WINDOWS ANNIVERSARY UPDATE

Windows 10 turned 1-year-old this past July, and to celebrate, Microsoft has released the second major update to the operating system. With it, Microsoft continues its current strategy of building on the existing platform with new features for its built in software. This year’s update isn’t quite as impressive as Microsoft’s near-apologetic Windows 8.1 update, but as a free upgrade, it may be useful to some users.

WHAT’S NEW?

The anniversary comes with a slew of changes, both large and small. So much so that it’s tricky to narrow down a single set of features as the most significant, and even more difficult to list and explain all of them. With that in mind, the following are a few of the more noticeable changes.

•Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri, has seen a number of improvements. Windows now tracks a great deal of your frequent behavior on the system, so if you’re the type who likes to talk at their computer, there’s a lot more flexibility in what can be parsed. Greater effort has been made to make the program a more reliable digital assistant, allowing you to schedule appointments are even find what appointment you had on a previous date, simply by speaking into the microphone. Unfortunately, Microsoft has removed the ability to completely disable Cortana for people who don’t like their operating system listening to them at all times. You can still tell Windows to not remember your personal information, but disabling the assistant requires a change to the system registry.

•Numerous changes have been made to the start menu. The all apps button has been removed and instead, all installed programs now appear on the start menu by default, with the most recently used ones appearing on top. The windows store has also increased its prominence in the start menu, displaying more ads for recommended programs. As before, these can easily be disabled. The tablet mode start screen has also seen improvements and now functions more like Windows 8 did, including the option of launching applications in full screen mode.

•Edge, Microsoft’s attempt at replacing the aging Internet Explorer web browser, has seen more improvements in an attempt to bring it more in line with other modern web browsers. It can now finally run extensions such as the popular Adblock programs and social media plugins. There’s also optional click-to-play for Flash programs, the ability to “pin” select tabs so they always appear when Edge is opened, swipe navigation for touchscreens, and the ability to use fingerprint authentication for devices with fingerprint readers.

That’s just the more noticeable features. A more in-depth look at what can be found in the update can be found here.

HOW DO I GET THIS UPDATE?

Updating to the latest version of Windows is as simple as opening Windows Update from the Update & Security menu and hitting check for updates. Afterwards, it should immediately start installing. The update is completely free, and has been available since August 2nd.

While it is recommended to update eventually, it’s not always best to hurry to install the latest updates, as compatibility issues may arise, as has already been reported recently. It’s up to you how soon you update, or how eager you are to get the latest features.

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