Microsoft Windows 10 Anniversary Update Arrives Tomorrow, Here's What To Expect

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If you haven’t already made the upgrade to Windows 10 — and believe us, you’ve had plenty of time to do so and plenty of forewarning — the free upgrade “window” has officially closed. Those who use Assistive Technologies can still upgrade for free (for now), but everyone else will need to pony up $119 for the privilege.

With that being said, the next big thing on Microsoft’s agenda is the Anniversary Update, which is the first major update for Windows 10. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be released to the general public tomorrow, and here’s what to expect when you install it on your Windows machine:

Windows Ink: Windows Ink is a natural fit for first-party Microsoft hardware like the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, which both include active pens, but will work with any pen-enabled device. Using the Windows Ink Workplace, you’re able to work with “blank canvas” tools like Sketchpad along with Screen Sketch, which allows you to take screen captures and include annotations (making them easily sharable with friends and colleagues). Enhanced Sticky Notes now gains the ability to tap into the powerful Cortana digital assistant.

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Windows Hello: This is Microsoft’s latest incarnation of biometric security for the Windows platform. It provides enterprise-grade sign-in security for your PCs using your fingerprint, facial recognition or iris scanners.

Extensions support for Microsoft Edge browser: One of the biggest knocks against the Edge browser (which was introduced alongside Windows 10) is that it lacked support for extensions – something that Internet Explorer and competing browsers have offered for years. Microsoft has cured that ailment in the Anniversary Update. Edge has also received a number of performance and battery life improvements; which Microsoft has proudly boasted about recently.

More powerful Cortana: Cortana can now be invoked from the Lock Screen, and has the ability to push content (text messages, notifications, etc.) to and from your mobile deice. Cortana is more adept at parsing information from emails to automatically add to your calendar or to setup reminders. Cortana can also become your own personal DJ, allowing you to queue up songs with the sound of your voice via the Groove music service.

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And as we reported last week, Microsoft feels that everyone should be using Cortana and as a result has made is nearly impossible to completely disable the digital assistant with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

There are also numerous other enhancements to be found in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update including a revamped Start menu, updates to the Action Center, a revised Taskbar, minor updates to Settings, and wealth of other improvements that are meant to make the Windows 10 experience even better.

The Anniversary Update for the Xbox One platform launched over the weekend, but PC users will have to wait until tomorrow (August 2nd) to download the official update.