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This past week, Microsoft rolled out its new Creators Update for Windows 10. Originally launched on April 11, the update has rolled out around the world over the past few days.
The Creators Update is the second biggest update in Windows 10’s history (the Anniversary Update was the biggest update). With the new update, Microsoft promises a suite of new productivity tools and features along with some nifty updates to classic Windows programs – like 3D capabilities in MS Paint.
3D Everywhere, Including MS Paint 3D
The Creators Update is embracing 3D. Microsoft’s official blog explains that 3D allows us to “communicate ideas and express ourselves better, and learn faster, because it’s much more representative of the world we live in.”
What does that mean in real-world terms? It means the Creators Update has apps like Paint 3D along with access to an online creative community at Remix3D.com. With Paint 3D, you can create and modify 3D objects. You can change their color and texture. You can even turn 2D objects into 3D objects.
If you can’t find Paint 3D on your system, you can download the app for free from the Windows app store here. After downloading Paint 3D, you’re encouraged to check out 3D objects from Remix3D.com. Download new objects, manipulate them, and change how objects respond.
New Gaming Features
Microsoft has been accused of ignoring one of its biggest userbases, PC gamers, in the past. However, the new Creators Update puts a big emphasis on PC gaming with some powerful new features that will be genuinely useful to gamers, including:
- Beam Game Broadcasting: Press Windows Key + G during gameplay to bring up the Game bar. Then, press the broadcast icon to launch Beam. No extra software is required. Beam also comes with interactive features like animations and sound triggers that can be added directly into your stream.
- Gaming Section in System Settings: You can now turn on a new “Game Mode” feature in System Settings, which lets you optimize your PC for gaming performance. There are four new settings options in this menu, including Game Bar, GameDVR, Broadcasting, and Game Mode. You can easily change these system settings on the fly using your Game Bar (Windows Key + G).
- Game Mode: How does Game Mode work? Game Mode can be enabled at any time by pressing Windows Key + G, then clicking Settings. Game Mode dedicates more system resources to your games. Typically, Microsoft will prioritize core system functions – which means less RAM and CPU cycles for your games. However, with Game Mode, Microsoft will take away resources from all but the most essential tasks, letting you focus on PC gaming performance.
Now all games support Game Mode. Microsoft claims that “more than 80 of the most popular PC games” support Game Mode at this time. Game Mode works with both UWP games and Win32 games.
Improved Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge is a genuinely good browser. With the Creators Update, it just got better. Microsoft Edge’s Creators Update makes the browser faster than Chrome and Firefox while offering longer battery life.
Why is that important? Microsoft actually released a video showing that their browser streams video up to 3 hours longer than Chrome and up to 5 hours longer than Firefox on the same systems. So if you’re running Chrome or Firefox while watching Netflix, you’re needlessly wasting battery life. This battery life difference is also noticeable during normal web browsing.
Other improvements in Edge include:
- Tab Preview Bar: Get a small thumbnail preview of your other tabs from the top address bar.
- Set Tabs Aside: You can set tabs aside to sweep away open tabs, letting you address active tabs in your browser. So if you get distracted with vacation planning during a normal work day, you can set those tabs aside for a later date.
- Import from Another Browser: Import favorites, browsing history, and other data to Edge from another browser.
Windows Store Now Sells E-Books
Windows Store now sells e-books, although it’s only for US users.
You can read e-books directly from Microsoft Edge, which supports offline reading. Or, transfer them to an e-reader.
The Creators Update is big. Here are some other fast changes you need to know about:
- Cortana Improvements: Microsoft has added new features to Cortana, including the ability to play music with voice command. You can also enable a full-screen experience for using Cortana while idle – which is useful if you’re talking to Cortana from across the room and want to see what’s on your PC screen from afar.
- Windows Ink on Photos: Use Windows Ink to draw on pictures and videos, or draw on a 2D and 3D map.
- Groove: Groove lets you upload music from your PC to OneDrive, letting you play your music across all Microsoft devices, including Windows, Xbox, Android, iOS, and Sonos.
- 360 Degree Movies: The Movies & TV app now supports 360 degree videos.
- Mixed Reality Support: Microsoft has released a suite of Windows Mixed Reality dev kits. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are all shipping Mixed Reality headsets later this year.
- Night Light: This underreported feature may be one of the most noticeable improvements in Windows 10. Night Light lest you lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC at night. You can activate this feature in Settings > System > Display.
- Security Improvements: Microsoft has created a single dashboard for Windows Defender called The Windows Defender Security Center.
- Mini View Feature: Mini View lets you keep a small window open in the corner of your screen, meaning you can leave Netflix running, continue a Skype conversion, or control your music without letting it affect your work.
That’s it! What’s your favorite feature in the Windows 10 Creators Update?
Photos courtesy of blog.windows.com.