On October 17th Microsoft will be releasing the next major update to Windows 10. The update was codenamed Redstone 3 and is officially called the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. While not as extensive as the creators update from earlier this year it does include new features that improve all aspects of the operating system.
The update introduces something called Fluid design that gives the OS a more 3 dimensional feel with translucent layers in apps (called acrylic) that give you a sense of layers in the OS. Many of the built in apps have this new look for example the calculator app has the acrylic design where you can see there are objects underneath the app but not actually make out the detail. The idea is to give you a sense of perspective without being fussy.
In fact calculator is a good example of a changes in Windows not only does it have the new look to it the app also gains some new functionality. The app will now convert currencies from one to another, convert imperial to metric, volume, area, tie, power and data.
OneDrive files on demand
One of the best new features is OneDrive files on demand. This is similar to the old OneDrive placeholder files where you can have all your OneDrive content available to view on your PC but without them having to be downloaded. Only once you select a file either via Windows Explorer or an app does Windows actually download the file. So you can files available offline and online only, it’s great for small devices where you don’t want to download the whole folder but still have access to the files. I also found OneDrive files on the demand syncs faster than the old way of working. This is one feature worth updating to the Fall Creators Update for.
Web page sharing from iOS and Android
A new feature in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is an easy way of continuing browser from Android and iOS to Windows 10. You can be browsing the web on your phone and then decide to continue browsing the page on your PC, you just tap the share icon on your phone select “Continue on PC” and then either Continue Now or Continue Later. If you select Continue Now you can then select which Windows 10 device you want to continue browsing on, it then opens up the page on your selected PC. If you select Continue Later it adds a link in action center which you can click on to open the page.
It works by linking your PC with your phone, in settings there is a new Phone section where you can add you phone and link the devices.
When Microsoft announced the Fall Creators Update they demonstrated new features and a new name for the Photos app which was called Story Remix, since then the app has been renamed a new times and ended up back as Photos.
In the app there is a new Create button which gives you the option of creating a new Video Remix, Video Project or Album. An Album is a collection of related videos and photos.
With video remix you pick a selection of videos and pictures from your collection and then it will automatically put together a video with music out of your selections. It works out of the box surprisingly well.
The other option is Video project which once again asks you to pick photos and videos from your collection but this time you can edit and change the video yourself.
Microsoft Edge has a lot of changes. There is now a full screen option, it can read out web site to you using text to speech and there is now even a nice little animation when you add a favourite to Edge. When viewing EPUP books in Edge you can now select text and ask Cortana to search on the word or phrase. You can also create ink notes on PDF and EPUP files.
PDF support has been improved in Microsoft Edge, you can now fill in PDF forms and add annotations to PDFs, and there is also a layout view for PDF files.
You can now pin websites to the task bar in Microsoft Edge, I have to admit that I was supposed Windows 10 didn’t already done have this feature but it’s here now and very handy.
Windows Defender has controlled folder access so you can whitelist app that are allowed to make changes to folder and files. For example Word can be allowed to change files in your documents folder but no other apps, so a malware program would not be able to encrypt the files.
A feature originally designed for the Creators Update this add a quick way to access your frequently used contacts. You can pin your most used contacts to the taskbar and then quickly interact with them, you can send them a Skype message or email. At the moment the functionality seems a bit basic and ultimately I am not sure how much I am going to use it.
With this update it is much easier to share via the Windows Explorer share action and at last you can share to the clipboard, for example in Microsoft Edge you can share the page to the clipboard and then paste it into another app.
Action Center has a slightly different look based on the fluent design, the notification tiles are bigger and have improved separation.
Cortana’s settings have been moved over to the main settings in Windows
Incoming call notifications from Windows 10 Mobile and Android popup in Windows 10 and you have the option of texting back or decline the call. Cortana can now read information from images, for example detecting a date on a poster and creating a reminder. So far this is US only, I did try it by changing my region setting it worked ok.
Pick up where you left off
Pen and Touch keyboard input
The pen, touch and voice input have all been improved. You can now use voice to dictate to Windows, you can talk away and Windows will convert it into text which works with any kind of app. For on-screen keyboard users there is the wordflow keyboard from Window 10 Mobile. You can swipe from letter to letter and it will workout the word you are trying to type, it’s a fast way of entering text and it’s good to see it added to Windows 10.
The pen input panel has also been improved. It is easier to correct misrecognised words using ink gestures. Also if you lose your pen there is a handy Find my pen feature that shows the last place your pen was when it talked to your device. You can also scroll with the pen!
Task Manager Improvements
There is now a GPU monitor in task manager so you can see how much load is on your graphics card. Its surprising this feature has only just make it to Windows.
The Windows Update process has been improved with this release. Windows now spends more time preparing the update while your PC is still up and running so it has to spend less time offline during the update. This means you can actually use your machine for more time during a major update. There also now delivery optimisation options, so you limit how much bandwidth the update takes in the background and see how much data is being used.
You can now control individual UWP volume via the Volume Mixer. Via settings you can set files in the Download folder to be automatically deleted if not used for 30 days. Another nice little changes is the settings for turning on Remote Desktop is now available in the settings (rather than the old control panel).
Should you update?
Overall the Windows 10 Fall Creators doesn’t have that many major changes but it does introduce the new Fluid design to Windows 10 which we are going to see more of in future releases. My favourite new feature OneDrive Files On Demand, I love being able to sync files when I need them rather than syncing the whole folder plus is work seamlessly in the background. Other changes like the new mini-keyboard and pen input the panel make Windows easier to use. So the quest is should you update to the Fall Creators Update? Simple answer is yes, it’s faster, looks better and has new features.
Here is my hands on video with the new Windows 10 release:
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.