Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10 recently celebrated its first anniversary. It is apt, then that Microsoft named the latest update to hit the operating system the “Anniversary Update”.
For those who are using notebooks and laptops that utilise touch screens and styluses, Windows Ink is just the thing you’ve been waiting for. It is an all-new feature that allows you to harness features of Windows on the tip of a digital pen, allowing them to write on their device of choice, as if they were writing on paper. The Windows Ink Workspace, as its called, has a variety of functions, such as Sticky Notes, Sketchpad and Screen Sketch that turns ideas into concepts that can be worked upon.
Microsoft has also added some new UI changes to the way Windows 10 looks and functions. For starters, the log-in screen’s username and password now appear on top of the lock screen as a transparent overlay.
The Start menu has also seen a UI rework, as some functions, such as power, the settings menu and file explorer options are now small icons placed on top of one another. Installed apps and software are also listed down at a list that’s adjacent to the new icons, in order of recently added, most used and alphabetical.
Pinned icons work more or less the same, and users can now name each group’s icons for easy access. On top of that, Microsoft has also added a Dark Theme for users who prefer to work on their computers at night, although for now, this functionality seems to only work with very few apps at the moment.
Security is another big deal that concerns Microsoft a fair amount. The Windows platform receives over 250 million threats online evey day, and with the Anniversary Update, Microsoft aims to make Windows 10 the most secure version of Windows ever.
First is an update to Windows Defender. This free anti-malware service now includes the option to automatically schedule periodic quick scans of your PC as well as provide new notifications and summaries when scans are complete, and the digital threats found and removed.
For enterprise users, there is also the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) which responds to advanced malicious attacks on networks by providing comprehensive threat intelligence and detection. This service now covers over 700,000 endpoints is being used by more than 300 active enterprises in over 70 countries around the world.
Windows Hello, Microsoft’s version of a biometric scanning service has also received updates. Now, not only can you use Windows Hello to log into your PC, but you can also use it with supported Windows Apps and also Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft Edge also sees updates in the form of new security features, tabbed bookmarking, a new dark theme and improved support for extensions. Another new feature is also the ability to pin website shortcuts onto the start screen, as well as tabs onto Edge, so that these frequently-visited sites will immediately open as soon as you start Edge.
Microsoft has also added a few quality of life changes to how Windows 10 works, with two of them being quite beneficial for those using multiple display and desktop instances. If you’re using two or more monitors, it is now possible to snap windows to the middle edge in between the two displays, saving you the hassle of having to adjust the window size to fit that side of the monitor.
Another change is that if you’re running multiple desktop instances, you can have that same program open across all instances of your desktop so you don’t have to switch instances to access a frequently-used software. If you’re using a touchscreen display, you can also swipe it with four fingers to change desktop instances quickly.
Most of these updates can be used on any instance of Windows 10 after the Anniversary Update is installed, however, some features, such as Windows Hello and the four finger swipe for instance, is only available on devices that support them. Some of these include the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Acer Switch Alpha 12, the HP Elite x2 1012 G1, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, amongst others. The update has been made available since the 2nd of August, so if you have Windows 10 installed, you can get this update already.