On April 11, Microsoft will release the next major update to Windows 10. Dubbed Creators Update, the free download includes new 3D apps, VR capabilities and 4K game streaming among its flashier features.
Microsoft announced its Creators Update during its press event earlier this week, and a fast-paced video has highlighted a number of new changes. While we’re expecting to see features like better trackpad gesture control, blue light reduction (like F.lux), and Windows Holographic integration, Microsoft has a whole lot more planned.
Microsoft is making changes to its notifications center (Action Center) in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Some of the quick actions have been refreshed, but the big change is sliders for both volume and screen brightness. Windows 10 users will welcome this change, as you’ll now finally be able to adjust these in smaller increments than the 25 percent levels that are currently offered as quick actions.
CUSTOM ACCENT COLORS
If you use a custom color for the Windows taskbar and other UI elements then you’re about to get a lot more options. While Windows 10 offers a number of custom accent colors right now, Microsoft is going to provide a picker with advanced options and the ability to preview what your crazy color might look like throughout Windows. It’s a nice change that will help people even further customize the look of Windows 10 to match a particular wallpaper or preference. Microsoft also appears to be adding video help manuals into the settings pages of Windows 10.
THEMES FOR WINDOWS 10 IN THE STORE
Microsoft is going to start selling themes for Windows 10 in the Windows Store. As part of the custom accent color options, the software maker is adding a “personalization” section to the Windows Store, complete with collections of themes that are designed to change the appearance of Windows 10. Some of the collections include Minecraft and League of Legends themes, and it’s possible these custom themes could extend over to the dashboard for Xbox One consoles.
THE PEOPLE BAR
Microsoft demonstrated its new people integration into the Windows 10 taskbar, but this extends into little widgets that let you quickly send Skype or emails to your favorite friends. You’ll be able to switch between Skype and Email within the same window, and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft extends this type of app integration to third-party app developers.
GROOVE MUSIC MAKER
Microsoft appears to be working on a separate Groove Music Maker app. It looks a little like Microsoft’s Surface Music Kit Remix apps for the Surface cover that it never released broadly. It’s clearly a simple-to-use music creation tool that’s designed with touch in mind. Judging by the brief demonstration, you’ll be able to select riffs from a library, add sounds from different instruments, and alter the BPM and length of tracks easily. It’s another example of Microsoft aiming Windows 10 at creators.
FULL PEN SUPPORT IN MICROSOFT WORD
Based on Microsoft’s video, it looks like the company is finally bringing full pen support to Word. Microsoft teased better pen support for Word during its Windows Ink introductionearlier this year, and it looks like it’s finally arriving with the Creators Update. You’ll be able to manipulate and delete text a lot more easily in apps like Word, and even leave comments on documents in just ink.
MICROSOFT EDGE TAB BROWSING
Microsoft appears to be making some changes to its Edge browser with the Creator Update. Edge has a tab browser option which lets you navigate current tabs by expanding the page-preview option. Microsoft also appears to be working on a session manager for Edge, allowing you to restore tabs from before you rebooted or closed Edge. This will include tabs that were open days or weeks ago.
WINDOWS DEFENDER UPDATE
Microsoft is also updating Windows Defender in the Creators Update. Windows Defender currently exists as a classic win32 desktop app in Windows 10, but Microsoft’s video appears to show a Defender app that looks a lot like a universal app. If Microsoft does move Defender to the universal platform then it’s one more step from preventing the jarring process of having to shift between these modern apps and the old desktop ones for basic settings in Windows 10.
Smarter Settings layout
If you head to the Bluetooth page in Windows 10’s Settings page right now, you won’t find a button to Add a Device, which I find maddening. Instead, you must tab over to “Connected Devices” to perform the simple, common task of adding a Bluetooth peripheral to your computer. There’s also no easy way to disconnect from a Bluetooth device without removing it entirely.
Creators Update addresses this mess by combining the separate “Bluetooth” and “Connected devices” pages into one “Bluetooth & other devices” page in Settings where you you can add, remove, connect and disconnect devices at will.
Free up disk space without lifting a finger
Hard drive nearing capacity? Mine always seems to be. Creators Update can help keep your drive from filling up with crap. Head to Settings > System > Storage and turn on Storage sense.
With this setting enabled, Windows will automatically delete unused temporary files, as well as files that have been in the Recycle Bin for more than 30 days. I’m pretty good with emptying the Recycle Bin on something approaching a regular schedule, but I’m also very happy to have Windows track down and eradicate needless temp files.
Action Center sliders
Right now, when you swipe in from the right edge of your screen to call up the Action Center, there’s a control to adjust display brightness — but tapping it only bumps up display brightness in huge, 25 percent blocks. Usually, I’m looking for finer control. But Creators Update offers handy sliders for both brightness and volume.
Microsoft is also testing a slider that could help you fine-tune the balance between your computer’s battery life and performance. You can see a picture of that below.
Easier to change screen resolution
One of the more puzzling things about Windows 10 is how difficult it is to change the resolution of your display. (Currently, you must right-click on the desktop, select Display Settings, scroll to the bottom and click “Advanced display settings” to find it.)
I’d argue that the display resolution isn’t exactly an “advanced” setting, and Microsoft finally agrees; Creators Update places the screen resolution drop-down in its rightful place on the main Display settings page.
Metered Ethernet connection
To set your Ethernet connection as metered, head to Settings > Network & Internet > Ethernet and then click your Ethernet network. Next, toggle Set as metered connection
High DPI support
Right-click on the app and choose Properties. Click on the Compatibility tab and check the box for Override high DPI scaling behavior and then choose System (Enhanced) from the pull-down menu.
New Reminders recurrence options
Creators Update adds two new options for Cortana Reminders, so you can now ask Cortana to remind you to do something “Every Month” or “Every Year.”
Night light for less blue light
Staring at an unnaturally blue screen at night can shift your body’s natural clock and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Your phone likely has a way to switch to warmer colors at night, and Windows soon will, too. In Creators Update, there’s a setting to lower the blue light of your PC. Head to Settings > System > Display > Night light settings. You can schedule it to come on at sunset or manually set hours. You’ll also find a new Night light button in the Action Center to toggle the setting on and off.