Windows 10 rolled out last summer and Microsoft plans to celebrate by unveiling the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Aug. 2.
Microsoft has already set a deadline for upgrading from older versions of Windows 10, so users who will get the latest OS by July 29 will have access to the new update for free.
Keep in mind that the company offers a free upgrade to Windows 10 on PC for all users who solicit it until that date. After July 29, users will have to shell out $119 to get the latest OS from Microsoft.
The Anniversary Update is a complex package that contains both enterprise and consumer features. By looking at the improved version of the software it becomes clear that security was one of the main preoccupations of Microsoft, followed closely by the desire to promote Windows to mobile devices.
According to Microsoft, the number of global devices that run on Windows 10 has reached 350 million, a solid increase over the 300 million reported at the beginning of May. Also, the company says that the reported customer satisfaction numbers are above the ones registered for previous Windows variants.
Microsoft touts that the update will bring a number of advantages.
Microsoft has stated that Windows 10 is already top notch-in terms of safety, but the company is reinforcing security in the new update. Should you use Windows Hello with the appropriate hardware, biometric logins will become available. Also, Windows Hello will be compatible with companion devices, allowing you to unlock and protect your PC better.
Microsoft touts that its Windows Defender has received a revamping, making malware a nonexistent problem for its users.
The company addressed enterprise security by embedding Windows Defender Advanced Protection in the package, a feature that deploys advanced detection to fight malicious software.
A separate feature, Windows Information Protection, is crafted so that businesses can easily separate personal and organizational data, making data leaks a thing of the past.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will make using styluses a more natural experience. Of course, compatible hardware, such as a Surface tablet, is required to make the best of the digital stylus.
Microsoft calls the new workspace Windows Ink and explains that it acts as a canvas for handwriting- and drawing-related tasks. For example, Digital Ink will include a whiteboard doodling area, sticky notes and a quick link to the Windows Store. The latter should open up ink-powered apps, some of which are built by external developers.
Extended Cortana Capabilities
The lock screen no longer stops users from tapping into Cortana's voice assistance qualities. Keep in mind that Cortana is one of the best voice assistants out there and can answer questions, set reminders for its users and even play music from their library.
Edge Browser Improvements
Due to the latest tweaking, Edge will require less power to run. A number of extensions have been unlocked for the browser, such as Pinterest's Pin It Button and Amazon Assistant. Users will find them, and others, in the Windows Store.
Xbox One And PC Gaming
Microsoft counted more than 9 billion gaming hours on its Windows 10-carrying devices.
Cross-platform capabilities will reach a new level after the Anniversary Update, which will sync with the Xbox Play Anywhere program. The two will allow players to purchase a game for Windows 10 PC or Xbox One and play it on whichever platform they see fit, syncing saved games and achievements.
What is more, students benefit from a $300 rebate when purchasing an Xbox One and Microsoft Surface slate at Microsoft Stores. The promotion debuts today and ends on Aug. 14, so you might want to keep that in mind when planning your summer investments.
Microsoft launched a "Set up School PCs" app for Windows 10, which the company says should make deploying educational PCs faster to schools. The company mentions that more than 90 percent of schools in the United States are making use of shared devices. With almost 50 percent of teachers doubling as tech support specialists, the Set up School PCs app could make a difference in putting more time into education.