The Fall Creators Update (version 1709) is out and brings a new set of features and changes to Windows 10. This is the fourth major feature update Microsoft is making available for desktops, laptops, tablets, Xbox One, and other devices with a new set of features and improvements focus on security, new experiences, and expanding functionalities to iOS and Android devices.
The next version of Windows 10 includes a slew of new features and tweaks, but Microsoft is touting some key additions, including a new interface design using Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System, My People, OneDrive File On-Demand, Windows Defender’s Controlled folder access, Settings tweaks, new cross-device experiences, new version of Microsoft Edge, and a lot more.
As the name implies, the update will be available for download in the fall of 2017, more specifically on October 17, 2017. Initially, Microsoft will begin rolling out the Fall Creators Update with its new features to select devices that are known to work with the new version, and then the rollout will expand to other devices.
How to get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update? Starting October 17, if your device is compatible, the new version will automatically download through Windows Update. Alternatively, you can install the update using the Media Creation Tool to do a clean or in-place upgrade, Update Assistant, or you can also download the ISO file to create a USB bootable media.
It’s expected that Microsoft will refer the update as “Windows 10 version 1709” following the same version scheme we’ve been seeing with the previous versions, including the Creators Update (version 1703) and the Anniversary Update (version 1607) indicating the year and month of the release.
Version 1709 will be offered as a free update for devices already running Windows 10.
Formerly known with the Windows 10 “Redstone 3” codename, this is a continuation of the work introduced with the first Creators Update, and it’ll continue the quest to help consumers to spark creativity.
Here are all the most exciting new features coming to Windows 10 in the second Creators Update arriving this fall.
As part of the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 will introduce a new design system. You heard it before as Project Neon, but it’s now officially known as “Microsoft Fluent Design System”.
The new design language is an interface refresh, and it brings a new set of rules to streamline the design of apps for PCs, tablets, phones, TVs, and mixed reality headsets. Basically, Windows 10 will get a new look with the addition of blur (acrylic), translucent, and animation effects.
Microsoft is focusing this new design system on light, depth, motion, material, and scale to deliver a more intuitive, responsive, and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions.
In this update, we’ll begin to see these changes on apps and throughout the OS, such as in the Start menu, Action Center, built-in apps (e.g., Photos, Calculator, Clock, and People), Microsoft Edge, and on the Windows Store. However, it’s something that the company plans to implement gradually on Windows 10 and other products.
You probably never heard of it before, but Microsoft Graph is a technology to access data in the Microsoft Cloud for both, consumers and commercial users, data across Windows, Office, and many other services hosted by Microsoft.
Previously, it was a cloud service for commercial used as part of the Office 365 offering, but now it’ll also be available for Windows 10 users.
An easy way to put it: Microsoft Graph is the connectivity glue that will help Windows 10 to seamlessly connect with other devices, including iOS, Android, and other Windows 10 devices.
On the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the Microsoft Graph will allow to implement new features, including Timeline (coming in 2018), pick up where you left off, Clipboard, and OneDrive File On-Demand.
Another new feature coming with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is OneDrive File On-Demand. It’s like placeholders, but it works in a different way.
As before, you’ll be able to browser your files stored in OneDrive without having to download them first, but the feature will work more intelligently. For example, if you recently opened a file online, then it’ll sync to be available offline. Opening files on your computer will also sync them to be available without an internet connection. Otherwise, you’ll still need to configure a folder or file individually to make them available offline.
While the “My People” feature was expected in the first Creators Update, it’ll roll out with the new feature update arriving this fall.
This is a new experience to easily connect with people close to your circle. Using My People, you can pin contacts to the right side of the taskbar and quickly send messages and files.
Just to be clear, it’s not another communication service, instead it’s a feature that connects with other services and apps, including Skype, Mail, and People, and simplifies the way you contact other people using one interface.
My People includes the following features:
If you ever forget your PIN or password, it’s now possible to recover your credentials from the Lock screen. This feature is available for users using a Azure AD Premium (AADP) or Microsoft account.
When you’re stuck, simply click the I forgot my password (or I forgot my PIN) option in the Lock screen to open the experience with Cortana’s assistant to help you to reset your password. Once reset, you’ll be directed back to the login screen to enter your new credentials.
The Start menu isn’t getting big changes, but now it uses the Acrylic Material backdrop part of Fluent Design. You can resize the layout diagonally, and resizing horizontally is now a lot smoother than before.
Action Center is also getting the Fluent Design treatment with Acrylic Material and Reveal Highlight. In addition, toast notification banners include a new arrow button instead of an X to make it clear you’re dismissing the alert, and not deleting it.
Cortana is also being updated with a few new features, including the ability to use voice commands to turn off, restart, lock, or sign-out your PC using Cortana.
Here is the list of voice commands you can use:
If you have Cortana enabled above the Lock screen, you can also ask the assistant to execute the commands above the Lock screen.
Starting with version 1709, Cortana can show web result snippets without opening the web browser. As you type a question, the Cortana pane will expand automatically, quickly showing you exactly what you need to know. If Cortana doesn’t have a quick answer for your query, the pane won’t automatically expand.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update introduces a new Share option in the right-click context menu and integrates with the new Share experience (which now also includes an option to copy a link to the clipboard) to share files with other people. And the context menu renames Share with to avoid confusion with the new share option with Give access to.
When right-clicking an image file, the right-click context menu now includes an “Edit with Photos” option, and you’ll still see “Edit with Paint 3D”. Additionally, in more parts of the Windows 10, you’ll find the use of conscious scrollbar, which only appear when needed, and it stays hidden when it’s not required.
The Settings app continues to improve, and on the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you’ll not only find new options, but the experience will be more useful.
In this release, the Settings app includes tips and videos in the right side, where you only were able to find related settings links.
For example, if you play the video in the Multitasking page, you’ll get a few tips when working with multiple applications. The tips are related to the Multitasking options, but actually shows you how to use Task View and Snap View.
The Display settings page, on supported devices, includes a new HDR and advanced color settings page.
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update redesigns the page by adding check mark boxes to select the items you want to delete, and adds the ability to free up space by deleting the previous installation of Windows 10.
The Remote Desktop page is new, and it allows you to manage the settings to let other people access your device remotely using the Remote Desktop app. There is also an advanced page to control network level authentication, see the network port in use, and more.
On the Settings app, the About page gets redesigned to be simpler and to give you more valuable information at glance.
In this version, the About settings app, includes three sections. One to show your device’s health information generated by Windows Defender Security Center, including virus protection, firewall, performance, and an app control status.
Then there is a section that gives you a summary of the hardware specifications of your PC, such as processor, memory, and system type. Finally, there is a section where you’ll be able to find the edition, version, and build number of Windows 10.
Phone is a new section in the Settings app that is currently in development, but you’ll find a Phone page with an option to link your Android or iPhone device to your computer through Cortana to enable cross-device web-browsing. This means that after linking your phone using the same Microsoft account, you can use the share experience on your phone to send web links and pick up where you left off on your PC using Microsoft Edge.
The Network & Internet page updates the network adapter properties to make easier to change network profiles to Private or Public.
Inside the properties for a Wi-Fi and Ethernet network adapter, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update now allows you to change network profiles more clearly. This feature allows you to make your device invisible or discoverable in a local network.
Also, only in the properties for a Wi-Fi network, you’ll find a new “IP Settings” section that allows you to exit the IP address assignment for the adapter. You can set a network connection use an automatic configuration using DHCP, and you can also set up an static IP address.
The Data usage settings page adds a new option that allows you to reset data usage stats from apps at any time.
While the Fall Creators Update isn’t adding new options to the Start settings page, you’ll notice that the page has been updated, and now it no longer shows a preview found in the Themes page.
My People and its feature comes enabled by default, but the Settings app adds a new “People” section inside the Taskbar settings page to enable or disable the feature.
In addition, you get two options, including “Show My People notifications” and “Play a sound when a My People arrives” to control animated emojis and message sounds.
Microsoft Edge is now part of the apps list, and accessing the Advanced options page, you can repair or reset the browser to fix any issues.
In the Default apps page is now possible to set default apps settings. The new option is available on Set defaults by app, just click Manage, and see all the file types and protocol associations for which the app is the default.
In the Apps section, you’ll now find a new Video playback page to control video settings for applications that use Windows 10’s video playback features.
On HDR displays, it’s also possible to change video stream settings with the option to lower the resolution to reduce network bandwidth usage and battery.
This page even includes a setting to optimize video streaming for quality or to save battery life.
Inside the Sign-in options page, you’ll find a new option under Privacy described as Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart. In order to speed up the update process Windows 10 already automatically signs you in after a restart and finish setting up your device, but now the same functionality has been expanded to regular reboots and shutdowns when using the Start menu or other locations.
In addition, this feature will restore your accessibility apps and other apps that have registered to restart automatically.
The Broadcasting page has been improved to offer smoother and seamless game experience, and it’s now possible to select a language during the broadcast.
Additionally, you can now choose Per-app audio to broadcast using only the game’s audio on Mixer as opposed to the audio for your entire PC.
In Game Mode, the page no longer includes a toggle switch to enable or disable the feature, and under-the-hood, the performance has been improved for six-core and eight-core processors.
The Gaming section also introduces a new page called TruePlay with an option to turn on an anti-cheating functionality to make sure everything runs the way it was meant to.
The Settings app introduces a new Xbox Networking page to help users troubleshoot and fix problems that may be preventing users from playing multiplayer game or using voice chat on Xbox Live.
The Color and high contrast page now introduces a color filtering feature to help users with color blindness to distinguish between colors like green and red.
On the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is also working on improving the Easy of Access features, and one of these new improvements are happening in the Magnifier page.
In the update the Magnifier page, you’ll find new controls and options to control magnification zoom levels, inverted colors, new magnifier mode, and a handy list of all the keyboard shortcuts you can use with the magnifier.
And there is a new option to enable bitmap smoothing when using the magnifier.
Cortana is moving to the Settings app. In order to make Microsoft’s digital assistant more discoverable starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 is migrating the Cortana settings to the Settings app.
Instead of opening Cortana on the Taskbar, you can now simply go to Settings > Cortana to find and configure the digital assistant.
The new Cortana section features four new pages, including Talk to Cortana, Permissions & history, Notifications, and More details.
These new pages don’t introduce new options to use the assistant, instead Windows 10 is reorganizing all the existing settings into four different pages.
On Settings > Cortana > Talk to Cortana, you’ll find the most basic settings, including the settings to configure your microphone, enable “Hey Cortana”, Cortana in listening mode, and the assistant above the Lock screen. Also, on this page, you can change Cortana’s language settings.
On Settings > Cortana > Permissions & history, you can control permissions settings, such as location, communication, browsing history, and Cloud Search.
If you need to add or remove another service like Office 365, you’ll need to click the Manage the information Cortana can access from other services Link.
On this page, you can control your search filters, device history, and search history.
On Settings > Cortana > Notifications, you can enable or disable the option to send notifications between devices, and you can manage notifications, but the option still opens the Cortana settings experience.
On Settings > Cortana > More details, you’ll only find some privacy statements and a couple other things.
The Automatic file downloads is a new page that appears with the Fall Creators Update, and it allows you to unblock apps you’ve previously restricted to download files stored in the cloud.
In the Advanced options page, it’s now possible to enable an option to allow Windows 10 to download updates even when a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network connection is set to metered.
If you want to further take control of updates, in the Advanced options page, you can also click the Delivery Optimization link to customize how your device gets updates. You’ll now find two new links, including Advanced options and Activity monitor.
In the new Advanced options page for Delivery Optimization, you can now control how much bandwidth you want to reserve for system and apps updates.
There is also an option to set in percentage, exactly how much bandwidth you want to dedicate for upload updates for other devices — if you’re allowing to download updates from other devices.
Additionally, there is also a slider to set the monthly upload limit in gigabytes, up to 500GB.
In the Activity monitor page, you can see monthly downloads and uploads statistics.
In this new version, Windows 10 is also replacing the previous modal dialog with a new interactive toast notification, which makes much easier to be aware of an available update without interrupting your work.
Windows 10 is now a bit more secure. Starting with version 1709, the Windows Defender Security Center dashboard introduces Controlled folder access, a new feature designed specifically to protect your data from malicious programs, such as ransomware.
When enabled it monitors the changes apps are trying make to your files. If a blacklisted app is the one trying to modify files inside the protected folders, the app will be blocked, and you’ll get a notification of the suspicious activity.
By default, Controlled folder access monitors your files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop folders. While you can’t remove the default folders, it’s possible to add other locations.
The feature is disable by default, but you can use this guide to set Controlled folder access on your device.
In addition, Windows 10 is introducing a new security feature to audit, configure, and manage Windows system and apps exploit mitigation settings using the dashboard, and this feature works even if you use a third-party antivirus.
The new settings are located on Windows Defender Security Center > App & browser control, under Exploit Protection settings.
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update also brings new apps experiences, such as Story Remix on a new version of Photos, View 3D, and most built-in apps (if not all of them) like Mail & Calendar, Paint 3D, People, Alarms & Clock, Maps, Groove Music, Movies & TV, Windows Store, and others will start getting the Fluent Design System treatment.
The Photos app is getting an overhaul with Microsoft Fluent Design System and tweaks throughout the interface, and it also integrates Story Remix (shown as Video Remix).
Story Remix is a new experience built into a new version of the Photos app, which is essentially Windows Movie Maker, but recreated for Windows 10.
The new experience makes it easier to create videos using photos and videos in your collections.
Photo’s Story Remix uses Microsoft’s deep learning technology and artificial intelligence to find relevant content in your collections to create videos automatically with transitions, themes, and soundtracks. Of course, you can always keep suggested videos or edit them any way you like.
Other features in Story Remix includes automatically content tagging, which helps you to easily find things and people. You’ll get a new discovery feature to give you quick access to common tasks and past memories of people, places, and things. Additionally, you can also upload your videos to YouTube and Facebook, or share them via OneDrive or email.
Microsoft is also integrating Remix 3D and Paint 3D into Story Remix, letting you import 3D projects into movies.
And because Story Remix is powered by the Microsoft cloud, the experience will be available not only on Windows 10, but on iOS and Android as well.
If you don’t have a mixed-reality headset, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a new feature to view and interact mixed-reality images. It’s all possible with a new app called View 3D that let you view mixed-reality images, and you can also use any camera to create images mixing digital and real-world objects.
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will also bring a few new surprises to the Windows Store. Starting with this update, Microsoft will be making available its suite of Office desktop applications in the Windows Store.
Apple will bring its full-blown version of iTunes to the Windows Store, and Spotify already have its popular music service to the Store too.
Additionally, the Fall Creators Update promises to be even more Linux friendly. While you can already use Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10, in the next major update, you’re also getting SUSE Linux, and Fedora Linux in the Windows Store.
While we’re waiting for Microsoft Edge to start getting updates using the Windows Store instead of on every feature update, the web browser continues to improve with the Fall Creators Update.
Currently, the default web browser for Windows 10 includes PDF reader functionalities, but it’s quite limited. However, in this new update, Microsoft Edge is adding a bunch of new improvements, including the ability to edit, save, and print PDF forms on the web or locally stored on your computer.
Windows Ink to annotate web pages has been part of the experience for quite some time, but it wasn’t available to annotate PDF files. Starting with the Fall Creators Update, you can now click the Make a Web Note button on the top-right to annotate PDF files. In addition to annotations, you can use this feature to highlight and erase text.
The browser now even supports Table of Contents for long PDF files for easier navigation. If the Table of Contents is supported, you’ll see the option in the left of the PDF toolbar, which you can click to quickly jump to any section of the file.
When you come across PDF files like scanned documents without proper orientation, you can use the rotate button from the toolbar to rotate the document. Using the Layout flyout menu, you can now switch from one-page to two-page layout, and change to page-wise scrolling for a better navigation experience.
On this updated version of Microsoft Edge, you can have the browser to read PDF documents aloud using the option in the toolbar (or invoking the Ctrl + Alt + R keyboard shortcut). Accessing the settings for Read aloud, you can change the voice and speed, and controls to play/stop, and jump to the previous and next paragraph.
Other improvements working with PDF files include a new context menu with options to use highlighter, copy text, interface with Cortana, and add notes to the document.
The Favorites experience is getting updated with a new directory tree view to save links, and you can now right-click a link in the Favorites bar to edit a link. Additionally, you can right-click a tab to save the current open tabs to your favorites, and there are a few improvements closing and working with tabs.
Starting with the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft Edge allows to quickly pin sites to the taskbar, and users finally have a button to use the browser in full-screen mode from the main settings menu.
It’s now possible to annotate EPUB ebooks using highlighter, underlining, and you can also add notes using the keyboard or pen. You can use these features by accessing the right-click context menu when selecting text, where you’ll also find an option to copy text and interact with Cortana.
Finally, ebooks you purchase in the Windows Store will sync across devices along with your reading progress, notes, and bookmarks.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes in addition to Acrylic Material (an element part of Fluent Design) that adds a new form of depth and transparency. You’ll see this new look in the tab bar and other controls.
Also, there is a new icon for Hub, and a new animations when clicking buttons to feel more responsive.
Windows Defender Application Guard is a feature aimed for Windows 10 Enterprise, which sandboxes web pages on Microsoft Edge to offer maximum protection level from malware and zero day attacks.
When the security feature is enabled, you can select the “New Application Guard window” option from the Microsoft Edge menu to open any website in an isolated environment.
Additional improvements include new “Show search history” and “Show sites I frequently visit in Top sites”, and importing settings from Google Chrome will also import settings and cookies.
On the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is also focusing on improving performance and responsiveness.
Windows 10 is also improving the way you use input devices, whether you use natural handwriting using a pen, dictation, or typing using the on-screen keyboard.
In the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 is introducing a new handwriting panel that offers overflow writing. This means that as you write and the panel fills up and lift your pen off the screen, the text will shift to make room to continue writing.
While writing you can select text to edit, and you can write on top of a letter to correct it. There are also a few new writing gestures that you can use, including strikethrough, scratch, join, and split.
Alongside these improvements, Windows 10 adds new changes to better recognize handwriting input, there are more enhancements for palm rejection, and you can use the top of the pen as an eraser.
You’ll now find a new emoji panel that support light and dark theme, and best of all, you can input emojis on your messages using a hardware keyboard using the Windows key + “.” or Windows key + “;” keyboard shortcuts.
As you open the panel, you can continue writing to search the emoji you want, or you can use the Arrow keys, Tab / Shift + Tab, Enter, and Esc key to navigate emojis. In addition, it’s now possible to change skin color of emojis.
Windows 10 now brings the Windows 10 Mobile touch keyboard experience to the desktop, which also enables a new one-handed keyboard experience, very similar to the one available for mobile devices.
In addition, this new experience includes Microsoft’s shape writing to use swipe over the keys to input text faster.
Other improvements, include easier to work with emoji and clipboard, you can quickly switch between the handwriting and keyboard experience, using the Shift key to switch between capitalization states, and more.
On the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the Volume Mixer will include volume controls for Windows Store apps, such as Groove and Microsoft Edge. This new addition will allow you to control volume without impacting the system audio.
Microsoft is reintroducing Power Throttling, which is a feature to improve battery life on devices.
The idea behind Power Throttling is to reduce the amount of processor cycles for apps in the background, prioritizing apps working in the foreground, and certain other apps. As a result, users should see an increase of up to 11 percent of battery life saving.
Task Manager now tracks GPU performance over time and display information about DirectX version and the physical location of your GPU.
Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtualization technology, is also getting Revert VM, a feature that allows you to quickly undo changes on a virtual machine. This basically means that you can always revert to the last time you started a virtual machine if you make a mistake or for any reasons you want to undo changes.
In addition, Hyper-V now includes a new feature to quickly share a virtual machine. If you click the new zip button, the VM will be compressed inside a .vmcz file, which you can double-click to import on another computer. And virtual machines now show your device battery level.
Microsoft is also updating the Windows Console (Command Prompt) to support 24-bit RGB colors. The default color values have been changed to improve legibility of darker colors on modern screens, and to give the experience a more modern look and feel.
Starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 is introducing Eye Control, which is a new feature that allows the OS to be more accessible for people with disabilities to operate an on-screen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech using only their eyes.
The support is now built on Windows 10, but it requires a compatible eye tracker, such as the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, which once configured the experience can be controlled from Settings > Easy of Access > Other Options > Eye Control.
Currently only the US English language keyboard layout is supported, but Microsoft is planning to add more layouts in the future.
Windows 10 now detects new connected storage with content, and it’ll make the sources available when browsing files using Windows Store apps.
You no longer need to enable developer mode to install Linux distros on Linux.
Right-clicking a wireless network in the network flyout now includes options to Connect, Disconnect, View Properties, and Forget Network.
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, improves the DPI handling on High-DPI monitors and on multiple monitor setups. This only means that you’ll see less blurry elements on high-resolution displays using traditional desktop applications.
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is expected to launch on October 17, 2017, but remember that not every device will get it on day-one. Microsoft will begin the rollout with devices known to work with the update, and as the update gets mature, it’ll continue to roll out to other devices.
What do you think about the new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update features? Tell us in the comments below.
Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 16299.20. It should be noted that this guide focuses on features for consumers, as Microsoft is also adding other features aimed for enterprises, which aren’t included here (except for Windows Defender Application Guard).
Original published in June 2017, updated in October 2017.