Microsoft is preparing the next major update for Windows 10, which will drop just after the free upgrade period for the OS expires. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for free for everyone with Windows 10 already installed. The update includes a number of security and functionality improvements and added features.
Windows Hello Meets The ‘Net
Windows Hello is Microsoft’s biometric authentication system. The function has been a part of Windows 10 since the beginning, and now Microsoft expanding Windows Hello’s reach and practicality into web browsing. The Anniversary Update will include a new version of Microsoft’s Edge web browser, which is compatible with Window’s Hello’s biometric identification functions. Windows Insiders have been able to dabble with this function since April of this year. This summer, everyone will have access to Windows Hello online. Soon, you may never have to remember an online password ever again.
Defending Your PC AT Home & At Work
Microsoft is also updating its anti-malware application, Windows Defender. The company said that you’ll be able to schedule regular automatic scans. Microsoft also added new summaries that are shown when scans are completed and new notifications to let you know when a threat is located.
Microsoft also announced an enterprise version of Windows Defender called Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) that prevents advanced malicious cyber attacks targeted against businesses. WDATP is backed by a team of Microsoft security researchers that will investigate and respond to attacks.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes a new feature for corporate users called Windows Information Protection, which lets corporations separate personal and business data to prevent potential accidental data leaks.
Scribble On Your Screen
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will also introduce Windows Ink, which lets you write naturally to your computer with a pen. Microsoft said that over 70% of people use a pen for more than an hour a day, and it wanted to be able to bring that interaction to the digital world. Windows Ink will let you quickly scribble a note or draw a sketch. The software will include Smart Sticky notes that you can fill out and use as reminders for important tasks and appointments. Microsoft also added ink-specific features to several apps, including the ability to use handwriting in Office applications or scribble on web pages in Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft has made Cortana a big part of the Windows 10 experience. The digital assistant will answer questions you ask it verbally or through text. It can help remind you of important dates such as anniversaries or when your dentist appointment is coming up, and it can even update your appointment calendar automatically if the other party has to change the scheduled time. Microsoft is making Cortana even more handy with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The company said that you’ll be able to access Cortana to ask it questions, play back music, or set reminders without the need to unlock your device.
Cortana will also be able to save local information to be called up at a later time. “Cortana can save and recall key information, like your frequent flier number or where you parked at the airport,” said a Microsoft post. The new version of Cortana will also sync across all of your Windows 10 devices, so you’ll be able to look something up on your PC, such as directions to an event, and it will be available on your Windows 10 phone or tablet.
Browsing On The Edge Of Battery Life
Microsoft said that the version of the Edge browser that comes with the Anniversary Update is more power efficient than the current release. The browser should use few CPU cycles and consume less memory. Microsoft said that the new version of Edge provided three hours more battery life on the same machine as compared to browsing with Chrome. (We discussed those tests in a previous article as well as Opera's response to Microsoft's claims.)
Microsoft will also release a number of Edge extensions on the Windows Store when the Anniversary Update is launched. You’ll be able to install Amazon Assistant, AdBlock, Adblock Plus, LastPass and the “Pin It” button from Pinterest.
Microsoft also said it made improvements with accessibility in Edge. Page structure and content loaded in Edge is “now exposed more clearly with assistive technology,” which will make it easier for tools such as screen readers for the visually impaired to function properly in the browser. The new accessibility architecture supports HTML5, CSS3, and Aria.
Improvements For Gamers
At E3 this year, Microsoft revealed the Xbox Play Anywhere program, which will effectively allow you to buy a digital copy of any new Microsoft Studios title and have access to it on your PC and Xbox One console. The platform will allow you to play those games on either platform and alternate between the two. All of your game progress and achievements will be accessible from either device.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will enable the Xbox Play Anywhere function on your Windows PC. Microsoft said that Microsoft Studio Titles will be available in the unified Windows store after the Anniversary Update is installed. The Anniversary Update will also come to Xbox One, which will enable gamers to use Cortana to search for games and check up on friends, among other things.
Making The Lives Of Teachers Easier
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will also include several features that are designed to help educators. Microsoft said that it found that “over 90% of schools in the U.S. use shared devices, and nearly 50% of teachers serve as their own tech support,” so the company created the “Set up School PCs” utility to help simplify rolling out multiple computers for the classroom. Microsoft also updated the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool, which will enable schools with IT departments to deploy shared devices in bulk.
Microsoft has also created a “Take a Test” app, which lets educators run online assessments in locked-down environments that prevent students from cheating by copying and pasting or accessing other files on the computer.
Don’t Forget To Upgrade
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be released just after Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade period is set to expire. The company launched Windows 10 on July 29, 2015, and gave everyone that owns a license for Windows 7 or Windows 8 a full year to upgrade free of charge. There are exactly 30 days left to upgrade; otherwise, you’ll have to pay full price for a copy.
Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2.