Windows 10 Fall Creators Update hidden features
Hidden gems

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: The 12 best hidden features

Here is the list for the best (and most useful) hidden features included in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is now rolling out to compatible devices, and even though it won’t redefine the way we use our devices, it’ll deliver a slew of new improvements and features. However, sometimes, the best additions are those hidden features and small enhancements that make the real difference.

In this new release, which is a continuation of the Creators Update, you’ll start to see Windows 10 incorporating its new Fluent Design System that aims to improve the user experience and makes the OS and app much prettier. The Settings app continues to improve with new tweaks. OneDrive placeholders are coming back as Files On-Demand to minimize local storage usage. The new My People feature will make easier to connect with those closest to your circle. You’ll be able to create new video collages using Story Remix, and a lot more. 

Along with the long list of big enhancements, version 1709 also delivers a number of hidden features that you probably have yet to discover.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about the best hidden features included with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

1. Lock screen password reset

In the past, if you needed to reset your Windows 10 password using a Microsoft account, it required to use your phone or another device to make the reset online.

Starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 includes Cloud Self Service Password Reset (Cloud SSPR), which simply means that you’ll now see an option in the Lock screen to reset your password or PIN.

Lock screen "I forgot my password" link
Lock screen “I forgot my password” link

If you ever forget your password, you can now click the I forgot my password link in the Lock screen, which opens a new experience with Cortana’s assistant to quickly recover your password. Once you completed the reset, you’ll be back in the sign-in screen to get into your account.

Recover your password experience
Recover your password experience

2. Windows Update bandwidth optimization

Windows 10 dynamically optimizes the bandwidth to download and upload updates, but in the next version, you’re also getting the ability to control the speeds your device dedicates for system and apps updates.

On Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Delivery Optimization. You’ll now find two links, including Advanced Options and Activity Monitor.

Delivery Optimization adjusts the bandwidth automatically for updates to prevent interruptions while you use your device, but this feature may not be aware of downloads or uploads activities on other devices in household. If you have a slow connection (or data cap) and you want to minimize the impact, you can now use the Download settings to throttle your download speed for background downloads.

Delivery Optimization Advanced options
Delivery Optimization Advanced options

If you enable the option to download updates from other devices in the internet, you can also restrict the use of your upload bandwidth by throttling the upload speed. Additionally, you can even set the total amount data to send to other devices using the Monthly upload limit option.

In the Activity Monitor page, you can see the overall bandwidth usage for download of updates, and exactly the amount of data coming from other devices on your local network or other PC on the Internet based on your settings.

Deliver Optimization Activity monitor
Deliver Optimization Activity monitor

3. Windows Defender Antivirus Controlled folder access

Windows Defender Antivirus introduces “Controlled folder access” to make it easier to protect your data from malicious programs and threats like ransomware.

Controlled folder access is a new feature that monitors the changes that apps make to your files. If an app tries to modify the files inside a protected folder, and the app is blacklisted, you’ll get notified about the suspicious activity.

This is a hidden feature that is disabled by default, but you can enable it on Windows Defender Security Center > Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection settings.

Controlled folder access settings
Controlled folder access settings

You can learn more details about the feature in this Windows Defender Antivirus Controlled folder access guide.

4. Microsoft Edge reset

If Microsoft Edge stops working, or you experience a very slow performance browsing the internet, you can quickly repair the browser.

On Settings > Apps > Apps & features, starting with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you’ll find Microsoft Edge in the list of installed apps. While you can’t uninstall the browser, you go to the advanced options where you’ll find two options, including one to repair without affecting your data, or a reset option that will delete all your browser data and then reset the application.

Microsoft Edge reset and repair options
Microsoft Edge reset and repair options

5. Emoji native support

Emojis in this new version are a big deal, and you can now use them natively on Windows 10.

After installing the Fall Creators Update, you can use emojis on messages using your hardware keyboard using the Windows key + “.” or Windows key + “;” keyboard shortcuts.

Emoji panel
Emoji panel

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.

6. One-handed touch keyboard

Windows 10 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.

You can use the new one-handed keyboard by clicking the settings button on the top-left corner of the touch keyboard and selecting the smaller keyboard icon from the context menu.

One-handed touch keyboard experience
One-handed touch keyboard experience

In addition, this new experience includes Microsoft’s shape writing to use swipe over the keys to input text faster.

7. Pen tracker

While digital pens don’t include GPS, Windows 10 can now tell where you used it last with your computer, which can be useful information to pinpoint its location whenever you lose your pen.

This new feature is available on Settings > Update & Security > Find My Device.

Find My Pen
Find My Pen

The page doesn’t include an option to configure this feature, you only need turn on the “Find my device” feature.

8. Color filters

Another useful hidden feature with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is color filters.

Starting with version 1709, Windows 10 includes color filters to make it easier for users with color blindness to see the difference between colors like green and red. Additionally, these new filters will make easier for people with light sensitivity to create and consume content.

The new feature can be found in Settings > Ease of Access > Color and High Contrast. You only need to turn on the Apply color filter toggle switch, and choose a filter from the drop-down menu.

Color filter settings on Windows 10
Color filter settings on Windows 10

Color filters available include, grayscale, invert, grayscale inverted, deuteranopia, protanopia, and tritanopia.

9. Windows Sonic Spatial sound

While the Windows Sonic Spatial sound was originally introduced with the Windows 10 Creators Update. In version 1709, it’s easier to enable. Simply connect a pair of headphones, right-click the sound icon in the notification area, and select Spatial sound to choose your preferred format.

Windows Sonic Spatial sound settings
Windows Sonic Spatial sound settings

Additionally, you can also set up your 5.1, 7.1, or Dolby Atmos for home theaters.

10. Reset data usage stats

Windows 10 can track network data usage over a month period that passes through your Wi-Fi and Ethernet adapters. However, users with a limited internet connection has now direct settings to reset the counters.

In this new version, you can now easily reset data usage for your Ethernet and Wi-Fi network adapter in the case your monthly quota starts at a different date.

You can find the new option hidden on Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage, and on View usage details, you’ll now see a Reset data usage button.

Reset usage data on Windows 10
Reset usage data on Windows 10

11. Volume Control for Windows Store apps

Windows 10 updates the Volume Mixer now includes volume controls for Windows Store apps, such as Groove Music and Microsoft Edge. This new feature allows you to control volume without impacting the system volume.

Windows Store apps volume control on Volume Mixer
Windows Store apps volume control on Volume Mixer

12. Downloads folder automatic cleanup

The Creators Update introduced Storage sense, a new feature that allows Windows 10 to delete temporary files and those files that have been in the recycle bin for over 30 days to free up space automatically.

In the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 now adds a new option to automatically delete files in the Downloads folders that haven’t changed in 30 days.

Storage sense settings
Storage sense settings

And… Those are our twelve best hidden features on the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Which one do you like the most? Tell us in the comments.

Originally published on July 2017, updated on October 2017.