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Microsoft just released a new update to Windows 10 and it’s already attracting rave reviews as “the best build yet”.
What makes the new Windows 10 update so special? We’ve listed the most important updates and features included in the new build.
Microsoft announced the news on its blog on April 22. The build is called 14328 and it’s available for both PC and Mobile as an Insider Preview (only available to Insiders in the Fast ring).
As Microsoft explains, “this is a MAJOR build, packed with lots of new features and improvements.” Without further ado, here’s what you can expect from the latest update:
Windows Ink Makes your Smart Pen Actually Useful
Windows Ink “puts the power of Windows in the tip of your pen”, according to Microsoft. You can now write on your device just like you write on a piece of paper. You can use a pen or finger to create sticky notes, draw on a whiteboard, or share scribbled thoughts with the digital world.
Windows Ink has been fully integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office.
The platform will work best with devices that use active pens – like the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book. On these devices, Windows Ink Workspace is enabled by default. You can access it at any time by pressing the pen button in the notification area of your taskbar.
A Better Start Menu Experience
Microsoft has had a love-hate relationship with the Start menu ever since its removal in Windows 8. Windows 10, fortunately, brought back the Start menu we know and love.
The new update promises to provide a consistent Start menu experience across tablets, computers, and smartphones.
Microsoft has merged the most-used apps list and the All apps list into one single menu while also elevating it to the top level of the UI – which means you won’t have to click or scroll to view all your most-used apps.
Meanwhile, important menu items like Power, Settings, and File Explorer are always visible in the left rail of the Start menu. Microsoft has also expanded the Recently added section – so you can see the games, apps, and software that you just recently installed. Previously, this menu just showed one recent app. Now, it will show 3.
The new Start menu will also make it easier to view your customized additional folders. Instead of clicking through the Hamburger menu to see these added folders, they’ll be accessible from the top level.
Cortana and Search Improvements
Microsoft really wants you to use Cortana. To make Cortana even more useful, Microsoft has added it to your lock screen, where you can now ask her questions like “Remind me to call the doctor when I get home” or ask “What time do the St. Louis Blues play tonight?”. So you can get the full Cortana experience without unlocking the device.
This update is particularly useful for phone and tablet users, but it may also help PC users if your device is in a central place in your home and you want to access it without going through the unlocking process.
You’ll need to enable Cortana on the lock screen by going to Cortana’s Settings > Lock screen options > Let me use Cortana even when my device is locked. You’ll also need to have enabled “Hey Cortana”.
Cortana can also search deeper, looking for files across your devices and onto cloud storage platforms like OneDrive.
Windows 10 for tablets is getting a whole lot better. You’ll now be able to view a full-screen All apps list under the Start menu, for example.
You can also auto-hide the taskbar in tablet mode to create a more immersive full-screen experience.
-Select sound output device has been added, letting you switch sound devices on the fly and choosing which information gets transmitted over which output devices
-Show taskbar clock on every monitor (if you use multiple monitors, you can now have the clock appear on each monitor)
-New file explorer icon
-Better action center and notifications (the action center is now in the far corner of the taskbar and is distinct from other icons), for example, and is smarter about how it displays multiple notifications)
-Integrated calendar in taskbar
-Improved app management, letting you reset an app without losing your data if it develops critical problems
-Switch desktops using your touchpad
-Email addresses are now hidden from the lock screen
-Media controls will be displayed over top of the lockscreen
-Updated credential and UAC dialogue
-Create and send group messages in Skype while also making group audio and video calls (currently available on the Skype UWP Preview app)
All of the updates listed above will be part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming later this summer. That update has long been expected to be the biggest update ever released for Windows 10. You can expect the updates listed above – and more – to be released later this summer.
Photos courtesy of Blogs.Windows.com.