Windows 10 had several features aimed at power users like virtual desktops and updated features when working with a command prompt. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update gives power users even more reasons to smile.
The New Edge Browser
When released with Windows 10, the Edge browser was woefully inadequate. I don’t know anyone in the tech community who has been using it. Well, it took a year, but Edge has finally come of age. Support for extensions which was totally lacking last year, has finally been added. Although the list of extensions is currently limited, I expect that it will grow quite quickly. On launch, this Anniversary edition had support for 13 extensions including AdBlock Plus, LastPass, Evernote, Amazon Assistant, Pocket and Office. You can install them by clicking the ellipsis menu at Edge’s upper-right corner and choosing Extensions which will take you to the App Store where you can make your choice and install them. Edge will also now be able to sync your bookmarks between multiples devices as long as your Microsoft account is set to sync information.
This new Edge browser is based on EdgeHTML 14 which is Microsoft’s third update to the Microsoft Edge web platform. It contains several good performance advances. Nonessential Flash objects now pause upon loading increasing both performance and battery life. Support for HTML 5 is also front and center.
In the past Microsoft has always tied the operating system to the hardware inside the device. All of that changes with this anniversary update. Windows 10 which now allows you to tie your operating system license to your Microsoft account. The tool you use to do this is called “Activation Troubleshooter.” Using this tool you should be able to reactivate your license much more easily. Details can be found at the Microsoft website.
Microsoft has partnered with Canonical, the organization behind Ubuntu Linux, to bring Linux’s Bash shell to Windows 10. Although I haven’t tried it yet, I understand that it is even powerful enough to run Ubuntu’s full-blown Unity desktop in Windows 10. Don’t expect that you will be able to do everything in the Windows 10 Bash shell, but just being able to run it is pretty spectacular.
The Cortana App
If you have an Android phone you will not be able to install an app for Microsoft’s Cortana. This will give you the ability to get your phone’s notifications and text message alerts on your Windows 10 PC. You will even be able to respond to text messages that were sent to your phone right from your PC.
Windows Action Center
While you can still swipe from the right side of the screen to get to the Windows Action Center now you can also see it as a badge showing the number of notifications in the bottom right corner of the screen. With phone notifications it has become more useful. You can also now set priority levels for individual apps and other customizations. At the bottom of the Action Center there are several useful icons showing the status of many settings and allowing them to toggled on and off.
New Date/Time Calendar
While you are at the bottom of the screen for the Action Center, be sure to click on the time and date. In previous versions, this brought up a calendar. The calendar is still there but now you will also see your appointments for the day and be able to add appointments without opening your calendar.
This is a set of biometric security features in Windows 10. This has been expanded to allow you to use fingerprint or facial recognition not only to log onto the computer, but also in the Edge browser and other apps like Dropbox. The number of apps using this is sure to expand quickly.
Microsoft has expanded the use of the stylus by allowing much more flexibility in using inking apps and creating reminders for Cortana. There is even a “digital ruler” and the ability to draw on Maps.
When you look at a monitor all day, the backlighting can get pretty hard on the eyes. If this happens to you, you will love the Windows 10 Anniversary Update new dark theme. Find it at Settings, Personalization, Colors.
Xbox Play Anywhere
When you need a break from your work, you won’t have to get up from your chair. The Xbox Play Anywhere feature will now allow you purchase a game once and play it on either your Windows 10 computer or your Xbox One console. There is also an Anniversary Update for the Xbox itself bringing a wealth of new features.
Change audio source
Windows 10 Anniversary edition has many small tweaks that are very useful. With previous versions of Windows when I wanted to work with headphones to record a podcast or radio show I had to switch back and forth between audio sources in the Control Panel. With this new version I can simply click the volume icon on the taskbar and select the playback device from those listed.
Like this simple way to change the audio source, it’s the little things that make the Anniversary Edition so powerful. There is everything from new emoji to coupons that pop up when you use Cortana for shopping. Home users will find some welcome improvements, but power users may find even more to like.