Windows 10 Creators Update: Top 7 Lesser Known Features Arriving in 2017

Windows 10 Creators Update: Top 7 Lesser Known Features Arriving in 2017At its event on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Creators Update alongside the Surface Studio AIO and the upgraded Surface Book. The commercial rollout is expected to happen in early 2017, but the early build has already been made available to Windows 10 Insider Preview members. The update is set to bring a new Paint 3D app, HoloLens integration, and even the ability pin contacts to the taskbar. While all the big features were highlighted, there are many other additions coming with this update that were sidelined at the event.

These new features were showcased in the introduction video that Microsoft released on YouTube soon after. The one minute 15 second video has been neatly dissected by Thurott.com’s Brad Sams, and a comprehensive list of all the features that were skipped on stage, but are coming with the update in spring; has been created. This list includes a new music creation tool called Groove Music Maker, support of the digital pen in Word documents, a new Edge Tab browser, a refreshed design for the Action Center, a new personalisation tab in the app store and much more

1. Action Center
Let’s begin with the refreshed design for the Action Center. Quick Action items have ditched the large block design and are now just placed with logos. Audio and Brightness settings will be changed with a slider post-update, instead of the pre-defined adjustment used currently.
2. Groove Music Maker
There’s also a new music creation tool called Groove Music Maker that presumably gives access to basic tools for editing sound files. The app will be available for free, so don’t expect ultra-professional editing tools to be present in the app.

3. Microsoft Word Pen Support
Microsoft Word is introducing pen support, and in the video you will notice that if a pen is used to strike out a sentence, it is then automatically deleted from the document.

4. Tab browser for Edge
Microsoft Edge will be getting a new Tab browser for ease in switching through opened tabs. The Tab browser enables a small preview, letting the user see which tab has what on display. There is also the addition of a new feature called Session Manager that tries to give you more control while restoring old tabs.
5. Maps collection feature
There is a new collection feature in Maps as well, which lets you create lists of your choice. It is being speculated as being just a revamped version of the Favourites feature, but with the added sorting ability. More clarity on this may be achieved as Insider members start filing their feedback and experiences.

6. Quick Sharing With Contacts
Apart from the option to add contacts to the taskbar, it also allows you to send quick mails to them, and even chat with them on Skype all through one single dialogue box on screen.

7. Other Features
There’s also the introduction of a new personalisation tab in the Windows Store that aims to sell themes for Windows 10. The Windows Defender layout has also been changed to synchronize with the rest of the Windows 10 theme.

As mentioned, the Windows 10 Creators Update is still in beta and if you want to use it, you need to be a part of the Windows Insider Program. To be a part of it, register here.

Chrome OS 54 Starts Rolling Out With Quick View Feature and UI Tweaks

Chrome OS 54 Starts Rolling Out With Quick View Feature and UI TweaksSoon after Chrome 54 was made available for Windows, Mac and Linux users, Chrome OS 54 has now moved to the stable channel. Chrome OS 54 introduces some bug fixes, security updates, UI tweaks and new features like Quick View.

The Chrome OS stable channel has been updated to 54.0.2840.79, and Chrome OS and Chromebook users will be receiving it in the next few days. While most of the Chromebooks will receive the update, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer Chromebook 14 for Work, and Thinkpad 13 Chromebook have been mysteriously left out.

The most notable addition is the new Quick View feature available in the File app to preview files. All you need to do is highlight a file, and then press the space bar to get a generic preview. For example, if you ‘Quick View’ an image file, a small preview along with size and file type information pops up on the screen.
Alt+Tab is a nifty shortcut often used to switch between windows. With Chrome OS 54, Google has added a new animation in the centre that shows a preview (of sorts) of all the open tabs, and lets you select exactly which tab you intend to switch to. Other changes include a new opt-in setting to show Input Method on shelf, a read only policy for external USB/SD storage devices, and general UI improvements across platform. As mentioned, Chrome 54 is already available to desktop and even Android users.

Microsoft Office Productivity Bundle

office

We have another great deal in the Geeky Gadgets Deals store today, the Microsoft Office Productivity Bundle which normally retail for $990 and you can get it for what ever price you want.

The Pay What You Want: Microsoft Office Productivity Bundle comes with a total of 12 different courses on Microsoft Office, more details on how it works below.

 With the Pay What You Want bundles, you can get something incredible for as little as you want to pay while making the world a better place. And if you beat the average price, you’ll receive the fully upgraded bundle!

10% of the profits from your purchase will go towards Project HOPE, who delivers essential medicines and supplies, health expertise and medical training to respond to disaster, prevent disease, promote wellness and save lives around the globe.

Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade revisited: seven more of your questions answered

Windows10 Start menu

Download the upgrade?

Can I download the upgrade, store the files, and install it about a week later?Ernst

Yes, you can download it from the Download Windows 10 page. Microsoft provides a media creation tool so that you can install the download on a blank USB memory stick or burn it to DVD. This means you can download the file on one PC to upgrade a different PC.

Windows 10 is being continuously updated, so don’t download it a long time before you plan to use it: it will be out of date. You have until next July to install the free upgrade.

Third-party upgraders?

Is there any reason to let a Microsoft store install the Windows 10 update, as opposed to an independent PC/desktop specialist? Luther

Not many of us have access to a Microsoft store, but in either case, ask your store – or your independent operator – to describe what they are going to do. This should include backing up your data and programs, and restoring/reinstalling anything that goes missing. (Obviously, you should have your data backed up already.) They should also guarantee that Windows 10 will be activated. You can check this by running the Settings app from the Start menu, going to Update & security, and selecting Activation.

Good installers will make sure your PC already has the latest Windows updates installed, and double-check that they can get all the right drivers. They may also uninstall any non-Microsoft anti-malware software that might cause problems with the upgrade.

However, 75 million people have now upgraded, and most used the Windows Update service. It’s not hard.

Where’s my product key?

Where is the new product key when upgrading? Alan

It’s online. You can search your PC for a Windows 10 product key using a utilitysuch as Belarc Adviser, Jellybean Keyfinder, or whatever. However, if you took the free upgrade via Windows Update, then your product key will probably be YTMG3-N6DKC-DKB77-7M9GH-8HVX7 for the Home version or VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T for Pro. There are a few other generic keys, but don’t bother trying to use them.

You won’t have a unique key stored on your PC’s motherboard unless you upgraded from a retail version of Windows, or bought a digital version from the Windows Store.

When Microsoft installs Windows 10, it creates a hash number based on your hardware and stores it against your Microsoft Account (MSA). Once you have done that, you can do a re-installation, and your PC will authenticate automatically. If you are asked for a product key, click “Skip” and it should authenticate itself, perhaps after a day or two, depending on the load on Microsoft’s servers.

This is a different approach from Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 where a unique product key was printed on a Certificate of Authenticity stuck to the bottom of the PC. (Tip: take a photo of yours because the CoA can get worn and hard to read.)

Note that you must upgrade (and get your hash key recorded) before attempting to do a clean installation from a DVD or USB stick.

Of course, if you change parts of your PC then this will change the hash number. Microsoft ignores small changes – replacing a hard drive, video card or whatever. You’re only likely to have a problem if you upgrade the motherboard. If authentication fails, then traditionally you had to do a phone activation, which was rarely a problem. Now you can sign in with your MSA, type “supp” into Windows 10, run the Contact Support app, select Services & apps and then Windows. Click “Setting up” to request an activation.

Bear in mind that cheap pre-installed copies of Windows are tied to the device on which they are first installed, and the licence does not give you the right to move it to another PC. So, make your changes gradually. If you change all the parts at once, it will, in effect, be a new PC, even if it’s in the same case.

If you want a copy of Windows that you can move between as many PCs as you like, then you can pay a bit more for the retail version, which also includes Microsoft support.

Where’s my upgrade?

I reserved my copy of Windows 10 a while ago. When I click on “Check your PC,” it says “Good to go”. So why isn’t it upgrading to Windows 10? Is there a way I can find out what the problem is? Jeanne Marie

Microsoft is doing a staged roll-out that is expected to take several months. I assume Microsoft started with the easiest machines, to debug the installation process, before tackling the ones it thinks might cause problems. Your PC may have fallen into that category, though there’s no way to tell.

It seems that brand new Windows 8.1 machines go straight to the front of the queue. I just set up a new laptop and got an unrequested Windows 10 offer within seconds of signing on. It was fully installed about an hour later.

You could, of course, jump the queue by downloading Windows 10 directly. But if my theory is correct – that Microsoft is starting with the “low hanging fruit” – it’s probably better to wait.

Will my files survive?

Will the files, movies and programs on the Windows 7 disk drive be deleted or lost during the update? Hossam

If you do an “in place” upgrade via Windows Update, everything should stay safely in place, and any missing files should be stored on your hard drive in a folder called windows.old.

However, it’s a fact of computer life that things sometimes go wrong, so you should have a backup or two. I like to take a compressed backup and then useFreeFileSync to make a mirror image copy of all my files on an external hard drive, so I absolutely know they are there. You and you alone are responsible for preserving your own data.

Can I downgrade?

I have just upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 on my PC, but want to go back to Windows 8.1 as I have some problems. Can I later – within a year – again install Windows 10 free of cost on the same PC? B. Nielsen

Yes, you can upgrade and downgrade as often as you like. To downgrade, run the Settings app, go to Update & security (as mentioned above), and click on Recovery. The middle option should be: “Go back to Windows 8.1”.

Note that you only have 30 days to do this. The Windows 10 upgrade rolls up your previous operating system into a folder called “windows.old”, but will delete this to save space (12.5GB on my laptop). You can also, of course, make your own restoration media. See Recovery options in Windows 10.

I’m not upgrading!

How can I cancel my reservation? Terry

Microsoft’s instructions were not as precise as they might have been. Happily, the SuperSite for Windows has published a brief guide to Successfully Cancelling Your Windows 10 Upgrade Reservation. It has an illustration for every single step.

* Ask Jack has had more than 650 questions about Windows 10, which is too many to answer personally. If yours isn’t answered here, see Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade: five questions answered, Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade: 10 more of your questions answered, Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade: seven more questions answered, and Microsoft Windows 10 free upgrade: the last roundup.

Windows RT 8.1 will get the Start menu too, Microsoft says

If you have a Windows RT device, you might be feeling a little left out in the cold. After all, you won’t be able to upgrade your device Windows 10. Luckily for you, though, Microsoft isn’t abandoning you entirely.

As WinBeta notes, Microsoft will provide an update for Windows RT next month will bring a variant of the Start menu to Windows RT 8.1, according to an FAQ posted to Microsoft’s website. The FAQ also states that Microsoft will bring an updated lock screen to Windows RT.

Why this matters: Windows RT was a bit of a misfit from the day it launched: It ran only on a specific subset of devices, and it couldn’t run the full breadth of Windows apps. Windows 10 made it clear that RT doesn’t have much of a future, but it’s good to see that Microsoft hasn’t completely forgotten Windows RT users.

But there’s a catch…

The Start menu coming to Windows RT won’t be the same as the one in the final release build of Windows 10, however, according to WinBeta. Instead, it will be “based upon the DirectUI Start Menu found in the early Windows 10 Technical Preview builds,” so its design and layout will be somewhat different.

Still, any Start menu is better than no Start menu.

In the meantime, Microsoft says to keep tabs on Windows Update on your RT device so you can get the Start menu update as soon as it’s out.

windows rt

How to customize Windows 10’s Start Menu

Windows 10’s Start menu is a melding of two worlds: With it, Microsoft is attempting to bring the best of the classic Start menu together with the best of the Windows 8 Start screen. Whether Microsoft pulled it off is a topic for debate, but you do have some control of what appears in the new Start menu.

Add, rearrange, and resize live tiles

Windows 10 comes with a default set of live tiles in the Start menu—those large icons that populate the right-hand side of the Start menu—such as the Weather, Calendar, Mail, and Photos apps, as well as the Edge browser. But you can add just about any app to the live tiles pane.

Pop open the Start menu, then click All apps. Find the app you want to pin to the Start menu; right-click it, then select Pin to Start. That app’s icon will now appear at the bottom of the live tiles pane.

live tile sizes

An assortment of live tile sizes.

If you want to remove a live tile from the Start menu, simply right-click the icon in question, then select Unpin from Start.

The right-click menu also lets you resize live tiles: Mouse over the Resize menu item, then select the size you want. You can choose between four different sizes: Small (a tiny version of the live tile), Medium (The default size for most live tiles) Wide (twice as wide as a Medium live tile), and Large (twice as tall as the Wide size).

Once you pin the apps you want, simply drag and drop live tiles around the Start menu until you find the arrangement you like.

live tile options

Right-click live tiles to get at more options.

Not every app takes full advantage of live tiles, so you won’t necessarily get at-a-glance information from every icon in the live tiles pane, but at the very least, it’ll provide quick access to the apps you use the most. If an app’s live tile updates are getting in your way, you can always turn off that app’s live tile by right-clicking it and selecting Turn live tile off.

Unfortunately, with Windows 10, you can’t rearrange the items in the Start menu’s left-hand column as you can with the live tiles: Windows 10 uses this space to automatically show the apps you use the most.

Group your live tiles

You can also group your live tiles as you please. You can create a group for games, for example, or one for productivity apps, communication apps, design apps…it’s up to you.

To create a new group, click and drag a live tile to an empty space in the Start menu’s live tile pane until a horizontal bar appears (the bar’s color will vary depending on your accent color). Once the bar appears, release the mouse button, and Windows will create a new group containing that app.

rename live tile groups

You can easily name your live tile groups.

You can name your groups, too. Mouse over the empty space above each group, then click Name group once the text appears. Give the group a name, then press the Enter key. While you’re at it, go ahead and rearrange your groups by dragging the drag thumb that appears (look for the two horizontal lines that appear near the right-hand edge of the group’s name bar).

Resize the Start menu

Now that you have your Start menu arranged just the way you want it, why not resize it? Mouse over either the top or right-hand edge of the Start menu until the resize pointer appears, then click and drag to resize it, just as you would resize a window. The Start menu doesn’t take up the entire screen by default, but if you’re feeling nostalgic for the old days of Windows 8, you can easily change that.

Pop open the Settings app, select Personalization, then select Start from the left-hand column. Next toggle the “Use Start full screen” switch to the on position. The next time you open the Start menu, it’ll take up the entire screen, save for the taskbar at the bottom.

Other tricks

start menu settings

Change all the Start menu settings!

Windows 10 has a few other options for the Start menu that we won’t cover exhaustively here, such as the ability to hide the “Most used” section and to pick which folders you can access via the Start menu. To get to these, open the Settings app, then go toPersonalization > Start. Play around with the various options and get a feel for what works best for you.