This release is a milestone for the ‘Windows as a Service’ process that Microsoft is using to develop Windows 10. Last year’s November Update polished the release version of Windows 10, while this release continues that process, concentrating on the daily features you likely use the most, including some useful refinements to the Start screen and Action Center interface. But it also introduces some brand new features like the Ink Workspace.
The Edge browser has matured quickly and gets support for extensions, and the key UWP apps like Mail, Groove and Skype have also improved significantly.
Cortana is gaining more features and Windows Hello is more reliable, as well as ready for apps and websites that support the new FIDO 2 specification that is bidding to replace passwords with biometrics. Improved browser security is a major plus.
Performance is improved from the already impressive speed of the release version of Windows 10 – booting your PC is a second or so faster on SSD-based systems, and battery life has improved on laptops (especially if you’re using the Edge browser, but the new Battery Saver option that appears when you click or tap the battery icon also maximizes battery life).
On the other hand, those uncertain about Windows 10 won’t find solace in the fact that Anniversary Update only lets you roll back within 10 days to save on disk space, or the fact that, like any new release, there are problems (including some systems with SSDs freezing, and the well-documented problems with webcams that won’t be fixed until another update arrives in September).
It’s been a long, winding road for Windows 10. Although it’s won over an install base exceeding 400 million, the widely adopted OS has recently encountered a dry spell. With the Anniversary Update long behind us, complete with hardened protection against ransomware, more developments are assuredly around the corner.
In October, Microsoft hosted a press event in NYC where the company confirmed a Windows 10 Creators Update, slated to arrive in spring 2017. It was there that company also launched an enhanced Surface Book featuring double the GPU capabilities.
Shortly thereafter, Microsoft was accused by Google of entertaining a perilous security vulnerability. This flaw was subsequently patched out just a few days later, but not before hackers opportunistically exploited it. Despite the security mishap, Microsoft’s next move appears to be taking on any antivirus product that challenges Windows Defender.