After months of development, the Windows 10 Creators Update is now ready for download, and it brings a slew of tweaks and new features. This is the third major release for Windows 10 that comes out eight months after the Anniversary Update and around six months before the Redstone 3 update.
The Creators Update (1703) is part of the new Windows as a Service (WaaS) model, which means that now we get (two) incremental updates with features every year, instead of a brand-new version of the OS after several years.
This time around, Windows 10 is adding some new specific tools like Paint 3D and support for virtual reality. You’ll find new gaming features, an improved version of Microsoft Edge, new security features, and a lot more.
In this guide, we’ll look at the 11 best new features included with the Windows 10 Creators Update.
- Cortana guided OOBE
- Pick up where I left off
- Night light
- Storage Sense
- Game Mode
- Paint 3D
- Windows VR
- Dynamic Lock
- Precision touchpad support
- Microsoft Edge Books
- Windows Defender Security Center
Cortana guided OOBE
If you’re setting up a new device, or you’re starting fresh with a clean install of Windows 10, you’ll find a simpler out-of-box experience (OOBE) that features Cortana to assist you every step of the way.
Using your device microphone and speakers, you can interact with the digital assistant using voice commands to quickly configure your keyboard layout, connect to a Wi-Fi network, and set up your account.
You can always use the keyboard and mouse to complete the Windows 10 setup, but in either case, starting with the Creators Update, the out-of-box experience drops the express or custom setup in favor of a more simplified setup that anyone can understand.
Pick up where I left off
One of the best features on this version of Windows 10 is the ability to resume tasks on another device using Cortana.
The new Cortana functionality is called “pick up where I left off”, and it allows you start working on an Office (SharePoint or web) document, Store app, or website using Microsoft Edge on one computer, and then you can pick up where you left off on another device that you’re using the same Microsoft account.
Cortana’s new feature is enabled by default, but you can always check by going to Cortana > Notebook > Pick up where I left off, and see that the Help me pick up where I left off toggle switch is turned on.
Windows 10 now includes Night light, a new feature very similar to f.lux that minimize the amount of blue color that your display emits to help reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality.
You can enable Night light by going to Settings > System > Display, and turn on the Night light toggle switch. To learn more about this feature, check this guide on how to enable Night light on Windows 10.
Storage sense is a new feature that allows Windows 10 to free up space automatically on your device by deleting items that have been in the recycle bin for more than 30 days and temporary files from apps.
This feature doesn’t delete the previous version of Windows 10 after an upgrade nor temporary installation files, which are known to use a significant amount of space, but Storage sense is still a great feature to keep the space optimized on devices with limited capacity.
You can enable Storage sense on Settings > System > Storage, and turn on the Storage sense toggle switch.
Game Mode is one of the best new features part of the Windows 10 Creators Update to boost performance and framerate while playing games. Once enabled Windows 10 will work to prioritize the processor and graphics resources on your computer to offer the best possible gaming experience.
You can enable this feature on Settings > Gaming > Game Mode, and turn on the Use Game Mode toggle switch. Then launch a game, using the Windows key + G keyboard shortcut to open the Game bar, click on Settings, and check the Use Game Mode for this game option.
Windows 10’s Creators Update now comes with 3D support out-of-the-box, and Paint 3D is a new app that Microsoft created to use this new technology.
Paint 3D is a complete overhaul of the desktop version with a modern design and features to create or import 3D objects. The new version of Paint also introduces Remix 3D, which is a community to download and share 3D projects.
On Windows 10 version 1703, Microsoft is also adding support for virtual reality and augmented reality with a new holographic shell that is officially known as Windows Mixed Reality. This will enable users to experience apps, games, and media in a total different way.
In addition, Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer, and Asus will bring affordable virtual reality headsets starting as low as $299, instead of having to drop $3000 on a HoloLens developer kit.
Microsoft’s Creators Update also ships with the Mixed Reality Portal app to setup your computer for virtual or augmented reality, but you’ll need to connect a headset to take advantage of the new functionalities.
Another best new feature on the Creators Update is Dynamic Lock. Internally known as “Windows Goodbye,” Dynamic Lock is a new security feature that allows you to use your phone (or another device) to automatically lock your Windows 10 PC when you step away.
Once enabled, if your device is not near your PC, Windows 10 waits 30 seconds before turning off the screen and locking your PC. Then you’ll need to enter your password to get back into your computer.
Setting up Dynamic Lock is a two-part operation. You first need to connect your phone or wearable using Bluetooth to your computer on Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
Then complete the Dynamic Lock setup going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and checking the Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device option.
Precision touchpad support
Windows 10 is also including new improvements to take full advantage of precision touchpad. On the Creators Update, you’ll find it easier to tap or click, false positives using two-finger gestures is greatly reduced, and pinch-to-zoom detection has also been improved.
If your laptop features a precision touchpad, you can go to Settings > Devices > Touchpad to configure finger gestures and swipes, touchpad sensitivity, pinch to zoom, and other options.
Microsoft Edge e-book reader
Microsoft Edge is getting a few new improvements with the Creators Update, but perhaps one of the best new features is the ability to read e-books from the Windows Store, and those unprotected epub files you store locally on your computer.
Once you buy a new book from the Store, it’ll appear on the new Books library on Microsoft Edge.
The e-book reader features a table of content and seek bar at the bottom of the page to navigate the book. You can bookmark pages, look up words and phrases, play embedded video and audio content, and you can have Edge read books aloud. In addition, you can also have Edge to read the book aloud by clicking the button on the top-right corner between “Options” and “Add to bookmark” buttons.
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.
Windows Defender Security Center
The Windows Defender Security Center is a new dashboard built into Windows 10 that uses the same language design found on Windows Store apps, and it’s your new place to control malware protection, device performance and health, firewall and network protection, and family options.
This is also one of my personal favorite features included with the Creators update, because it allows you to take control of security and system performance in a single place, instead of having the settings scatter throughout the OS.
In addition, Windows Defender Antivirus also comes integrated into this experience, and if your computer is working correctly or you’re looking to improve system performance, you can always use the new Start Fresh feature to reinstall Windows 10 with the latest update.
When using Start Fresh, Windows 10 will keep your files, settings, and most of your apps.
Wrapping things up
Although the Windows 10 Creators Update isn’t as big as the Anniversary Update, it’s still a significant release with a few welcome changes and additions.
You can see everything that’s new with this update in the Windows 10 Creators Update video review.
Originally published on April 22, updated on April 25, 2017.