Windows 10 (reviewed) was released on 29 July 2015 and was followed by the free Anniversary Update on 2 August 2016. The next big Windows 10 update is the Creators update, scheduled to arrive in Spring 2017. Here's your complete guide to Windows 10.
Update 18 January: Coming soon to Windows is the ability to buy and read ebooks. It appears that Microsoft will add ebooks alongside apps, games, music, movies and TV sections within a unified Windows Store.
Insider Preview Build 15002 adds dozens of new features one of which is an interesting app throttling control. It's not available to all users yet but it gives priority to the apps in focus, and deprioritises background apps so they use up too many of your computer's resources.
A rumoured update is 'Game Mode' which appears to do a similar thing: prioritise the game that's running and devote as much processing time, RAM and other resources to making it run as fast as it can. This could be a boon only if you have an older PC, but since Microsoft is yet to reveal the full details of the updates, we'll have to wait and see. (Image courtesy of our sister site PCWorld.com)
Also new is the ability to pause updates not just until you're not using your PC or laptop, but for up to 35 days (but still not in the Home version).
Windows 10 UK release date: When is the Creators update coming out?
Windows 10 Creators update UK release date: April 2017
Microsoft has been working on the next big update to Windows 10 for some time and it was revealed in October 2016. The latest information comes from MSpoweruser which says the update has been slightly delayed until April 2017 and that its version number will be 1704. This is actually a date: the fourth month of 2017.
It could still change, but the update is scheduled to be 'finished' by mid- to late January and then tested and bugs fixed before its public release.
Windows 10 Creators update new features: What are the new features in the 2017 Creators update?
At the 26 October event, Microsoft announced a whole load of new features for the update, which is codenamed Redstone 2. Here's a selection of the main ones to look forward to.
The Creators Update is codenamed Redstone 2, but already there are rumours of the next big Windows 10 update: Redstone 3. Part of this will be some graphical changes, and these have their own codename: Project NEON. As MSpoweruser reports, the changes won't be major, but will introduce blurring (called "Acrylic") and animations that make things simpler and more consistent. Ultimately, it's a lot like the Aero interface introduced in Windows Vista, and the blurring and animations you see in iOS, such as when you scroll up and emails or text run behind a title bar, and when the title bar shinks and even disappears when you scroll down a web page.
The updates will change the look and feel of some of Windows 10's native apps, such as Groove, but will later be opened up to developers. NEON also includes the HoloLens and 3D features in Windows.
3D content was a focus for Microsoft, with Windows 10 focusing greater on 3D content, which spans to Paint and Powerpoint too! And yes, Paint got a fresh lick of paint - pun intended.
You can now create 3D shapes in Paint and share them directly with your social followers, or SketchUp network - better still, print them directly on your 3D printers, nifty.
Arguably the biggest new feature is the new Windows Holographic interface. Microsoft announced that Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Acer will be making affordable VR headsets for Windows 10 which will cost as little as $299 (~£250). There's not much known about the interface, but we'll add more here as soon as we can.
Blue light reduction
Android, iOS and Amazon's mobile operating systems all have a feature which reduces blue light at night, so it's not too surprising that Microsoft is planning to add such a feature to Windows. If anything, it's long overdue.
Watch out Twitch, Microsoft are out to get you! With the Creators update, you'll be able to set up a live stream using Beam. You will be able to interact with users easily and will also be able to create tournaments with friends!
Pin people to the taskbar
This might seem trivial to some, but to others will be extremely useful. You will now have the option to pin 'people' to the taskbar, enabling you to quickly drag and drop files to your contacts, by taking these files to the taskbar!
- Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
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- How to download and install Windows 10 today
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- Windows 10 for phones preview
How to get Windows 10 Anniversary Update & Creators Update
Anniversary Update: Available from the Settings > Update and Security
Creators update: Available to Windows Insiders in October 2016
Assuming you are already running Windows 10, to run the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or the Creators update you'll need a PC with 2GB of RAM and 20GB of internal storage (that's for 64-bit, for 32-bit you'll need 16GB). The desktop version will run on devices with screens larger than 7in, while the mobile version works with devices that have screens up to 9in.
The Anniversary Update has been available since 2 August, but you will need to have automatic updates turned on to receive it. Go to Start, Settings, Update and Security and turn on automatic updates. The Creators update will be available in the same place, but will be available in Spring 2017 - however Windows Insiders will be available to try the beta from October 2016.
(You can also manually check for the an update by going to Start, Settings, Update and Security, Check for Updates.)
You can also download the Anniversary Update (and in Spring 2017, the Creators update) and manually install it. Provided you have at least 4GB of space on a USB drive, portable hard drive or DVD, download the tool from here. Choose Create installation media for another PC, then select the language, edition and whether you want 32- or 64-bit. Save the file to a bootable USB drive or as an ISO; if you choose ISO you can then burn it to disc. Boot up the software and follow the wizard to install the Windows 10 update.
New features in Windows 10: Previous Windows updates
The Creators update follows the Anniversary Update as a free update to Windows 10 users. The Anniversary Update included improvements to Cortana, Windows Hello and Ink, and is possibly the best known of all Windows 10 updates, but it's not the only update Windows 10 has received following its release.
Since the beginning, Windows 10 has had its fair share of teething troubles, with some people claiming Microsoft launched an unfinished product too early just to hit a deadline. Whether true or not, Windows 10 is different from previous versions of the operating system: it's now a service rather than a standalone piece of software, and runs across multiple platforms. In practice, that means it will be getting regular updates and changing over time.
Think of it more like Google's Chrome web browser: you don't worry about which version you're running. Instead automatic updates bring improvements and new features regularly. So it is for Windows 10; we won't be be waiting for a Windows 11 - we might instead have to get used to calling it simply "Windows".
Windows 10 UK price: How much does Windows 10 cost?
Until 29 July 2016 Windows 10 was a free upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8, though you had to pay to upgrade from XP or Vista. Those prices are now applicable to all users, with Windows 10 Home costing £99.99 and Windows 10 Pro £189.99, both from Microsoft's online store.
Once you're on Windows 10, the updates are free - this includes the Anniversary and Creators updates. See also: How to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 10.
Windows 10 network connection problems
Windows 10 version 1607 causes internet connection issues - here's what to do if you're affected.
Microsoft has confirmed that an update to Windows 10 (version 1607) has cause an issue which prevents their PC or laptop connecting to the internet.
Both Microsoft and internet service provider,Virgin Media have advised users to reboot PCs and laptops as a way of fixing the issue. A patch, KB3206632, has since been released to fix the bug so if you're still having issues click on Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and then Check for Updates.