On October 17, Microsoft dropped the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which includes some fun new features and Edge upgrades. Microsoft’s Creators Updates usually imply new functionalities that are most interesting to developers, designers, and other “creators”, but this one has something for everyone.
Here are a few things anyone can take advantage of with the update, whether you’re browsing the web on your phone or upgrading the OS on your desktop.
- Photos get fancy – Video remix lets you combine chosen pictures and videos with the option to add in music and share on Facebook or Instagram. You can also edit photos, trim videos, add filters and themes, put in 3D effects, and overlay text. This may be amateur stuff in the video editing world, but it’s a big leap for those of us who usually just hit “slideshow” and run Spotify in the background. And, if you really trust Microsoft, try the “Remix it for me” button.
- Ventures in VR – VR is becoming accessible for more people, as it’s now baked into the OS with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update; all you need is a headset and a compatible computer. With the Mixed Reality Viewer, you can put 3D objects from the digital world into the virtual world, in what we imagine to be something like Snapchat World Lenses. With Paint 3D, you can create augmented 3D objects in real time — think the classic Paint app but projected into real-time VR. With these features experimenting in everyday VR, there’s no question that Microsoft is taking steps toward the future.
- Cross-device integration – You can now connect your Android and iPhone to your Windows PC simply by going to the Phone section in Settings. This lets you pick up where you left off when you switch from phone to PC or vice versa for Office files or pages in Edge, including transferring bookmarks, history, and passwords. This reminds us of Google’s cross-device experience, but now that Microsoft is taking multitasking to the next level, maybe Chrome will have some competition.
- Cortana gets chatty – Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana, has a few more functionalities to make it a little handier. You can now ask Cortana to shut down, restart, lock, or sign you out of your computer. Additionally, instead of simply redirecting you to Edge for answers, Cortana tries to be a little more helpful by expanding the info panel to show best match answers. It’ll also sync notifications to Android devices in another effort to make Microsoft more compatible across devices.
- Pick favorites – The taskbar gets a small upgrade with the People button, which gives you a quick connection to three contacts you engage with the most. By pinning these contacts, you can tap their icon to open emails, share pages, Skype, and send animated emojis. This will probably something you use a lot, or not at all — in that case you can simply turn it off.
- Fluent Design System – On the UI front, Windows 10 and Edge are getting some subtle design updates with Fluent Design System. Acrylic material is being used throughout the browser for a sleeker feel. There’s also motion and blur effects. Overall, this gives Edge a nice refresh without being very noticeable to the average user. We should expect to see more with Fluent Design changes in the next release as well.
- Extra PDF and EPUB support – Edge will also have better support for PDF files allowing you to edit, print, and save forms found on the web or stored on your device. You’ll also be able to mark it up just as you could a physical printed document with pens, highlighters, and eraser. A few other PDF upgrades include an optimized table of contents, file rotation, layout menu, and ability to read notes out loud. Similar to PDF, with eBook files you’ll also be able to highlight, underline, and add comments. You can even read PDFs, EPUBs, and web pages out loud in several languages.
- Organize your browsing – You can organize favorites into folders now and easily pin them to the taskbar. For people who favorite endless web pages, this should help find those a little easier by allowing you to sort them into different categories. Plus, you can edit the URL. As for tabs, now you can both preview them and set them aside for later, bot great for those of us who keep too many up on our screens at once. You can also choose what happens whether you want to see top sites, suggested content, or a blank page when you open (another) new tab.
- Full-screen mode – This is pretty self-explanatory — you can now use F-11 to launch full-screen browser mode — but it’s something a lot of people have been asking and waiting for.
If you’re intrigued by the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, it’s available for download now on the Microsoft website. With photo editing remixes, VR functionalities, cross-device integrations, and even PDF markups, it may be worth the install. Not to mention, upgrades in performance and accessibility.
However, if you just want to test Windows 10 and Edge 16 without the download, you can always use CrossBrowserTesting.