Windows 10's Fall Creators Update has hit the mainstream. If you haven't updated yet, any Windows 10 machines you have will no doubt be nagging you before long. The latest update to Microsoft's bread-and-butter operating system comes just six months after the original Creators Update back in April. That's exactly according to Microsoft's plan, as the company has moved to a semi-annual release pattern for what we would once have called service packs.
The Fall Creators Update's unembellished name hints at the nature of its contents. We already talked about it a bit before, but the highlights this time around are built-in eye-tracking and Windows Mixed Reality support. Eye-tracking can now be used as an accessibility feature for folks with limited mobility. Meanwhile, Windows Mixed Reality headsets like the Dell Visor and Samsung HMD Odyssey will bring VR and AR content—including at least some SteamVR titles—to the wider audience of Windows users.
One of the update's more useful features is OneDrive Files On Demand. The feature lets you see and use your OneDrive files as if they're stored locally, and Windows will take care of automatically downloading them for you. Microsoft has a page up with more information about this functionality.
Windows Ink has been renamed to Windows Inking, and has support for vandalizing a broader variety of applications. Going along with that change, the new Windows release has a revised Photos app that fully supports drawing on both static and animated images. The app can also add filters, typed text, 3D effects, full 3D objects, and even audio to slideshows and animations. There's also a Mixed Reality Viewer that can be used to see 3D objects (such as those created in Paint 3D) projected into real space.
Inking support extends to Edge as well, where you can annotate books in reading mode. Edge itself got a few other features, too: you can finally hit F11 to go full-screen like every other browser, you can edit the URLs of saved favorites, and you can pin sites directly to your taskbar. It's nice to see Microsoft's new browser adding functionality that we enjoyed from the old one. The Windows Store has likewise changed name to Microsoft Store, and it has a new UI to go along with the new title.
Like myself, there are probably a fair few gerbils who use Windows primarily for gaming. The new update includes functionality for us PC gamers. Game Mode, a feature that frees up system resources for use by fullscreen games, has apparently been improved in some way. A new option called Xbox Networking could help streamline port forwarding and the process of troubleshooting other game-related network problems. Windows' Task Manager is finally getting the much-welcome ability to monitor GPU usage, too.
Part of the reason for the relatively uninspiring feature list for this update could be that Microsoft's focus was on improving Windows' security. The company's Windows blog says that the update includes changes to the way Defender and SmartScreen work, and that there's a new type of protection against ransomware. Controlled folder access lets users create a set of protected folders that cannot be modified by any app that isn't on a whitelist.
The Fall Creators Update is rolling out in stages, so if you don't have it available yet, you may not be included in the first phase. If you want the update now, manually tell your Windows 10 device to check for updates. If that still doesn't work, you can head to Microsoft's update download site and grab it directly. You can either do an in-place upgrade with the Update Assistant, or if you're like me, wipe the disk and start fresh using the Media Creation Tool. If you're already running the update, let us know what you think in the comments.
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