One year (...and four days) ago, Microsoft launched Windows 10 for PCs. In November, it released its first major update to the OS - called, appropriately, the 'November update' - along with the first smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile.
Today, after months of testing among 7 million Windows Insiders around the world, Microsoft began the global rollout of its next big update for Windows 10.
And make no mistake - the Anniversary Update (known also as Version 1607; yes, referring to July 2016, even though it's now August...) is a major upgrade for the OS. Here are just a few highlights of what the new update offers:
- Changes to the Action Center, including cross-platform notifications support; and richer, more interactive notifications
- An upgrade for Cortana, with cross-platform support, and the ability to make enquiries, play music or set reminders from the lock screen, without unlocking your device
- An improved Skype experience, through a standalone Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, available on both PCs and phones
- More customization features, including a new OS-wide dark theme
- An overhauled Windows Ink experience for devices with pen support, such as Surface
- Massive improvements to Microsoft Edge, including extensions support, greater power efficiency on mobile devices, web notifications support, and enhanced accessibility features
- Support for new Miracast features, such as projecting from a Miracast-enabled to PC to other PCs without needing a dock or adapter; or using the Windows 10 Mobile Continuum experience through a PC with no dock or adapter
- Major security enhancements, such as expanded biometric authentication support for Windows Hello login, as well as in Edge and UWP apps; new threat protection features for business and enterprise; and TPM 2.0 support on new devices that ship with the Anniversary Update pre-installed
- Availability of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, with support for Linux command line tools and access Ubuntu binaries in Windows 10
- New gaming experiences such as Xbox Play Anywhere, and a range of new features for the Xbox One in the Summer Update
- New features for students and teachers, as well as a new Windows 10 Pro Education edition
Microsoft points out that the Anniversary Update is now "being rolled out to Windows 10 PCs across the world in phases, starting with the newer machines first". The update will be pushed to devices automatically through Windows Update "starting with the newer machines first".
However, Microsoft says that "if you don’t want to wait for the update to roll out to you, you can manually get the update yourself on your personal PC" via Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update.
You can find out more about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in our reviews: