The Windows 10 Creators Update is the third big feature update for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system (after the November Update, and the Anniversary Update).
The following guide provides you with an overview of new features of the Windows 10 Creators Update, of features that changed, and of features that Microsoft removed.
While called the Creators Update, only some of the features introduced assist users when it comes to "creating things". Microsoft itself never failed to mention the new Paint 3D application for instance, which adds 3D creation options as a core new feature to the operating system. There is also Windows Ink, and a couple of other features.
Microsoft features Paint 3D, Mixed Reality, and gaming on its website as the core features of the Creators Update.
Windows 10 Creators Update: new features
Compact Overlay Windows
Windows Apps may use a new feature called Compact Overlay Window which displays one app on top of another in a small picture.
Microsoft's screenshot showed Excel, and in the top right corner a video that played at the same time. Can be used for video chat apps like Skype as well.
Verdict: may be useful,if you use the supported apps.
Dynamic Lock is a new feature that requires a compatible Bluetooth device. It allows you to have Windows 10 lock the PC automatically when you move away from the device.
Once set up, Windows 10 monitors the Bluetooth device constantly, and locks the PC if the device is not detected for 30 seconds at a time.
You find the new option in the Settings application under Account > Sign-in options
Verdict: may be useful to users who forget to lock their PC regularly, and take their PC with them when they move away from it.
Game Mode, Broadcasting and other gaming improvements
Microsoft rediscovered the PC as a gaming machine recently. This resulted in Play Anywhere among other things which brought games designed for Microsoft's Xbox to PCs at no additional cost.
The new Game Mode feature is a specialized mode designed to improve game performance on devices running Windows 10.
You may turn Game Mode on or off in the Settings application under Gaming > Game Mode.
We ran benchmarks when it came out, and were not impressed. PC Gamer ran benchmarks in February 2017, which confirmed our findings. It looks a lot like any other game booster out there right now, unless we have overlooked something.
Microsoft stated that Game Mode would be more beneficial to Windows Store games, and less to desktop programs.
The built-in Game DVR feature of Windows 10 supports broadcasting now. It allows you to stream games to Xbox Live. Friends receive a notification when you start to stream. The feature is limited to streaming to Xbox Live though.
Windows Store games may be distributed with drivers when the Creators Update lands. This is done to make sure that compatible or required drivers are used to play those games.
Additionally, support for Windows Display Driver Model 2.2 (WDDM 2.2) and HDR is now available.
Verdict: a mixed basket. Game Mode does not look like the killer feature that Microsoft made it look like. Broadcasting is interesting for Xbox One owners who use Xbox Live and a Windows PC for gaming. Support for new features is always welcome.
Microsoft rebranded Windows Holographic to Windows Mixed Reality. The new "mixed reality shell" of Windows 10 allows users to purchase virtual reality headsets -- low cost -- to experience virtual reality on the device.
- CPU: Intel Mobile Core i5 (e.g. 7200U) Dual-Core with Hyperthreading equivalent
- GPU: Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 (GT2) equivalent or greater DX12 API Capable GPU
- RAM: 8GB+ Dual Channel required for integrated graphics
- HDMI: HDMI 1.4 with 2880 x 1440 @ 60 Hz
- HDMI 2.0 or DP 1.3+ with 2880 x 1440 @ 90 Hz
- Storage: 100GB+ SSD (Preferred) / HDD
- Bluetooth: 4.0 and above for accessories.
Verdict: niche, but in preparation of things to come.
Night Light, formerly known as Blue Light mode, reduces blue light at night as it is beneficial to a person's circadian rhythm.
The built-in feature works similar to features that third-party applications like F.Lux have offered for years.
You find the option to enable and configure Night Light mode in the Settings under System > Display.
You may run the feature manually at any time, schedule it to run automatically from sunset to sunrise, set hours manually, and set the desired color temperature at night.
Verdict: useful, especially if you work on the computer late at night or early in the morning.
One of the major new features of the Windows 10 Creators Update, at least when it comes to Microsoft's promotion of new features, is Paint 3D.
Paint 3D is a modernized version of the classic Paint desktop application. The focus of Paint 3D is the creation of 3D content. Microsoft showcased a new Windows Capture 3D application for that during presentations which used the device's camera to capture an object in 3D.
Support for 3D objects has been added to Office PowerPoint and Microsoft Edge as well. There is also a new View 3D app that allows you to view 3D models.
Verdict: very niche, and the changed interface may not be to everyone's liking.
Start Menu: App Groups
App Groups allow you to group apps or programs into single tiles on the Windows 10 Start Menu. They act like folders for the most part, but expand on the start menu when you click on them.
To create a new app group, simply drag one tile on another. A group is created automatically that you can move around just like any other tile.
Verdict: useful if you have lots of tiles on the start menu and want more order.
Windows Store: ebooks
Windows Store features a new ebook section in the Creators Update. The new Books section is listed in the top menu on Windows Store.
Click on it to open the selection, and browse bestsellers, new books, or featured collections there. The store features a selection of free ebooks, but you need to add a payment method to the Store prior to downloading any of them to the local device.
The ebooks are offered as PDF documents, and are meant to be read in Microsoft Edge which Microsoft improved for that purpose.
Verdict: if you are invested in Windows Store already, you may like the ebook section.
Windows Store: theme downloads
The second new feature that Microsoft did integrate in Windows Store is themes, or more precisely, an option to download themes for the Windows 10 operating system.
There is no direct themes link when you open the Store, and the only option you have to my best knowledge is to right-click on the desktop, select personalize from the menu, then themes when the Personalization settings app opens, and finally on that page the new "get more themes in the Store" option.
The themes are basic Windows 10 themes. This means that they change wallpapers and the color scheme for the most part, but leave icons, and other interface elements untouched.
Verdict: useful to users who like pretty background pictures.
Windows 10 Creators Update: Improvements
Microsoft's work on Cortana continues. The personal digital assistant supports a whole range of new features including:
- Control the system volume.
- Full-screen display when PC is idle.
- Notification sync.
- Option to continue where you stopped on different Windows 10 PCs.
- Recurring reminders.
- Support for Azure Active Directory sign-ins.
- Universal Clipboard to sync clipboard data across devices.
- Voice commands to change the PC's power state (restart, lock, sleep, turn off)
- Windows Setup Experience supports Cortana.
Improved DPI support
The Windows Creators update ships with improved support for desktop apps on high DPI displays. Some apps ship with these improvements by default, but you can enable them for applications where this is not the case as well.
You enable this by right-clicking on the executable file and selecting properties. Switch to compatibility when the properties window opens, enable "override high DPI scaling behavior", and set it to "System (Enhanced)".
Verdict: very useful if you run Windows 10 on a high DPI screen.
Microsoft Edge received a lot of new features and improvements. The browser blocks Flash by default now, and supports WebRTC 1.0 among other new technologies now. Other new features of the default browser include:
- Better bookmarks importing functionality.
- EPUB support.
- Full color emoji.
- Jump List support.
- Read Aloud mode for ebooks.
- Run option for downloads.
- Set aside tabs for later reading, and sharing.
- Tab Preview bar.
- Web-to-app linking.
- Web Notes improvements to "leverage the familiar Windows Ink experience".
- Web Payments support.
- WebVR support.
Verdict: useful if you use Microsoft Edge
Microsoft been criticized since day one for the lack of privacy options on Windows 10, and the lack of information in regards to what the company collects and how it processes what it collects.
One of the changes is a new setup experience. It offers a "choose privacy settings for your device" page that allows you to make some privacy related choices on a single page.
Microsoft did remove the "enhanced" Telemetry level. Users may select Basic or Full now, but still not "none" unless they run an Enterprise version of Windows 10.
Verdict: changes may simplify things, but they don't address the main complaints that privacy advocates have. Still necessary to run privacy software.
Microsoft added a location bar to the Registry Editor in the Creators Update. This allows you to paste addresses to jump quickly to the location.
Verdict: very useful if you use the built-in Registry Editor regularly.
Microsoft continues its work on Windows Ink in the Creators Update. The Windows Ink Workspace features a link to the settings now. When you follow it, you will notice that they have improved and include new options such as hiding the cursor when you use a digital pen.
Some apps, the photos app for instance, supports Windows Ink in the Creators Update now, so that you can use a pen for annotations.
Verdict: useful additions if you use a digital pen on a Windows 10 device.
Microsoft improved Windows Update in several ways. Probably the biggest change is an option to pause updates.
This allows you to block updates for a set time period -- the latest Windows Insider release states for a period of up to seven days.
You may also see other pause options there: 35 days for regular updates, and up to 365 days for feature updates.
Another change comes to the Active Hours feature introduced in the Anniversary Update. Microsoft extended the maximum period of Active Hours from 12 to 18 hours in the Creators Update.
Behind the scenes, improvements to how updates are delivered shrink update sizes, and may also reduce the processing power needed to update.
Some features are not available for Windows 10 Home devices.
Verdict: useful, but not as good as simple options to turn off updates, or defer them indefinitely.
Here is the list of (some of the) other changes of the Windows 10 Creators Update:
- App throttling to improve battery life.
- Block installation of legacy programs.
- Braille support.
- Command Prompt removed from Windows-X menu. Use PowerShell.
- Connect to VPNs directly from the network menu.
- Create Screenshots with the Windows-Shift-S hotkey.
- Custom Accent Colors.
- File Explorer notifications (used for ads, better disable the feature).
- Hyper-V improvements: quick virtual machine creation, display scaling, resizable machine connection windows.
- Microsoft promises that built-in applications that you uninstall won't get installed again.
- New Share menu that opens in the center and no longer on the side.
- NumLock field is no longer a issue if you sign-in with a PIN.
- On-screen touchpad added.
- Remove more system apps that you could not uninstall previously.
- Settings app changes. Apps are moved to their own group, information about related settings are now shown, and more.
- Show or hide the All Apps listing in the Start menu.
- Storage Sense: free up disk space automatically. You can enable the feature under Settings > System > Storage > Storage Sense.
- Symbolic links can be created without elevation.
- Unified Extensible Firmware Interface conversion tool.
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection enhancements.
- Windows Defender features a new interface.
- Windows Hello setup improvements.
- Windows Upgrade Analytics.
Windows 10 Creators Update: removed features
The following features are no longer available on devices running the Windows 10 Creators Update:
- AllowUserDecryption policy of Windows Information Protection.
- Apps Corner (Windows Phone).
- Flash autorun in Microsoft Edge.
- IPsec Task Offload.
- Microsoft Paint for languages not on the full localization list.
- NPN support in TLS.
- Reading List.
- TCP Chimney.
- The Interactive Service Detection Service.
- Tile Data Layer.
- TLS DHE_DSS
- WSUS for Windows Mobile.
Now You: are you excited about the Windows 10 Creators Update?