Microsoft released the Creators Update for Windows 10 six months ago, and will release the Fall Creators Update for the operating system today (on October 17, 2017).
The name implies that it is a follow up update of the Creators Update, and likely a scheme that Microsoft will make use of in the coming years to deliver feature updates for Windows 10 devices; a big update in March, and a smaller, refining update in September of the same year. Yes, the months don't necessarily mean that the feature update will be released in that month.
There are not that many creation related features in the Fall Creators Update but Microsoft picked the name probably to make it clear that it is a follow up update of the Creators Update.
Anyway, you will see "what is new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update" posts and articles on all major tech sites, and probably many news sites as well. While I could do the same thing, it would not be that original to write an article that is more or less identical to any other article out there covering the launch of the upgrade of the Windows 10 operating system.
I made the decision to list my highs and lows of the update instead, and a big bullet point list of other features. It is personal obviously, and what I like or dislike is not necessarily something that you agree with.
Still, since it lists all major features and many minor changes as well, it should be useful to home users who run Windows 10 on their devices as well as IT admins who deploy it in larger scale.
Lets start with what I like about the update:
OneDrive Files On Demand is not really a new feature, but Microsoft pulled the then-called Smart Files feature some time ago from its Windows 8 operating system and the SkyDrive service. Back then, Microsoft stated that the feature was too confusing for users, and that reliability was another issue.
The new OneDrive feature lists all available files on Windows 10 machines, provided that the drive is formatted with NTFS. This means that OneDrive users get an overview of all available files regardless of whether they are available locally or not.
It is easy enough to make files available locally, and status icons indicate whether files are stored on a local drive or the cloud. A double-click on individual files for instance that are not available locally yet initiates a file download so that the file becomes available on the local system and can be executed on it.
You may change the status of entire folders and file selections as well. Simply right-click on the selection and select "always keep on this device" to do so. The feature works across the system, so that you get access to all files hosted on OneDrive even if they are not hosted locally as well at that time.
This feature makes it a lot easier to work with files that are stored on OneDrive. You don't need to use the OneDrive client or web service anymore to download files stored remotely only, as you may use Explorer or native applications instead just like you would do if the file would be available locally already.
It may take a while to download files though if they are large depending on the device's Internet speed.
You can manage the feature (turn on or off) in the following way:
The following features are additions to Windows 10 or changes that I don't find particularly useful. This does not mean that you won't, so keep that in mind before you write a comment below.
Microsoft wanted to launch My People with the Creators Update back in early 2017 but postponed it instead. What the feature does is place up to three contacts on the taskbar so that you can interact with those contacts more easily (and with more that are not shown directly on the Taskbar).
Tip: You can hide or show the button by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting the "show people on taskbar" context menu option.
The feature changes how you initiate communication with people that are pinned on the taskbar. To start, click on a contact and select one of the available applications for communication. Windows 10 keeps track of your communication with pinned people and you may access it right from the taskbar.
The reason why I don't use the feature is simple: first, because I don't find the shortcut particularly useful. I can open Thunderbird or other messaging software, and see an overview of all my communication with all contacts, and I can message anyone, not just those that I pinned to the taskbar. My People furthermore does not pull data from all sources, so that it becomes less usable if you use programs for communication that it does not support.
It falls short on usability for me. If you communicate with just one, two or three contacts, you may find this more useful than I do though.
Microsoft improved the digital assistant Cortana in all past feature updates, and the same is true for the Fall Creators Update.
The feature that I like the most improves Cortana's web searching capabilities. Instead of just getting search suggestions, you do get results right away when you use the feature. This is handy if you do use the web search capabilities of the Windows 10 Start menu.
I don't, and the reason why I don't use it is that I have a web browser open all the time. I don't need to use the start menu to run searches, as I can do so in the web browser right away. I have more control over privacy, search providers, access to the search history and more in the browser.
Cortana supports a couple of new commands that let you change the PCs power state. You can lock the PC, have it shut down, or have you signed out using your voice.
I don't see a particular use for digital assistants. Yes, they make things more comfortable in some regard, but they take away control from you at the same time. Call me old fashioned, but I don't mind shutting down my PC using mouse or keyboard, or running searches in the browser.
This is the list of other changes:
This is a big list of other changes that you find in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
If you run Windows 10 on your machines you may want to consider upgrading to the new version as it comes with new security features that improve the system's security. As always, it is highly suggested that you create a full backup of the system before you upgrade so that you may restore the previous state if you run into issues during installation or afterwards.
Now You: Which features do you like the most, and which don't you like?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.