Review: Windows 10 Anniversary Update

It’s been one year since Windows 10 came out. It hasn’t hit the billion devices in the first year that Microsoft said it would (Microsoft’s own numbers say that Windows 10 is on roughly 300 million devices). Not to mention that Microsoft force fed this OS down the throats of users. In short, it’s been a bit of a mess for Microsoft. This Microsoft is hoping that the so called Anniversary Update will help to change things.

Now if you want to get it, you have two choices. You can either wait for it to show up on your computer if you have auto update turned on, or you can follow these instructions from the Windows Blog to get it onto your computer. Installation is largely automatic and took about 60 minutes when I did it.

So, what do you get after you update? Here’s a list of key improvements:

  • Microsoft Edge: It was a browser that was a #fail because it made you want to use something else. Now it might be useful. Microsoft says the battery drain on Edge is now “70 per cent less”. I could not prove that. But I did note that Microsoft Edge now supports browser extensions. There’s actually some useful ones kicking around on the Windows Store. There’s only 13 of them at the moment, but that’s 13 more than this time last year. And they include plug ins such as Amazon, Evenote, and AdBlock Plus.
  • Windows Hello: Microsoft has doubled down on biometric security using your face of fingerprints. Not my thing, but I am sure it appeals to some out there.
  • Windows Update Is Under Your Control: Finally, you can finally stop Windows Update doing updates whenever it likes, or simply having to tell it to do whatever it wants to do later. #win
  • Windows Ink Workspace Is All New: If you have a Surface tablet or a convertible laptop, you’ll see Windows Ink Workspace. This takes the existing pen support in the OS and kicks it up several notches with the tools that Microsoft thinks you need to have a great experience using a pen on a Windows tablet. I don’t think these changes go far enough, but users of Windows Ink Workspace may disagree.
  • Cortana: This is a #fail as you now cannot turn it off. What’s worse, it’s part of your search experience whether you want it to be or not.
  • The Start Menu Has Changed: And I do not see why they bothered. It is a bit more busy as it now includes Live Tiles, Programs, and commonly used functions like Settings and File Manager. Some people might be put off by the change. I am seeing lots of consulting calls in my future because of this. It also occupies way too much space.
  • A New Skype Preview Is Included: And it includes bots that are fun for five minutes, and then are not all that fun. This is another area where Microsoft shouldn’t have bothered.
  • You can assign messages with levels of importance, and get Cortana-driven device notifications from Android or iOS, which is quite useful.

Overall, there’s no reason not to download the Anniversary Update. But there’s no overwhelming reason to do so. But you’ll do it anyway, or more accurately, Microsoft will shove it down your throat given their track record. Don’t get me wrong, that are some incremental improvements here. But it’s not a must download by any means.

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One Response to “Review: Windows 10 Anniversary Update”

  1. Windows Update being user-controllable is a BIG plus for me. That was one of the biggest sticking points I had with Windows 10. I would now finally feel comfortable installing it on my next PC build, but still don’t see a need to switch from Windows 7 on my laptop.

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