Windows 10 Creators Update features
Features Breakdown

Windows 10 Creators Update features

The Creators Update is the next major update for Windows 10 releasing in April 2017, and here is the complete list highlighting most significant changes.

The Windows 10 Creators Update is the next major feature update that Microsoft will be rolling out for PC, Mobile, Xbox, IoT, and HoloLens devices.

The update will be referred as “Windows 10 version 1704” following the same version scheme we’ve seen with the Anniversary Update (version 1607) and the November Update (version 1511), which indicates the year and month of the release.

Like previous releases, the Creators Update will be available as a free update for devices running Windows 10.

Formerly known with the “Redstone 2” codename, this is a significant update that will focus on making everyone a creator with new features and experiences.

All the new Windows 10 Creators Update features

Here’s the list of the most exciting features coming to Windows 10 with the Creators Update.

Start menu

On this version of the operating system, Microsoft continues to make improvements in the Start menu. In the Creators Update, you’ll be able to hide the app list with a new toggle switch in the Settings app.

Start menu All apps view
Start menu All apps view

With this new implementation, you’ll see two extra buttons in the left rail to switch between the tiles and the apps list view. The new feature works identically to the Start screen on tablet mode.

In addition, the Start menu is getting folders, which is the ability to group tiles into folders just like in Windows 10 Mobile. Simply drag and drop a tile on top another tile, and then click the folder tile to expand and access the group.

Start menu tile folders
Start menu tile folders

Cortana

Microsoft’s digital assistant is getting more useful. In the Creators Update, you will finally be able to use voice commands to shutdown, restart, sleep, and lock your computer using natural language, and raise or lower volume too.

In addition, the assistant will be able to control music playback on more apps, including iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. And you won’t have to repeat the name of the app every time you say a command, because Cortana will remember the last app you used to play music.

One exciting new feature is Cortana in full-screen mode. Now when your computer is unlocked and idle for at least 10 seconds, you can say “Hey Cortana” to get the same full-screen experience you can get now while your PC is locked.

Cortana full-screen mode
Cortana full-screen mode

As more developers continue to integrate Cortana into their apps, it’s becoming difficult to keep up on the voice commands you can use with specific apps. To address this issue, in the Creators Update, when you type the name of an app in the search box, Cortana will surface commands suggestions that you can use.

Cortana command suggestions
Cortana command suggestions

Similar to Apple’s MacOS Handoff, Windows 10 will include a feature to let you pick up where you left off in other devices using Cortana. For example, you can start writing a Word in your phone or reading a recipe on Microsoft Edge, and then from Action Center you will see a link that allows you quickly pick up where you left off.

Pick up where you left off
Pick up where you left off

Action Center

Windows Store will now show download progress inside of the Action Center that allows you to check the status of a large download while doing something else.

 

Windows Store apps download process
Windows Store apps download process

File Explorer

While there has been rumors in the past of Microsoft building a new File Explorer, it seems that the experience will remain virtually unchanged. However, users will see a new form of notification to help users discover the new features in Windows 10.

File Explorer notifications on Windows 10 Redston 2 (build 14901)

Windows Share

The Windows 8-style flyout to share content with other apps is getting replaced with the new Windows Share. The new experience will appear on top of the app (e.g. Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, and other apps) with a list of apps you can use to share when clicking the Share button or using Windows key + H keyboard shortcut.

Windows Share experience
Windows Share experience

Capture

Windows 10 now lets you use the Windows + Shift + S keyboard shortcut to capture a region of your screen and copy it to the clipboard. You can then paste it in OneNote or any other app.

Action Center

As part of the new Windows 10 Creators Update features set, Action Center is getting more functional and things will look a little different too.

You’ll be able to control the volume from Quick Actions, and a new slider will let you change the brightness to any level, instead of the current percentage pre-sets.

Quick Actions
Quick Actions

Quick Actions buttons will move away from the square design. However, some buttons like Tablet mode, Airplane mode, Rotation lock, and Quiet hours will remain with the old design, but smaller.

Lunar calendar

The Date & Time settings page will incorporate a new option to add the Simplified or Traditional Chinese lunar calendar to the calendar flyout on the Taskbar.

Chinese lunar calendar
Chinese lunar calendar

Power management

Windows 10 devices are also getting an updated power flyout on the Taskbar with the ability to adjust power options to improve battery life or performance depending on the task you need to tackle.

Power slider
Power slider

Touchpad settings

One way the company is improving touch on Windows 10 is by adding new touchpad functionalities. In the new update, you’ll see a new Touchpad settings page to configure options for three and four finger gestures. In addition, a new “Advanced Gestures Configuration” page will let you configure even more settings.

Windows 10 build 14946 Touchpad settings
Windows 10 build 14946 Touchpad settings

Virtual touchpad

There is also a new virtual touchpad available for tablets that you can use to control external monitors. This feature will be available through the taskbar when connecting a secondary display to the tablet.

Virtual Touchpad for the Windows 10 Creators Update
Virtual Touchpad for the Windows 10 Creators Update

The virtual touchpad supposed to work just like a physical touchpad with a left and right buttons and a touchpad area.

Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a new feature that when enabled allows Windows 10 to automatically delete unnecessary temporary files and those items that have been in the recycle bin for over 30 days to free up space on your computer.

Storage Sense
Storage Sense
Storage Sense options
Storage Sense options

Personalization

The Creators Update will continue to improve the personalization features to let you customize the look and feel of Windows 10.

In the new update, the Personalization page will add a new color picker to lets you select any color, and not just a set of predefined colors.

Personalization new color accent picker
Personalization new color accent picker

Additionally, themes will now come to the Windows Store, and you’ll have the choice to get free and paid Windows themes to personalize your experience.

Windows Store Personalization section with free and paid themes
Windows Store Personalization section with free and paid themes

Dynamic Lock

Dynamic Lock is a new feature that automatically locks your device when you’re not around based on the proximity of a Bluetooth-paired phone. When your Bluetooth-paired phone is not found near your computer, Windows 10 turns off the screen and locks the PC after 30 seconds.

To enable Dynamic Lock, you must connect your phone via Bluetooth to your Windows 10 PC, and then go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and turn on the toggle switch for Dynamic lock.

You’ll find the feature particularly useful for organizations to add an extra layer of security for employees who have to be working with sensitive information on their computers.

Dynamic Lock
Dynamic Lock

Windows Update

Under the hood, the Creators Update will introduce the Unified Update Platform (UUP), which is a new update publishing technology that uses differential downloads that only contains the changes since the last update.

The new approach will reduce the download size of a feature update by 35 percent, making it faster to upgrade to a new version. The Unified Update Platform will benefit all devices (especially mobile devices), as installation will reduce processor cycles and less power, optimizing battery life laptops, tablets, and phones.

The update servicing mechanism will make it faster for devices to check for updates as the Windows Update server will be the ones doing most of the work to identify which updates need to be downloaded on the device.

Windows 10 will add a new improvement so that Windows Update will prompt you to schedule any pending update. Users will see this notification when the operating system can’t figure out the best time to restart.

On an effort to address the ongoing problems with mandatory updates, Microsoft is also adding a new option to let you temporarily “pause updates” from being installed on your computer for up to 35 days. In addition, there will be a new option to prevent Windows 10 from installing driver updates when updating your system.

Pause Update on Windows 10
Pause Update on Windows 10

Troubleshoot

Microsoft is adding a new Troubleshoot page in the Settings app to find and fix many common problems, including network, audio, printer, Windows Update, Blue Screen of Death, Bluetooth, hardware and other devices.

Troubleshoot settings
Troubleshoot settings

Networking

The Creators Update will also introduce support for wireless 802.11ad technology, also known as WiGig.

Using WiGig, supported wireless network adapters and routers can make use of the 60Ghz frequency to deliver up to 8Gbps speeds.

However, this isn’t something that you’ll be able to just turn on. You’ll need to upgrade your wireless adapter and router to support 802.11ad.

On the Creators Update, you can set Ethernet connections as metered. Just like mobile broadband and Wi-Fi connections, this option helps you to restrict background data usage from some applications and gives you more control over how data is used over the Ethernet connection.

Simply go to Settings > Network & Internet > Ethernet and enable the “Set as metered connection” option.

Ethernet metered connection
Ethernet metered connection

Service hosts

Under the hood, on devices featuring 3.5GB or more RAM, service hosts will split into separate processes, as with today’s hardware there is not substantial memory-saving by grouping service hosts into one process.

The new change will bring new advantages to the Windows 10 Creators Update, including:

  • Reliability: Because grouping services into one process can crash other services, this new approach removes the single point of failure scenario.
  • Transparency: Users will now be able to quickly see the processor, memory, disk & network that an individual service is using.
  • Servicing efficiency: Technical users will now be able to quickly pinpoint issues and get them resolve faster.
  • Security: Process isolation and individual permission set for services increases security in the operating system.

Registry Editor

The Registry Editor hasn’t really changed much since Windows 95. However, the Creators Update will introduce a new address bar to quickly jump to a path, and the ability to change the font style. These aren’t very significant improvements, but nonetheless are good additions.

Registry address bar on Windows 10 Creators Update
Registry address bar on Windows 10 Creators Update

Scaling (High-DPI)

Although the operating system does a decent job scaling the user interface on high-DPI displays, traditional desktop applications don’t scale well. In the Creators Update there are new scaling improvements and some desktop applications will automatically look more crisp on displays with high density pixels.

Microsoft is even adding a new compatibility option called “System (Enhanced)” to improve scaling on your favorite desktop apps. You can enable this feature by right-clicking the .exe file, selecting Properties, then on the Compatibility tab, you’ll need to select the System (Enhanced) option.

Windows 10 new System (Enhanced) compatibility option
Windows 10 new System (Enhanced) compatibility option

Additionally, because desktop icons don’t scale or arrange properly, especially after docking/undocking your device, when using a multi-monitor setup with different scaling settings. On the Windows 10 Creators Update, when working with a multi-monitor configuration (e.g., dock/undock device, project to an external display, and add or remove monitor), icons will now scale properly.

Picture-in-Picture

The Creators Update is also introducing a new Picture-in-Picture more, which Microsoft calls “compact overlay”. The new feature allows developers to add a compact view to their Windows Store apps. This way, you can continue to do other things, such as watching a movie or having a Skype video call while you’re checking your emails.

Windows 10 Picture-in-Picture
Windows 10 Picture-in-Picture

3D & mixed reality

The new Windows 10 Creators Update features set will bring 3D to the masses and affordable mixed reality gear for everyone.

The new version of the operating system will include a new version of the Paint app with a new user interface to support creating, capturing, printing, and sharing on 3D.

Paint 3D on Windows 10 Creators Update
Paint 3D on Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft has also unveiled Remix 3D, which is an online community to find and share 3D projects with other people. In addition, Office will be adding 3D support sometime in 2017, and more apps will get 3D in the future.

The next major update of Windows 10 will include augmented reality and virtual reality out-of-the-box. This will enable users to experience apps, games, and media in a total different way.

Virtual Reality in Windows 10 Creators Update
Virtual Reality in Windows 10 Creators Update

In addition, Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer, and Asus will bring affordable virtual reality headsets starting as low as $299.

OneDrive placeholders

OneDrive placeholders was the concept of storing small pieces of metadata with a thumbnail of a file, instead of downloading the entire file on your computer to save space. Then when open the file, the rest of the file will download to your computer.

The problem was that many people didn’t know how the feature worked and how to access their files offline. As a result, Microsoft removed the feature from Windows 10, but after feedback placeholders are coming back as On-Demand Sync.

Night light

Similar to Android’s Night mode and Apple’s Night Shift, Microsoft will introduce a new night mode in the Creators Update. Currently known as Night Light, the new feature will re-adjust your display tone and colors to help reduce eye strain and improve your sleep quality.

Night Light settings
Night Light settings

Braille

The Creators Update brings support for braille input and output through the Ease of Access settings. Support braille displays will be available for more than 35 manufacturers, using more than 40 languages and multiple braille variants, including grade 2 contracted braille.

Ease of Access Braille settings
Ease of Access Braille settings

Windows Ink

In the pen support front, Windows Ink will be bringing a number of improvements, including a new protractor tool for Sketchpad and Screen sketch.

Windows Ink Protractor

Then we’ll see Windows Ink coming to Office apps. For example, in Word, you’ll use a pen for new editing tasks, including cross line on text to delete it and better highlighting.

Word with new Windows Ink capabilities
Word with new Windows Ink capabilities

This was a feature that should have come included with the Anniversary Update, but it’ll finally arrive with the Creators Update.

Also, on Screen Sketch and Sketchpad, you’ll get a preview of color and width of the ink as you make your choices in the pen, pencil, and highlighter flygouts. And Screen Sketch will get a new Resume previous option to recover previous sketches.

Windows Ink resume previous sketch
Windows Ink resume previous sketch

Windows Defender

In this new version, Windows 10 will introduce a new Windows Defender dashboard that uses the same design language we’re now seeing on the Store, and it’ll be known as “Windows Defender Security Center”.

With a new name, the new dashboard will be the one place to control malware protection, device performance and health, firewall and network protection, and family options.

Windows Defender Security Center main page
Windows Defender Security Center main page
Virus & Threat Protection
Virus & Threat Protection

Windows Defender Security Center will also include “Refresh Windows” to reinstall the operating system when things aren’t working correctly. This new feature will help you do a clean install of Windows 10 with the latest update.

Device Performance & Health
Device Performance & Health

Using the new process will keep your files and some of your settings, but it’ll remove most of your applications.

Firewall & Network Protection
Firewall & Network Protection
Windows Defender Security Center Family options
Windows Defender Security Center Family options

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is also part of Windows 10, and it’s getting some new interesting changes and improvements.

Currently hovering over a tab will pop a small preview overlaying on top of the page, which can get in the way of other elements. In the Creators Update, Microsoft Edge will get a new tab management system that will push the content down unveiling a preview of all your open tabs in a carousel view.

Microsoft Edge new tab management system
Microsoft Edge new tab management system

The browser will introduce “Tab I’ve set aside,” which is a new feature to save a group of tabs for later viewing.

Microsoft Edge new Tabs I've set aside feature
Microsoft Edge new Tabs I’ve set aside feature

Perhaps another interesting feature is Microsoft Edge in HoloLens will also evolve for a more immersive 3D experience. This includes the ability to pull out 3D objects from the browser when interacting with HoloLens.

As the internet continues is transition from Adobe Flash to HTML5, similar to other web browsers, Microsoft Edge will by default block Adobe Flash content by default to improve battery life, performance, and security. However, the company will allow users to enable Flash on those site you visit frequently with an option that will appear in address bar.

User clicks on a blocked Flash control.
User clicks on a blocked Flash control on Microsoft Edge.

Additionally, other smaller features will include support for epub file format, and you’ll be able to import and export bookmarks using HTML files.

According to Microsoft, 46% of people buying online leave the site during the payment process due to complexity and required effort. In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft Edge introduces a new Payment Request API that connects to Microsoft Wallet to access user’s payment information and complete a checkout securely using a Microsoft account.

Microsoft Edge web payment using Microsoft Wallet
Microsoft Edge web payment using Microsoft Wallet

In addition, because payment information is stored in your Microsoft Wallet, users don’t have to go through the traditional checkout flows and repeatedly enter the payment information and shipping address repeatedly. The wallet feature for Microsoft Edge provides a faster and more consistent experiences across websites and devices.

The Creators Update also brings ebooks to Windows Store. Once you made your purchase, you’ll find your books in the new Books library inside of Hub.

Ebooks on Microsoft Edge
Ebooks on Microsoft Edge

In the Books library, you can use the table of contents or seek bar to navigate. You can bookmark pages, look up words and phrases, play embedded video and audio content, and you can have Edge read books aloud.

Other customization options include text spacing to improve reading speed and comprehension. You can change the font and text size, themes, navigation control and more.

In this new Windows 10 update, Microsoft Edge will introduce an updated version of Web Notes with a new interface that matches the Windows Ink experience.

Windows Ink on Microsoft Edge
Windows Ink on Microsoft Edge

Gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10

Xbox One and Windows 10 finally include support gaming in 4K resolution, and Beam integration will offer in-game broadcasting.

For those unfamiliar, similar to Twitch and YouTube Gaming, Beam is a video gaming broadcasting platform recently acquired by Microsoft, and now it’ll be part of Xbox and Windows 10.

In addition, Microsoft will be including full support for Dolby Atmos for Blu-ray content and games on Xbox One as well as on Windows 10. However, you’ll need a set of high-end speakers that support Atmos. Though the company says that virtually any pair of headphones will offer a similar experience.

On Windows 10, the software giant is bringing “Game Mode”, which is a new feature that allows the operating system to control the your system resources to increase gaming performance.

The new major update also adds a new Gaming section to the Settings app to configure Game Bar, Game DVR , Broadcasting, and Game mode.

Game bar settings
Game bar settings
Game DVR settings
Game DVR settings
Broadcasting settings
Broadcasting settings
Game Mode settings
Game Mode settings

On Xbox One, the Creators Update will add the ability for users to create custom tournaments to Arena on Xbox Live, and bitstream audio pass-through.

Microsoft is also working to improve the dashboard experience to make it easier and faster to access features using the controller.

The new update will also add a new Achievement tracking overlay, Gamerscore Leaderboard, a new Cortana design, and controls for background music. In addition to updates for Activity Feed, Clubs, and Looking For Group (LFG) to make easier to connect with other people.

Windows 10 built-in apps

One of the biggest complaints from users was built-in apps (e.g., Get Office, Candy Crash, News, and Finance) appearing again after installing a new feature update. Starting with the Windows 10 Creators Update, built-in apps users uninstall won’t get reinstall on future updates.

Also, Windows 10 will make it easier to uninstall a number of built-in apps you don’t use, including:

  • Calculator
  • Groove Music
  • Mail and calendar
  • Maps
  • Movies & TV
  • OneNote
  • Voice Recorder
  • Weather
  • Xbox

Groove Music

On the Windows 10 Creators Update, a lot of built-it apps will get updated with new features. For example, Groove Music will get a “Groove music maker” tool to mix and create new tracks without the need of additional software.

Groove music maker for the WIndows 10 Creators Update
Groove music maker for the WIndows 10 Creators Update

Maps

Maps is also getting updated, and it’ll bring a new section called “Collections”. This new feature will allow you to save maps along with photos you may have taken on a particular trip.

Maps Collections features for the Windows 10 Creators Update
Maps Collections features for the Windows 10 Creators Update

A lot more still to come

While Microsoft has already announced the main features, we’re also expecting to see even more features and changes through the development of the Creators Update.

Bookmark this page and keep coming back, as it’ll continue to be updated with new Windows 10 Creatures Update features and changes, as they become available via official announcements and through the test version of the operating system.

Keep track of every feature and change during the development of the this Windows 10 update here.

What do you think about the new Windows 10 Creators Update features? Tell us in the comments below.

Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 15031, and some rumored features as well. Updated on February 2017.

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