Days after Microsoft ends their free Windows 10 upgrade offer next week on July 29, they will release the second major update. It’s dubbed the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, since it’s coming out one year after the initial release. Starting Aug. 2, computers with Windows 10 will automatically download and install the update sometime thereafter. If you have the Professional or Enterprise edition of Windows 10 there is a way to delay the update if you prefer.
If you still have Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, there’s still time to upgrade to Windows 10 without paying Microsoft $120 for a license. (If you’re using Windows XP or Vista still, you don’t qualify for the free upgrade and I suggest buying a new computer soon.) Though Microsoft has been suggesting — and pretty much forcing — an in-place upgrade, I suggest having a professional do a clean upgrade. This process would backup your files and get rid of any junk, refreshing and perhaps speeding up your computer while doing the upgrade. The default Microsoft process doesn’t do this. Their process is supposed to keep your files in-tack after the upgrade, but I’ve seen many issues arise when junk and corruption is carried over.
Many of the changes in the Anniversary Update will be features and settings you might not notice, but there will be some noticeable changes to the interface. For instance, the Start Menu — the menu that appears when you click in the lower-left corner—is supposed to be redesigned, but still offer the same functionality.
The new web browser that debuted with Windows 10, called Microsoft Edge, is supposed to finally include support to add extensions or add-ons. These will include Pinterest’s “Pin It Button,” Amazon Assistant, AdBlock, Adblock Plus, and LastPass. Additionally, Microsoft is updating its biometric security feature, called Windows Hello, so you can use your face or finger instead of passwords for logging into apps and websites.
Cortana, the talking digital assistant — much like Siri on Apple devices—gets some improvements too. In addition to becoming smarter, she will be accessible on the lock screen now, even before logging into Windows 10. There will also be more smartphone integration, like being able to see your Windows Phone or Android phone notifications and low-battery warnings in Windows 10.
There’s a brand new feature being added in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update called Windows Ink. If you have a supported touch screen and buy a digital pen, it would allow you to more easily hand-write notes, doodle, and draw. This is especially useful on Windows 10 tablets and hybrid or 2-in-1 laptops. Other security improvements include Windows Defender, the free antivirus included with Windows 10, now allowing you to schedule automatic quick scans of your PC.
The Settings app also gets updates and improvements. It will contain more settings from the old Control Panel and offer better search functionality. One of the convenient new settings is Active Hours, which allows you to set the hours you’re actively using your PC, so your computer doesn’t install updates and restart during that period.
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Eric Geier is the Owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer repair and IT services at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas. Visit their website at www.onspottechs.com or call 937-315-0286 for more information.