It’s August 2, 2016, which means Microsoft’s much-touted Windows 10 Anniversary Update will begin to roll out to users around the world.
The update will bring enhancements to the OS’ usability including features such as Windows Ink and Windows Hello as well as significant security enhancements (more on that below). The current iteration of Windows 10 has, aside from Cortana, not shifted the user experience drastically.
How to get the update
According to Microsoft, there isn’t much a user has to do to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. When it has been rolled out to a specific user, he or she should be prompted by the operating system’s own update feature.
Who will get it first will apparently depend on the age of the machine as opposed to geographic region; the company mentioned no regional dates but said instead that “newer machines” will be first.
One can manually check for the update by going to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update, but even with that, for me, as of writing, the software has not yet been rolled out.
According to Microsoft, the Anniversary Update will appear as “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1607.” Click update and it will begin downloading and installing.
Work devices will obviously require IT administrator approval before applying the software, and Windows 10 Mobile devices will see notifications in the “coming weeks.”
Power users can click on the “Learn more” link, at which point they will be taken to a support page on Microsoft.com where they are able to download the ISO file to their PC.
What’s coming in the update
Microsoft has promised significant buffs to security bringing even consumer versions up to enterprise-level protection. This includes Windows Hello, which will allow users to sign in to not just the OS but also websites and online apps using biometrics such as fingerprint or iris scans, as well as advanced threat protection and centralized monitoring for suspicious traffic.
Windows Ink should expand the touch and pen capabilities that are becoming more prevalent in the age of tablets and convertible devices, allowing for precise drawings, writing and measurements.
Enhancements to Cortana will make her even more ubiquitous, including allowing her to function from the lockscreen.
Lastly, a redesigned “Skype Preview” for Windows 10 PCs will come installed with the update. It doesn’t just feature a new look, but also a preview for Microsoft’s new “bot” platform that is said to replace apps in the coming years.