Windows 10 – One Year Later!

Windows 10 – One Year Later

Whether or not you like the newest operating system by Microsoft, Windows 10 was rolled out in 2015 with the intent to have one billion installations by the end of summer 2018.  According to Microsoft, some 350 million devices are now running Windows 10 but it does not appear that the one billion devices target will happen (mostly due to the lackluster sales in Windows smartphones).  So, now that the one-year anniversary has come and gone and the free updates are no longer available, what can we expect from Microsoft?

Starting on August 2nd, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update began rolling out and people will see not only new features and fixes, but some changes that are not going to be too well received.  Below is a brief description of some the more evident updates.

Installation Roll-Back to a Previous Version

The original Windows 10 deadline was thirty (30) days to roll back the upgrade to a previous version of Windows.  With the Anniversary Update, that time frame has been reduce to ten (10) days.  Microsoft’s reasoning is twofold.  First, their data shows that roll-backs from Windows 10 to a previous version occurred within a couple of days of the Windows 10 upgrade.  Second, since the free upgrade period is now over and you will have to shell out $120 or more to upgrade, you are less likely to roll it back.

Edge Browser

Those users who prefer to surf the web using Firefox or Chrome are already used to browser extension.  There are little apps that can be downloaded and installed to add functionality to a browser.  Edge originally did not support extensions, but the Anniversary update will change that.  Extension for AdBlock, Evernote, LastPass, Translator, Reddit Enhancement Suite and others will all be available.  In addition, there will be an extension that allows users to create, edit and view Office files from within Edge without the need to install the Office Suite.

Start Menu

Windows 10 brought back the Start button that was missing from the home page of Windows 8/8.1, but still present on Windows 7.  However, the Windows 10 Start Menu added the Windows 8/8.1 tiles and hid all of your installed applications under the menu item titled “All apps.”  The Anniversary Update will change the Menu… again.

Microsoft has decided to return to the permanently displayed list of installed applications (just like the Windows XP and Windows 7).  They also decided retained the “Most Used” applications links which are listed at the top of the Start Menu.  So, what has happed to the Settings, Power and File Explorer choices of the old Windows 10 Start Menu?  They have been crunched down and relegated to the left margin of the Start Menu as icons.

In addition, not only are the tiles retained, but you will now see more “advertising tiles.”  The original Windows 10 installation was limited to five (5) tiles advertising items within the Microsoft Store.  That number has been doubled to ten (10) tiles.  Windows 10 Pro users no longer have the ability to block ads using the Group Policy settings (a feature not available to Windows 10 Home users).  Only users of Windows 10 Enterprise, Pro Education or Education versions can still use Group Policy setting to block ads.

Task Bar

Small changes have been made to the Task Bar.  For example, when you click the clock you will now also see a list of upcoming calendar items.  When you click the volume control icon, you can now select which audio output device to use.  For those of you with a Windows 10 Tablet, you are now able to hide the task bar, a previously unavailable feature.

Cortana

Microsoft’s competition to Apple’s Siri has been welcomed with mixed reviews.  Regardless of which side you take, it is here to stay and Microsoft proves that by now allowing access to Cortana from the Windows 10 lock screen.  You can now take notes, schedule calendar events, play music all without having to unlock your PC.  For those who are security conscious, you can disable this Anniversary Update feature.

In addition, the voice commands that Cortana can understand have been simplified.  You are now able to say more vague commands like “Send the last spreadsheet that I worked on yesterday” and Cortana will know to which file you are referring.

However, for those of you who do not like Cortana, Microsoft has made it more difficult to turn off.  It will require the use of special administrative tools or an edit to the registry (not recommended for those unfamiliar with the registry and one should always backup of the registry before any editing).  There are still settings that can be toggled on or off to reduce the amount of information Cortana collects.

Summary

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update changes mentioned above are only a handful of the changes included, but should be relevant to most users of a Microsoft Windows device.  There are plenty of positive changes and sadly there are quite a few negative changes, but for the most part the update has been well received.  If you have any questions about your Windows 10 system or Windows migration plans, feel free to contact Reedy Creek Enterprise Solutions, LLC to open a conversation.

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