device — in other words, iPhone and Android users should be doing it too. Microsoft announced the smartphone scanning feature when it announced the Creators Update, but now says that this is not a Creators Update feature, and we shouldn’t expect appearance these smartphone applications coming soon.
Skype SMS Relay for Android A: Skype now supports SMS forwarding, allowing you to send and receive text messages from your computer, similar to iMessage for macOS. Unfortunately, this currently only works if you’re also using the Skype Preview app on Windows 10 Phone. Microsoft has promised to add this feature to Skype for Android, but did not say when. Originally billed as «Messaging Everywhere» for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it has been reduced to a minor Skype feature only available on Windows Phone.
OneDrive file placeholders : Windows 8.1 introduced placeholder files for OneDrive − files that appeared in File Explorer but were actually stored in the cloud and only downloaded when you needed them. Microsoft removed this feature with the release of Windows 10, but in 2014 promised «bring back key placeholder functions» in the long run. Microsoft should hurry up if they want to reimplement this feature as dropbox and Google Drive both port it to Windows.
Future: Redstone 3 and Beyond
We’re aware of some other features that Microsoft is working on that won’t be ready for the Creators Update. These features are for Redstone 3, the next update after the Creators Update (codenamed Redstone 2).
Full office in the Windows Store : Microsoft will reportedly bring the full Microsoft Office suite to the Windows Store via desktop app converter via some time after the release of the Creators Update. As such, Microsoft will be shifting its focus away from the Office Mobile UWP desktop apps currently available in the Windows Store. This news comes from MSPowerUser .
Windows x86 emulation on ARM : This will allow Windows on ARM to run traditional Windows x86 software. Microsoft can then launch a new version Windows RT on ARM hardware that actually powers the desktop software that Windows users want to run. Windows Phones running Continuum will also be able to run traditional Windows desktop software. Microsoft showed a video about Windows 10 on ARM running desktop apps like Photoshop .
Adaptive Shell : Microsoft is reportedly working on an «adaptive skin» that will work on any device, from HoloLens and Xbox to PCs, tablets and phones. This will provide a single interface common to all Windows 10 devices that can automatically adapt to the situation. It is also known as «Cloud Shell». «Composable Shell», or «CSHELL», and it will be able to dynamically switch between different interfaces according to Windows Central . This feature may not appear in Redstone 3, but Microsoft is working on it and parts of it should appear over time.
Project NEON : According to Windows Central Microsoft is working on a new design language known as «Project NEON». It’s designed as an updated look and feel for new Windows 10 apps that will also work well in holographic and augmented reality. A source described the new design as «Very smooth lots of movement and nice transitions.” mspoweruser, reportedly received official Project NEON concept art from Microsoft. The concept art has quite a few transparent effects and is somewhat reminiscent of the Aero glass in Windows 7.
home hub : home hub built for use Amazon Echo and Google Home . It’s not hardware, it’s just software. Home Hub will provide a common «Welcome Screen» and «Family Desktop» designed for family PCs so that people don’t have to juggle different accounts. Cortana will always listen on the welcome screen. In other words, Microsoft wants you to have a shared computer with a screen instead of Amazon Echo or Google Home. It will always listen, only on Amazon and Google devices, so you can shout a question or command across the room. PC makers are expected to develop optimized all-in-one PCs to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home. This feature should be partly available in Redstone 3, with improvements coming to Redstone 4 at a later date.
Windows Defender App Defender for Microsoft Edge : This feature is only for enterprise versions of Windows. When an employee views a website that the organization does not trust, Application Guard uses Hyper-V virtualization to create a new instance of the Windows operating system at the hardware level, running a website in Microsoft Edge on a separate instance of Windows. Even if the browser were exploited, the core Windows operating system would still be safe.
Cloud Windows : Microsoft like reportedly is going to introduce a new version of Windows. Windows 10 Cloud will be designed to compete with Chromebooks. This will only allow you to install apps from the Windows Store, like Windows RT . You won’t be able to install or use traditional Windows desktop apps. Unlike Windows RT, Windows Cloud will let you upgrade to Windows 10 Professional for a fee to make your device more useful.
Power regulation : Microsoft is experimenting with » regulation » Traditional Windows apps running in the background to save battery life.
Redstone 3 will contain other new features as well. We will learn more about them in the future.