On July 29, Microsoft will celebrate the first anniversary of the release of Windows 10. As part of that celebration, Microsoft is releasing an Anniversary Update with some significant changes. Here’s what you need to know about it.
5) It’s Arriving on August 2
The Anniversary Update, despite its name, isn’t actually arriving on the anniversary of the release of Windows 10.
Instead, it’s arriving four days later, on August 2, 2016.
The update, by the way, is called update 1607.
4) Expect it To Take 20 to 25 Minutes to Install
This update isn’t one of those teeny little updates you’ve got over the past year. Instead, it’s a beefy, sizable update that will take a good chunk of time to install.
Specifically, the update will take between 20 and 25 minutes to install on modern systems with solid state drives (SSDs), according to Windows Insider Preview members who have already downloaded the update. That doesn’t count download time (which goes on in the background of your normal operation).
Those same Insider Preview members mentioned above say that the update takes even longer on older rigs. One rig with 2GB of RAM took approximately an hour to install – although it didn’t have much storage space.
3) New Start Menu
The Start Menu on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update doesn’t involve any radical changes. However, it has been tweaked and improved in some small ways.
For example, there’s now a scrolling All Apps list that is permanently available. Meanwhile, the Power Button and other shortcuts have been shrunk to the left hand side of the Start Menu, where they appear as icons.
Images courtesy of ZDNet.com.
You see that horizontal lines button in the top left corner and at the “Life at a glance” section? That’s called a hamburger menu, and it plays a surprisingly important role in Windows 10. Expect to see it on a lot more menus after the Anniversary Update.
2) Windows Ink Workspace and Platform
Windows 10’s Anniversary Update is putting a huge emphasis on something called the Windows Ink Workspace and Platform, which allows you to click the pen icon in the notification area and draw on the screen (provided you have a touch screen, of course).
You also get quick access to pen-enabled apps.
This feature will matter mostly to Surface Pro and Surface Book users who use pens as standard equipment. However, it may draw over some desktop and laptop users who have touchscreen monitors.
1) Edge Gets Extensions
Microsoft Edge is a genuinely good browser, but it’s always been missing one enormous thing: extensions.
I don’t know about you, but I use about 5 to 10 Chrome extensions regularly. My reliance on those extensions – like AdBlock and LastPass – has always prevented me from moving everything to Edge.
The Anniversary Update, at long last, finally brings extensions to Edge. It won’t cause everyone to immediately make the switch, but it immediately makes Edge a valid alternative to Firefox and Chrome.
The Anniversary Update is genuinely a big update. Aside from the info mentioned above, Microsoft has introduced a significant number of changes to Cortana, where they have made it easier to display search results, bring up apps, translate stuff, and more. Expect to see Microsoft invest more and more effort into making Cortana an intelligent personal assistant people actually use.