Windows 10 Gets Creative
This last week Microsoft “finalized” the Creator’s Update, aka 1703, for Windows 10. The build has now been flighted to all of Microsoft’s Insider rings and will undergo further Cumulative Updates as it releases to mainstream on April 11th. This Feature Update will have a staggered release, and will not be launching worldwide for everyone. This is the new era of Windows as a Service. With the Anniversary Update Microsoft realized a few problems when it came to how the feature update was distributed, and to which PCs. This is a good thing, some of us love jumping on the newest edition of anything and others will want to wait patiently for the world to find the bugs. The good news is Microsoft really is trying to find a happy medium between the two camps and will make the release slower than the cadence of the Anniversary Update. My advice for most people will be to wait until Microsoft pushes the update through to your computer via Windows Update.
So whats the Big Deal with this one?
Microsoft has been busy with 1703 from the moment it released 1607 (Anniversary Update) in mid July; first builds of this new version went out for public testing in August. The original goal was to ship this update last Fall, but in Spring 2016 they pushed it further back to accommodate further changes, and new hardware devices (Surface Studio for one). Microsoft may be calling this the Creator’s Update but there is indeed something for everyone in 1703. I have been running the insider releases since August of last year, and have flighted them through my own process of installs as the release gets closer. I usually start with my tests in a VM and then from there move on to a test Work PC, test home PC, Main Work PC, home PC, and then I usually leave the wife’s laptop alone as the “normal” one – it will get it when it does.
While the major buzz words around this update are 3D, Holographic, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, gaming there are more “standard” ones including security, internet, reliability, entertainment business, and privacy. They may not be as sexy as some of the buzzwords but they effect many more customers. Some of the top features include:
- Game Mode – a lot has been said about this mode and the different things it is and is not, but essentially it allows Windows to put “priority” on the processes that are running your games. Changing process priority has long been a feature of Windows and can be done by advanced users. This makes it a lot more seamless and further shows the marriage between Windows and Gaming.
- Edge Updates – For some reason Microsoft still insists on updating Edge as part of the OS instead of as the separate app that it truly is. Nevertheless there are some neat features coming to the latest release of the newest browser on the market. Edge will now allow you to read EBooks (going along with Microsoft’s new Ebook Store), as well as organize tabs differently to help clean up your browser, and will handle 4K Netflix with ease (PC specs need apply).
- Security Updates – Microsoft is adding a new dashboard for the Windows Security Center to help users ensure their PC is up to date, and free of any detectable Malware. For business customers there are new features to the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection platform, and additional detection analytics
- Many under the hood improvements to the Core Windows to help deliver a more reliable experience. Including a separate svchost.exe for each service. About time.
- Improvements to Hyper-V: New quick create VM and drag to resize guests
- Ability to pause Windows Updates longer with Pro or higher versions of Windows 10
So What about ME?
As Windows 10 chugs on your PC will get the update. Its just a matter of time. You don’t have to do anything to initialize it, it will come to you. If you want it early, you can join the Windows Insider program (only if you are comfortable beta testing), or download the upgrade tool manually. This will allow you to get it quicker, but also increases the odds of issues. Remember, this isn’t a monthly update, this is a full upgrade. It will reboot your PC a few times, and go through a setup screen allowing you to specify some more privacy settings before showing you your desktop. If it weren’t for that, to be honest, not a lot of people would probably even notice. Welcome to Windows as a Service.