It’s exactly a year ago that Microsoft launched Windows 10. And the free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users is due to run out… don’t delay, act today (yes, really, today).
And as of 2nd August, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available to everyone who’s already running current Windows 10 build, based on the Windows 10 November Update. In the meantime, there are a few offers of note to celebrate the anniversary – like the 3 free months of Groove Music (UK | US). See more here.
What’s new in the Anniversary Update?
Well, you could look at the beautiful but relatively content-light website, here. Or if you’re a mobile user running Windows 10 Mobile (hello?), check here. In truth, there are a multitude of updates, many seemingly incremental but collectively a significant step up in user experience. The Groove music player, for example, now sports a mini-player that pops out from the task bar, allowing you to control the currently playing music.
If you bother to sync your email & calendar from your work email account into the (much-improved) built-in Windows mail & calendar apps (as opposed to using Outlook only), then if you click on the time & date part of the Taskbar, the pop up will show you the next events as well as the calendar.
If you have a microphone on your PC – most likely built-in if you’re using a laptop, or part of a webcam you might have attached to a desktop – then you can also use Cortana at the lock screen: it’s actually a really cool thing to be able to pick up your tablet without unlocking it and ask Cortana for the weather or how the traffic is on your drive to work. Try switching it on (go into Cortana, click the settings icon and you’ll see the ability to enable the Blue One under lock screen) and have some fun looking like a loony as you sit and talk to your PC.
The Edge browser gets a series of extensions and loads of other usability improvements, like the ability to swipe left and right on a touch screen to move back & forth (handy on a tablet); restoring functionality that was part of Windows 8 with the Internet Explorer modern browser but which was lost when Windows 10 replaced the default browser with Edge. See here for a list of the feature improvements in the latest builds of Edge.
If you’re on the Insiders program, Fast or Slow, you’ll already have build 14393 pushed out to your Windows 10 machine (check Windows Update to be sure): if not, you’ll be offered the upgrade sometime after 2nd August. Insiders will already have seen a couple of update rollups happen since 14393 was released, which suggests that it’s the last build before the final release, and any further updates will just be shipped via Windows Update.
If you’re not on Insiders, you might want to join so you can grab the latest build of Windows before the weekend arrives. If you’re still unsure, check out MJF’s non-reviewer’s review on the Anniversary Update.