Windows fans, mark your calendars. The next major update to Windows 10 will be available to download on October 17, 2017 a little later than expected.
The Fall Creators Update, first teased that Microsoft Build in May will include a number of intriguing new features. It includes support for mixed reality devices, improved defense against ransomware and other exploits and a “Find my pen” feature for anyone who regularly misplaces their stylus.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president for the Windows and Devices Group, announced the release date during a keynote speech on Friday at IFA, a consumer electronics show in Germany.
This is the fourth major update for the Windows 10 operating system. Earlier this year, Microsoft said its releases would happen on a “predictable” schedule, coming out every March and September.
The first big change is a new look for the notification center (Action Center), which has been redesigned with separate sections for apps. It certainly looks a lot better, and groups notifications together in a more coherent way from devices, apps, and elsewhere.
You’ll now be able to pin your favorite websites to the taskbar in this latest Windows 10 update. Of course, once they’re pinned they’ll open in Microsoft’s Edge browser, but the pinned sites feature is returning after feedback from Windows 10 users. Microsoft is also improving the animations for new tabs in Edge, making things a little faster. Cortana will also see some changes, with the ability for the digital assistant to prompt for reminders by scanning images (with your permission) for things like events. If you’ve taken a photo of a poster, Cortana can then create that reminder. Cortana also has a new lasso feature that lets stylus users circle content to create reminders for things like movies
Microsoft really wants mixed reality headsets to take off over the holidays. In addition to adding support for mixed reality (Microsoft’s preferred term for all augmented and virtual reality headset technology), Microsoft partners Asus, Acer, Dell and HP are releasing Windows 10-based VR headsets. The headsets, which cost $299 and up, will also ship on October 17, according to Myerson. Other new features highlighted by Myerson include eye-tracking for people with Lou Gehrig’s disease, improved photo and video creation tools (perhaps taking the sting out of losing MS Paint), and an expanded Game Mode that uses all of the computer’s processing powers for Xbox Play Anywhere games.