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Windows 10 Creators Update launches with several new features
April 23, 2017, 1:23 pm

Last week Microsoft began rolling out its latest Windows 10 update. Roll-out of the Creators Update, will take place in a phased manner across the world, starting with newer machines first, says a Windows blogpost. The Creators Update includes several small and welcome additions, aimed at boosting the Windows PC experience.

Cortana setup: If you clean install Windows 10 Creators Update or simply purchase a new PC with Windows 10 preinstalled, then you will notice Cortana, the Windows Assistant, shows up to guide you through the setup process. Cortana will use your microphone and speakers to listen to commands, including setting up a Wi-Fi network and keyboard layout.

It is a neat feature, but you can always use your keyboard and mouse instead of your voice if you want to set up Windows 10 in a more traditional manner. Either way, the entire process of setting up Windows 10 has been greatly simplified, especially if you compare it to how long and complicated it took to get a Windows machine ready just 10 years ago.

Picture-in-picture: This feature allows you to watch a film or TV show from the built-in Movies & TV app and pop the window out so it is always on top. Similarly, Skype will place calls above other windows so you can keep watching content or video-calling on Skype while you browse or work in other apps. Only some of Microsoft's own apps support picture-in-picture right now, but all developers will be able to include the feature in app updates.

Night light: Microsoft has built its own version of F.lux into Windows 10 with the Creators Update. Dubbed ‘Night Light’, you can allow Windows 10 to reduce blue light from a screen after sunset or at a specific time in the evening. It is much like what is already available on iOS, macOS, and Android, but at least you do not need a third-party app to enable this on Windows anymore.

Dynamic lock: This new feature is designed to be the opposite of Windows Hello, the app used to sign you on using facial recognition, which incidentally has also become faster with the update. Known internally at Microsoft as ‘Windows Goodbye’, the Dynamic Lock lets you automatically lock a Windows 10 PC when you are away from it. You can pair Bluetooth devices like a phone or wearable, and Windows 10 will sense once the Bluetooth connection is too far away and lock the PC.

Paint 3D: As the name suggests, it is a 3D version of Microsoft’s built-in Paint app, and it is not just an update but has been totally rebuilt and modern. You can build 3D objects in Paint 3D or import ones created by community members from Remix 3D.

It is also a lot more touch-friendly than the regular Paint app, and you can use a stylus like the Surface Pen to annotate and create objects. Once you are finished with a Paint 3D creation, it can easily be shared to the Remix 3D site or even used on a Windows Mixed Reality headset or HoloLens.

Inking in Windows photos: The Photos app has been updated to allow support for inking. This allows you to pick a photo and annotate it and share it easily via email or social networks. Unfortunately, inking in the new update is still not everywhere. Even in apps like the built-in email client, you canot simply jot notes down inside an email or annotate an attached image. Microsoft has a long way to go to bring inking to the center of Windows 10, but features like inking in the Photos app and Windows Ink are a sign it might eventually happen.

Microsoft Edge improvements: The Edge browser gets a tweak with the update that lets you set tabs aside and save them for use later on. It is essentially a method to save a snapshot of your current browser window. If you are a heavy user of tabs then it is a welcome feature, but for everyone else the new buttons that enable the feature are likely to be confusing.

Microsoft is also adding ebook support and the ability to view 360 videos to Edge. You can download and purchase ebooks through the Windows Store, and sample 360 videos are available in the Movies & TV app.

Better control over updates and privacy: This will have a big impact for those wishing to better control updates. You can now pause updates for a week, or configure active hours in Windows 10 for up to 18 hours a day. This should reduce complaints about Windows 10 automatically rebooting machines for updates, and provide the ability for users to control them better.

Microsoft is also tweaking its privacy controls in Windows 10 Creators Update. You will be prompted to review and configure features like diagnostics, speech recognition, location, and relevant ads. 

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