Almost one year to the day that Windows 10 first landed on July 29, 2015, its biggest update – Anniversary Edition – is now landing on PCs everywhere.
It brings with it a host of new features relating to Cortana, using a Bluetooth pen, Microsoft’s Edge browser and Windows Hello. Not everything is quite in place just yet – so don’t expect to be buying Xbox Play Anywhere games using your device’s fingerprint scanner just yet – but there’s still plenty of cool tricks that you can try.
If you’re rocking Windows 10, at some point you’ll be prompted to download the update – but don’t worry, as it might not happen straight away. If you find yourself in that boat, here’s how to download and install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
If you’ve already got it, go on ahead to check out 12 cool things that you can try today.
1. Search within documents
Cortana can now forage through your documents like an urban fox checking out the contents of your bins. Previously it was only possible to have the personal assistant search the titles of files stored in OneDrive, but it can now sniff out information stored within them. So long as they’re stored in Microsoft’s cloud, you can say, “Cortana, search my documents for [search phrase]”. If Cortana makes a match, it will then retrieve the document and show it in the search window.
2. Set a reminder from the lock screen
You might find that you occasionally lock your computer before remembering something that you need to do. Instead of making you log back in, detailed reminders can now be set on the lock screen by saying the usual, “Hey Cortana” line.
3. Activate Dark Mode
Microsoft has seen the light by bringing Dark Mode to Windows 10, and you’ll love it if you’re the sort that stays up until 3am huddled in front of your screen in the dead of night. Dark Mode changes UWP apps like Mail, Calendar and Store to a primarily black color scheme, which is easier on the eyes and can even help save battery life, according to Microsoft. It also looks great on high-resolution displays.
ALSO READ : How to find saved WiFi passwords in Windows 10
4. Automatically delete your browsing history
Yeah – you there reading this – I know why you might be interested in this one. Microsoft doesn’t want anybody to find out about your secret love of Tom Jones, so it’s baked in an option to delete your browsing history every time you close down Edge. You could actually do that before the Windows 10 update, but you’re now given more choice with what to erase. You now can choose to erase your browsing history upon shutdown, along with cookies, cached data, download history and passwords. Because it’s not unusual to want a little privacy.
5. Quickly access recent doodling apps
Microsoft has introduced Windows Ink in the new update, a side-loaded menu that makes doodling on your display quicker and easier. Simply give your Surface Pen’s top button a click to pull it up. There you’ll find the five most recent pen-compatible apps that you’ve previously used.
6. Draw on screenshots
One of Windows Ink’s new features is Screen sketch, which lets you doodle on a screenshot. Simply give your Surface Pen’s button a click and select ‘Screen sketch’ to take a snapshot of your screen’s contents. You’re given a handful of different pens to play with – from pencils to those chunky highlighters that never used to fit in your pencil case.
7. Check out Edge extensions
Edge has finally caught up with just about every other browser out there by introducing extensions. There’s the usual suspects – including AdBlock and Save to Pocket – in addition other useful entries such as OneNote Web Clipper and the Reddit Enhancement Suite.
8. Draw straight lines
I just couldn’t rule out including this one. (Sorry.) It’s a well known fact that wonky lines anger artists more anything, which is probably why Microsoft has included a ruler feature in its Sketchpad app. Your sketches of quaint backwater villages are going to look more life-like than ever.
9. Pin a zillion tabs
Edge is actually looking quite funky in the latest Windows 10 update. One of its simpler yet neat features is to pin website tabs to save space. Sure, Chrome and other browsers can do it too, but in Edge it just looks squarer and strangely pretty.
10. Play music through Cortana
Cortana now lets you play music on the lock screen before you’ve signed in by speaking commands, which is undoubtedly cool. However, you’ll need a Groove Music subscription for it to work, which is not cool.
11. Get Sticky
Stickies are great in Windows 10’s Anniversary Edition. They look just like the real deal, allowing you to position, resize and make them different colors. They’ve actually quite smart too, capable of automatically turning scribbles into reminders or links. They even retrieve information about flights if you write down the flight number.
12. Pin app windows to desktops
Task View felt half-baked until this new feature came along. Like on macOS, you can now ‘pin’ app windows to various virtual desktops in Task View, which makes your desktop feel much bigger than it actually is. Simply right-click the window in question and select ‘Move to [desktop name]’.
These are of course only a few of the cool little things introduced with this update and not all of them. Because what’s the adventure if you are told everything by someone else? If you know any more cool stuff to try on the Anniversary Update of Windows 10, don’t be shy. Let us know in the comments.