For those still on older versions of Windows at school or with your personal laptop or desktop, I’ll say it: you are missing out! Windows 10 has been a revelation for me, providing a clean, attractive, and very functional operating system. Windows 10 has turned me from an 80% Mac/20% ChromeOS guy to a true multiple-platform guy, moving effortlessly from MacOS to Windows 10 to ChromeOS, depending on my needs supporting and training teachers and students.
If you are used to the old update cycle, moving from Windows XP to Vista, for example, or purchasing a new laptop to get the latest version of Windows, you might not be aware that Windows is now a service and not just a one-time purchase. Once you have Windows 10, you will receive regular, significant updates, so far, every six-to-twelve months, as long as your hardware can handle the upgrade. If I understand this correctly, it means that you will always have the latest version of Windows available to you, assuming your hardware can handle it. It is not unlike how Apple handles iPhone and iPad updates: you get the latest if your hardware is up to snuff.
Microsoft is currently rolling out the “Creator’s Update” (codename “Redstone 2”), the 4th major version of Windows 10. That’s right: you might not know this, but if you have a fully updated Windows 10 machine, Windows 10 is in its 4th version! If you are running Windows 10 in a school environment, your IT folks might have delayed updates, a best practice to make sure updates don’t disrupt the daily users of large numbers of machines.
I have been running an early release version of the Creator’s Update for the last few weeks. As far as updates go, this is a low-impact release. However, there are some great new features that you might find useful. Windows Central has put together a great walkthrough video of the Creator’s Update:
Not sold yet? Here are a few my favorite new features in the Creator’s Update:
Windows has updated Paint, the long-time core Windows graphic program. I have only some initial playing with the app on a traditional laptop and an older Surface Pro, but, from my exploration time, it seems like a functional and fun tool. In light of Microsoft’s move into augmented reality, it seems like there could be interesting toolsets to come. Tech Insider has a great hands-on demo of the software:
If you don’t game, this is probably a snoozer, but, Microsoft now can identify applications on your machine as a “game,” which then allows you to put the computer in “game mode,” shutting down applications and processes that might hamper performance.
However, in my early experiments, there is an alternative use for this feature. Since Windows doesn’t seem to know what is a game and what is not, I have set up other resources intensive applications like Adobe Illustrator as a “game” and then turned on game mode when I am elbow deep in a design project. On an older machine, Illustrator seemed snappier (although my perception could be incorrect).
With a new commitment from Microsoft to release an updated version of Windows every-so-often, I do notice that each new version has updated icons, reworked dialogue screens, and a fresh coat of paint. Though subtle, this attention to detail is a welcome change from Microsoft’s past update strategy. Microsoft supported Windows XP for nearly 14 years, but, Windows XP in 2001 didn’t look all that different than Window XP in 2012. Over time, I believe you’ll see Windows 10 evolving slowly and surely to respond to design trends and ultimately keep the user experience fresh and modern.
If you are on a personally-owned PC, you have likely received the invitation to update. Of course, you should wait to do any update until you have time to let the process happen uninterrupted. Best practices would also demand that you don’t start any major update just before a major deadline or time where your computer is mission critical to task completion. You know… stuff happens. 🙂
If you haven’t received the invitation, Microsoft offers an “Update Assistant” that starts the download and setup at your option. You get that here!