Microsoft has released dozens of updates to Windows 10 since launching the operating system a year ago. But the biggest update yet is coming August 2nd.
It’s called Windows 10 Anniversary Update… and it’s not exactly a big surprise. Microsoft already told us about some of the key new features in March, and members of the Windows Insider Preview program have been testing early version for a while.
But now we know that the Anniversary Update will be available as a free update to all Windows 10 users starting August 2nd. It’s likely that PCs will start shipping with the latest version of Windows pre-loaded soon as well.
So what’s new in Windows 10 Anniversary Update? Here are a few changes:
- Windows Ink provides new tools for using a digital pen, including Smart Sticky Notes, the new Windows Ink Workspace menu, and new pen-specific features for key apps including handwriting for Office and drawing routes in Maps.
- Use Windows Hello and the Microsoft Edge browser to login to (some) websites using a fingerprint, facial recognition, or other biometric security features.
- There’s an option to schedule automatic anti-malware scans or your PC using Windows Defender. Enterprise users can also use the new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
- Some of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant features can now be accessed from the lock screen, so you can get answers to questions, play music, or set a reminder. Cortana can also now provide notifications across all devices you’re using — so if you search for directions on your Windows 10 PC you can share them to your smartphone.
- The Microsoft Edge web browser now supports extensions such as LastPass and AdBlock Plus.
- Xbox Play Anywhere lets you buy a game from the Windows Store and play it on any device linked to your account (but this won’t work with games that aren’t available from the Windows Store).
While the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is a for Windows 10 users, it won’t be free if you’re using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
For the past year Microsoft has been letting users upgrade to Windows 10 from those operating systems free of charge (and sometimes making it hard to refuse the upgrade offer). But the promotion ends on July 29th. After that time you’ll have to pay full price for a Windows 10 license if you want to upgrade from an early version of the operating system.