Windows 10 Celebrates with Anniversary Update

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Windows 10 Turns One

It’s hard to believe, but windows 10 turned one recently. After skipping Windows 9 to put the Windows 8 debacle behind them, Microsoft appears to have a winner on their hands. Between the free upgrades Microsoft was offering and retail purchases, Windows 10 was installed on over 200 million devices as of January 2016.

Similar to the large update released in November, Microsoft has been working hard on their one-year anniversary update. Below are just some of the new features and improvements in this latest update.

Edge Gets Some Love

Microsoft’s strategy with the Edge browser is still a bit confusing – will they continue supporting IE indefinitely, will Edge ever be as loved (or perhaps loathed) as much as IE? Who knows, but in the Anniversary Update Edge gets some serious improvements.

One big improvement is the addition of Extensions. Although extensions have been in nearly every other browser for years, Microsoft is just adding them to Edge with the Anniversary Update. The selection today is a bit slim – only about 13 extensions are available today, but most of them are big names such as LastPass, Adblock Plus, Pinterest and Amazon (Figure 1).

Another nice feature is the ability to pin your tabs just as you pin icons to your task bar. Hovering over the pins allows you to see a preview of the page in question.

User Interface Improvements

The Anniversary Update also includes several user interface improvements. It’s good to see Microsoft isn’t afraid to change things up in these updates. For example, the start menu gets another overhaul. Instead of just seeing your pinned items and frequently used items, Microsoft added in the full list of your programs. Small icons are now present for settings, file explorer and downloads as well (Figure 2).

Several other smaller improvements were made such as the ability to pin windows to virtual desktops. For example, in virtual desktop view, you can tell a window to be open on all virtual desktops. If you’re a heavy virtual desktop user, this should come in handy.

Another great user interface improvement is in the notification section of the task bar. When you click the clock, you can now add an account so it shows your calendar agenda for the day. Notifications also show up as they did before, but you can now see how many notifications you have (Figure 3).

Linux Fan?

If you’re a fan of Linux, you may have heard about Microsoft including the Bash shell as a native component within Windows. Well – With the Anniversary Update, you can now run a Bash shell with all of your favorite Linux commands.

Cortana Updates

Much like other areas of Windows, there are many little improvements to existing features. Cortana gets some improvements in the Anniversary Update as well. For example, you can now use Cortana from the Windows lock screen without having to unlock the device. Simple improvement, but certainly much more user friendly.

One of the biggest updates to Cortana is the ability to install Cortana on Android phones. Any system alerts will be pushed to your PC. For example, you can receive an alert on your PC when your phone is running low on energy. Seeing as this is the first iteration of Cortana on Android, it’s likely this will be fleshed out a bit more over time.

What improvements have you discovered and are enjoying the most? Be sure to leave a comment below!