On October 17th, Microsoft will release the fourth free upgrade to Windows 10 — the Fall Creators Update. The news was announced at the IFA conference in Berlin on Friday.
The name is a seasonal play on the Creators Update, a similar expansion that came out in April. Like its predecessor, the Fall Creators Update brings few large changes to the 500 million Windows 10 PCs out there, but lots of smaller new improvements and updates.
Headlining the package is Windows Mixed Reality, a long-teased update that will add support for cheap virtual reality headsets from Microsoft’s biggest PC manufacturing partners. Conveniently, those headsets begin to arrive on store shelves on October 17th. Lenovo, Dell, Asus, Acer, and HP will all have headsets available, with prices starting at $US299.
Otherwise, the update will bring some other neat little changes, including:
- Game mode, a long-awaited feature which aims to provide a smoother gaming experience by diverting system resources to whatever game you have open. That means that apps running in the background like Skype or Spotify will have less of an impact on your gameplay.
- Windows Ink, Microsoft’s stylus writing technology, also gets an upgrade. Now, you can draw straight on PDF files, so you can sign a document with your Surface Pen. Microsoft is also planning a “Find My Pen” feature to help mitigate lost styluses, though it didn’t provide details.
- OneDrive cloud storage has a big change coming: With a new system called “files on-demand,” Windows 10 won’t distinguish between files stored in the cloud, and files stored on your local hard drive; you’ll be able to navigate everything through the normal file explorer. It’s a little wonky, but early testers love it, and it has the potential to greatly stretch your PC’s storage.
There are a few other updates coming with the Fall Creators Update, including an eye tracking mode for people with limited mobility in their hands, and a redesigned photos app. If history is any indication, Microsoft might even add a few things between now and then.
However, there are a few features mainly notable by their absence from this announcement. Back in May, Microsoft teased a trio of new features that would enhance how Windows 10 integrates with iPhone and Android.
Specifically, Microsoft had built a way to copy text and images from Windows 10 and then paste them on your iPhone or Android phone; a feature that lets you pull up your last used file, app, or website on your phone after you log off your PC, or vice versa; and a service called “Timeline” that kept tabs of what you were doing on every device at all times so you could “rewind” and pick up what you were doing at any time of day.
All three of those features are missing from the latest Windows update based on what Microsoft is currently showcasing. However, a blog post from Microsoft back in May, when the features were first announced, says that they will “begin” to roll out with the Fall Creators Update, meaning that at least some of this functionality could start bubbling up between now and October, when it’s released.
The updates will be available for download through the standard Windows update feature in October.
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