What’s new in Win­dows?

Need re­mind­ing what’s been added and im­proved in suc­ces­sive ver­sions of Win­dows 10? These are the fea­tures to look out for

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

When it first ap­peared, Win­dows 10 in­tro­duced lots of new fea­tures, from a re­vamped desk­top to Cor­tana, the vir­tual per­sonal as­sis­tant who’s al­ways on hand to help, pro­vided you’re pre­pared to give up some of your pri­vacy. In­ter­net Ex­plorer got dumped in favour of the all-singing (if not, ini­tially at least, all-danc­ing) Edge web browser. It also blended the best bits of Win­dows 8.1 – the vastly su­pe­rior File Ex­plorer for ac­cess­ing your files, for ex­am­ple – with the best bits of Win­dows 7, such as bring­ing back the Start menu.

Other changes have fol­lowed with each new suc­ces­sive fea­ture re­lease. The step-by-step guide on the fac­ing page high­lights six ma­jor new fea­tures, but nu­mer­ous smaller changes have been ap­plied with each re­lease too. For ex­am­ple, the An­niver­sary Edi­tion also in­tro­duced a new dark theme that – from the Fall Cre­ators Up­date – can now be ap­plied to com­pat­i­ble apps too.

‘Night light’ was a high­light of the Cre­ators Up­date, help­ing to re­duce eye­strain when us­ing your PC at night (switch­able via the Ac­tion Cen­tre). A new Game Mode was also in­tro­duced, which aims to pri­ori­tise sys­tem re­sources when you’re play­ing games so that the ex­pe­ri­ence is as smooth as pos­si­ble.The Cre­ators Up­date also made it easy to cap­ture a se­lected por­tion of your screen and copy it to the clip­board with a sin­gle key com­bi­na­tion – [Shift] + [Win] + [S].

The Fall Cre­ators Up­date in­tro­duced Mixed Re­al­ity – the abil­ity to mix ac­tual footage with 3D ob­jects – as well as a hand­ful of other mi­nor new fea­tures.

Refin­ing ex­ist­ing fea­tures

Big­ger changes can be de­tected when look­ing at fea­tures in­tro­duced with Win­dows 10. Cor­tana’s be­come smarter over time, but there are ques­tion marks over pri­vacy as she of­fers to in­te­grate her­self more closely into your daily life. The Start menu has con­tin­ued to evolve as well, with de­sign tweaks such as re­mov­ing the de­fault ‘most used’ view for apps in favour of an All Apps list un­der­neath re­cently added or up­dated pro­grams. Ad­ver­tise­ments have started to ap­pear here too, but we’ll show you how to re­move these later.

The Ac­tion Cen­tre has been rolled into the no­ti­fi­ca­tions pop-out that’s ac­ces­si­ble from the bot­tom-right cor­ner of the Taskbar. This has evolved to give you more con­trol over what’s shown along with handy fea­tures such as Quiet Hours, which en­ables you to dis­able no­ti­fi­ca­tions for a spe­cific pe­riod.

When Win­dows 10 was launched the Set­tings app con­tained only a lim­ited num­ber of sys­tem tweaks, while the Con­trol Panel still played a ma­jor role. With each ma­jor re­lease, Mi­crosoft has rolled more func­tion­al­ity into the Set­tings app, with the Con­trol Panel in­creas­ingly side­lined. Since the Cre­ators Up­date, it’s no longer ac­ces­si­ble from the ‘Quick ac­cess’ menu ([Win] + [X]) and its days are cer­tainly num­bered – for now, ac­cess the Con­trol Panel via the search bar or by press­ing [Win] + [R], typ­ing ‘con­trol’ and press­ing [En­ter].

The list of apps that are in­te­grated with Win­dows 10 has also changed over time – the Win­dows 10 Skype app was added to the An­niver­sary Edi­tion, while Paint 3D first ap­peared in the Cre­ators Up­date. The Paint app also got a ma­jor over­haul in the Fall Cre­ators Up­date.

Pre­vent eye­strain af­ter dark with the new ‘Night light’ fea­ture.

Win­dows 10’s Ac­tion Cen­tre has been re­fined nu­mer­ous times.

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