What’s new… The Cre­ators Up­date

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 | CREATORS UPDATE -

Get the Cre­ators Up­date

The Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date is a free down­load for every Win­dows 10 user. The good news is that this means at some point in the fu­ture, your PC will let you know that the up­date is ready to be down­loaded and in­stalled. All you need to do is make sure your work (or any game progress) is saved, then let Win­dows Up­date do its thing.

How­ever, to stop mil­lions of Win­dows 10 users all try­ing to down­load the rather hefty up­date all at once, and po­ten­tially break­ing part of the In­ter­net, Mi­crosoft is rolling out the up­date to PCs around the world in waves, and it’s been coy about how long this roll­out process will take.

So, you might get the Cre­ators Up­date in the next few days, or you may have to wait weeks – or even months – be­fore it ap­pears in Win­dows Up­date.

How­ever, like the Good News Fairy that we are (think the Tooth Fairy, but with a beer belly and faded Half Life 2 T-shirt), we have more glad tid­ings: There’s a way to man­u­ally up­date to the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date your­self, so you don’t have to wait for Mi­crosoft’s roll­out.

To man­u­ally down­load the Cre­ators Up­date, head to the Win­dows 10 Up­date As­sis­tant web page (www.mi­crosoft.com/ en-us/soft­ware-down­load/win­dows10), then click ‘Up­date now.’

The tool down­loads, then checks for the lat­est ver­sion of Win­dows 10, which in­cludes the Cre­ators Up­date.

Once down­loaded, run it, then select Up­date Now. The tool does the rest for you. Your PC restarts a few times – so make sure you save your work first – and then your PC is up­dated with the Cre­ators Up­date, while all your files and set­tings re­main where they were.

The Win­dows 10 down­load site also en­ables you to get an ISO im­age, which you can then use to up­date your cur­rent in­stal­la­tion of Win­dows 10, or per­form a clean in­stall with the Cre­ators Up­date.

What’s new?

With the Cre­ators Up­date in­stalled, what new fea­tures await you? Well, one of the most ex­cit­ing ad­di­tions is a new pro­gram called Paint 3D. We know what you’re think­ing: Who cares about a new ver­sion of Mi­crosoft Paint? And who still cares about 3D? We were as sur­prised as you are – af­ter meet­ing Mi­crosoft to see Cre­ators Up­date be­fore it launched – to come away so im­pressed by this new app.

Paint 3D, like its 2D coun­ter­part (which re­mains its own separate pro­gram), grants sim­ple tools for peo­ple to cre­ate their own art­work. What’s par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive about Paint 3D is that the con­cept of cre­at­ing mod­els in a 3D space can be quite com­pli­cated, but Paint 3D makes the process in­cred­i­bly sim­ple, thanks to built-in tools that ap­pear very straight­for­ward at first, but are ac­tu­ally

pow­er­ful enough to cre­ate some im­pres­sive 3D art­works once you’re com­fort­able us­ing them.

These cre­ations can be ex­ported and viewed on nor­mal PCs, or added to Vir­tual Re­al­ity (VR) and Aug­mented Re­al­ity (AR) applications to be viewed in 3D. Plus, if you have a 3D printer hooked up to your PC, it’s in­cred­i­bly easy to print off your cre­ations. It’s dif­fi­cult to ex­plain in writ­ing, but trust us: Load up Paint 3D and have a play around – it may just be your new fa­vorite ap­pli­ca­tion.

Mi­crosoft’s re­newed love of 3D ex­tends be­yond Paint 3D to Pow­erPoint (for 3D mod­els and 3D animations, to make pre­sen­ta­tions slightly less dull), and the de­fault Edge web browser, which now sup­ports 3D con­tent, and plays nicely with 3D files ex­ported from var­i­ous pro­grams, such as Minecraft, SketchUp, and, of course, Paint 3D.

While 3D dis­plays are now out of vogue, mixed re­al­ity – just like vir­tual re­al­ity and aug­mented re­al­ity – is the hot new thing, and it is these tech­nolo­gies that have rekin­dled Mi­crosoft’s 3D pas­sion. Un­der the name Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity (for­merly Win­dows Holo­graphic), this is a mixed re­al­ity plat­form built by Mi­crosoft on the Win­dows 10 API, and it is heav­ily in­te­grated into the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date.

Win­dows Mixed Re­al­ity means you can cre­ate your own 3D model (or sim­ply down­load an ex­ist­ing one), and then eas­ily place it into a real or vir­tual world us­ing a VR or AR head­set. While Mi­crosoft’s own AR head­set, HoloLens, is a pricey propo­si­tion, Mi­crosoft also an­nounced last year that it is work­ing with a num­ber of head­set man­u­fac­tur­ers to bring third-party AR and VR head­sets to Win­dows 10 ma­chines. A new app, the Mixed Re­al­ity Por­tal, is in­cluded with the Cre­ators Up­date to show you ex­actly what Win­dows 10 is ca­pa­ble of.

A fo­cus on Games

Mi­crosoft promis­ing that it still cares about PC gam­ing, while chas­ing the shiny Xbox bauble, is some­thing that a lot of us have heard many times be­fore. At least with the Cre­ators Up­date, it seems like Mi­crosoft may be mak­ing some pos­i­tive moves.

In the Win­dows 10 Set­tings app, there is a new ad­di­tion: Gam­ing. This set­ting en­ables you to con­trol many as­pects of how Win­dows 10 han­dles games. Its most talked-about fea­ture is the new Game Mode op­tion, which helps your PC main­tain solid frame rates as you play, while other back­ground tasks and applications run. We go into more de­tail in the box on the right, but you can turn the fea­ture on and off from the Gam­ing set­tings page.

The Game DVR set­tings page en­ables you to con­trol how you take screen­shots and record game­play videos. While there’s a num­ber of pro­grams that en­able you to record and share videos, such as Nvidia’s Shad­owPlay, Mi­crosoft hopes that by bak­ing this func­tion­al­ity into Win­dows 10, you’ll be more likely to use its of­fer­ing, es­pe­cially since it’s so easy to con­fig­ure and be­gin record­ing. Mi­crosoft also ar­gues that by us­ing Win­dows 10 to record your game­play, rather than third-party soft­ware, your PC will have more re­sources at its dis­posal, which in turn should give you more con­sis­tent and sta­ble frame rates when you play games while record­ing.

Among the new Game DVR set­tings is the abil­ity to turn au­dio record­ing on (and off), if you want to pro­vide nar­ra­tion, and you can choose the frame rates and video qual­ity from here as well. You can also set Win­dows 10’s Broad­cast set­tings from this win­dow. In the Cre­ators Up­date, Mi­crosoft is look­ing to se­ri­ously up the reach of, and com­mu­nity around, games played on Win­dows 10 with a new fea­ture

called Beam. An ac­qui­si­tion re­cently made by Mi­crosoft, Beam is a PC game stream­ing and broad­cast­ing plat­form. It’s sim­i­lar to Twitch – com­plete with its own stream­ing net­work via web browser – and has been con­verted into a baked-in Game Bar fea­ture, which can be brought up by press­ing [Win] + [G] on your key­board.

Beam’s ma­jor claim to fame here, though, is that it main­tains sub-sec­ond latency from the broad­caster’s ex­e­cu­tions in-game to those mo­ments be­ing dis­played on your com­puter screen via stream. In other words, for broad­cast­ers, this re­duc­tion in the time be­tween what you’re do­ing in-game and your view­ers see­ing it makes in­ter­act­ing that much more in­ter­est­ing.

Broad­cast­ing us­ing Beam is made in­cred­i­bly sim­ple in the Cre­ators Up­date – all you need to do is open up the Game Bar, click the Broad­cast icon, then just a few clicks and tog­gles af­ter that, and you’re broad­cast­ing to Beam view­ers world­wide. That’s af­ter cre­at­ing a Beam ac­count, as well as an Xbox Live ac­count, if you haven’t al­ready. Once again, this is a sign that, as good as the new fea­tures ush­ered in by the Cre­ators Up­date are, many of them re­quire you to be fully signed up to Mi­crosoft’s ecosys­tem. If you’re not too keen on Mi­crosoft’s re­cent di­rec­tion, you may not be a huge fan of this. It is, af­ter all, also dou­bling down on the Win­dows Store and UWP (Uni­ver­sal Win­dows Plat­form) apps for games.

Other fea­tures

There’s a load of other fea­tures in­cluded in the Cre­ators Up­date and – while they aren’t as head­line-grab­bing as Game Mode and mixed re­al­ity sup­port – their ad­di­tion def­i­nitely makes Win­dows 10 a bet­ter op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

Take Night Light, for ex­am­ple. It’s Mi­crosoft’s an­swer to Night Shift on Ap­ple’s macOS Sierra, and it is an ef­fec­tive and wel­come fea­ture for peo­ple who tend to use com­put­ers at all hours of the night. It low­ers the amount of blue light

your PC emits though its dis­play, which can play havoc with your in­ter­nal clock.

What’s even bet­ter than the com­pet­ing so­lu­tions is how Night Light en­ables you to ad­just the tone of the colour change, in ad­di­tion to the stan­dard set­ting of whether the mode kicks in at sun­set lo­cal time, or ac­ti­vates within set hours.

Mi­crosoft has also thrown a lot of new fea­tures at its Edge browser in a bid to make us ditch Chrome and Fire­fox. As well as the afore­men­tioned sup­port for 3D me­dia, it also in­cludes a gen­uinely use­ful tab pre­view bar that gives you a vis­ual over­view of all your cur­rently open tabs, so you can quickly and eas­ily switch be­tween the ones you need. This is a great ad­di­tion for those of us who usu­ally end a brows­ing ses­sion on the In­ter­net with an un­wieldy num­ber of tabs open.

You can also ‘set tabs aside’, which is Mi­crosoft speak for sav­ing open tabs as a col­lec­tion, which you can then open and re­store at any time.

Edge has of­ten felt a lit­tle ne­glected when it comes to add-ons and ex­ten­sions, with pop­u­lar ones on Fire­fox and Chrome of­ten skip­ping Mi­crosoft’s lat­est browser. The com­pany is look­ing to fix that with the Cre­ators Up­date, by bring­ing a large num­ber of pop­u­lar add-ons and ex­ten­sions to Edge.

Mi­crosoft has also worked hard on mak­ing Edge as light­weight as pos­si­ble, which means that if you’re brows­ing the web on a lap­top or tablet, Edge should be less tax­ing on your de­vice’s bat­tery, which should mean you’ll have more surf­ing time be­fore your ma­chine dies.

To prove its point, Mi­crosoft has re­leased a bat­tery test video com­par­i­son, show­ing the stay­ing power of the three most pop­u­lar browsers side-by-side, pit­ting its own Edge of­fer­ing against Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Fire­fox. The test was a sim­ple one: which browser could last the long­est while stream­ing a full-screen video from Vimeo. Given that Mi­crosoft is keen for you to see the re­sults, there are no prizes for guess­ing which web browser came out on top – yep, Mi­crosoft Edge.

Edge didn’t just, well, edge the test ei­ther. In­stead, it dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings, last­ing a full 35 per­cent longer than Google Chrome, and a mas­sive 77 per­cent longer than Fire­fox.

While Fire­fox lasted just seven hours and four min­utes be­fore conk­ing out, Chrome man­aged a full nine hours and 17 min­utes of stream­ing.

Mi­crosoft’s Edge browser – which has been spe­cially tuned for the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date – just kept on chug­ging, even­tu­ally clock­ing up a stag­ger­ing 12 hours and 31 min­utes of stream­ing time be­fore fi­nally call­ing it a day.

In terms of fair­ness, the three browsers were each made to run on iden­ti­cal Sur­face Book 2-in-1 lap­tops, each pow­ered by a 2.4GHz In­tel Core i5-6300U pro­ces­sor, with 8GB of RAM, and In­tel HD Graph­ics 520 in­te­grated graph­ics.

En­sur­ing fur­ther par­ity, each de­vice was muted, had bright­ness set to 75 per­cent, Blue­tooth and lo­ca­tion dis­abled, and the Quiet Hours func­tion­al­ity switched on.

To be hon­est, it’s not quite enough for us to make the leap from our trusted browsers to Edge just yet, but it looks like it is def­i­nitely go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

Pri­vacy set­tings

As good as Win­dows 10 is, there were con­cerns around the de­fault pri­vacy set­tings it orig­i­nally shipped with, with many peo­ple wor­ried about the kind of data – and con­trol – to which Mi­crosoft has ac­cess. For­tu­nately, the com­pany has been aware of these crit­i­cisms, and it has re­sponded by try­ing to make it more ob­vi­ous what kind of data it col­lects in the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date – as well as mak­ing it eas­ier for you to change any pri­vacy set­ting that you don’t like.

When you up­date your in­stall of Win­dows 10 to the Cre­ators Up­date, you’ll see a screen ask­ing you to choose the pri­vacy set­tings for your de­vice. The op­tions are for Lo­ca­tion, Di­ag­nos­tics, Rel­e­vant Ads, Speech Recog­ni­tion, and ‘Tai­lored Ex­pe­ri­ences with Di­ag­nos­tic Data’. Each op­tion has a ‘Learn more’ but­ton that you should click to get a full ex­pla­na­tion about what it af­fects.

In our opin­ion, this is a very pos­i­tive step for Mi­crosoft to have taken, and while we’d pre­fer it if most of those set­tings were switched off by de­fault, we’re happy to see that Mi­crosoft has ex­plained each set­ting thor­oughly, en­abling you to take a greater con­trol over your pri­vacy when you’re us­ing the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date.

skype This all-new ver­sion makes it eas­ier than ever to make free video calls to friends and fam­ily. Now has SMS mes­sag­ing too. mi­crosoft edge Given an over­haul in the Cre­ators Up­date, with tab pre­views that let you grab a sneak peek at any web page you al­ready have open be­fore you switch to its tab. MAPS The up­dated Maps app now of­fers di­rec­tions for trips with mul­ti­ple stops and a new slicker, smarter look. mixed re­al­ity por­tal This op­tion makes it easy to test aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) and vir­tual re­al­ity (VR) graph­ics with­out a con­nected de­vice, such as a HoloLens. Aimed at soft­ware de­vel­op­ers.

Use the Win­dows 10 Up­date As­sis­tant to man­u­ally down­load and in­stall the up­date.

Win­dows 10’s web browser, Edge, has been given an over­haul, and us­ing tabs is now bet­ter than ever.

A new Gam­ing sec­tion has been added to the Win­dows Set­tings app.

Ac­cord­ing to Mi­crosoft’s own test­ing, Edge is the least bat­tery-in­ten­sive browser.

The Cre­ators Up­date brings more com­pat­i­bil­ity with ‘mixed re­al­ity’ de­vices.

You can also use your de­vice as an e-reader, with built-in sup­port for ebooks.

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