We're past the days of new, major editions of Windows every couple years or so. Instead, Microsoft is refreshing Windows 10 regularly - and a rather large update just launched.
The Fall Creators Update brings a raft of tweaks and enhancements to the already-great operating system, boosting the productivity and entertainment power of your PC, tablet, or even mixed-reality headset – yes, that last one's new.
Microsoft just started rolling out the update yesterday, but if you haven't yet got it, you can force the process at will. Wondering whether it's worth the fuss? Here are 10 of the best new features found in the Fall Creators Update.
1) Mixed Reality arrives
The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have been battling it out since spring 2016, but now Microsoft is entering the fray with its Windows Mixed Reality platform. What is Mixed Reality? Well, it's a bit of virtual reality and a bit of HoloLens-esque augmented reality… or it will be, eventually. Right now, it's just VR with more of a focus on apps than games.
Companies including Samsung, Dell, and Asus have Mixed Reality headsets available now, and they'll let you play VR games, experience 2D apps in a 3D space, and walk around Microsoft's Cliffhouse hub filled with your digital stuff. And there's even a Halo Recruit VR experience based on the shooter series.
It's early days still, so we'll have to see how the Mixed Reality premise expands and whether it's really worth investing in a headset. But it seems like there's a lot of potential here for Microsoft to help establish the VR space and eventually bring in AR as well.
2) OneDrive On Demand
Didn't like how Windows 10 integrated OneDrive's cloud storage, forcing you to sync entire folders offline to get to your files? Well, the Fall Creators Update makes things a bit easier.
Now any file you access online is automatically synced offline to your device, ensuring that the files you're actually using remain locally accessible regardless of your connection status or quality. And a helpful new status icon in File Explorer makes sure you know exactly where any given file is, so you avoid any nasty surprises the next time you're without a 'net connection.
3) Paint in 3D
We all know the classic Microsoft Paint well, but that formative scribbling app has nothing on Paint 3D. As the title suggests, the new app lets you create your own 3D artwork with relative ease, and then see it in the real world on a tablet with the Mixed Reality Viewer app.
And you don't even have to start from scratch. With the community-powered Remix 3D catalog, you can search around for freely-usable assets to drop into the background or modify with ease. You can even put 3D objects into PowerPoint presentations to add a little more depth and interactivity.