Well, Microsoft’s free Windows 10 Upgrade offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8 expired at the end of July. If you recently upgraded before that deadline, be prepared for another major Update, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Yes, it’s been over a year now since Windows 10 was released. Be prepared to set aside around 2 hours for the Update, whether you get the Update automatically like other Windows updates or decide to manually install the Update.
I waited a few days after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update became available, and then checked on several PCs to see whether the Update automatically appeared. Nope. Well, the rollout to millions of users will occur over a period of weeks. Then I read about how to manually download and install the Update.
I installed the Update on two PCs so far. I experienced no problems doing the Update or afterwards, although there have been some reports of issues after the massive Update. In each case, the Update took around 2 hours to download and install and complete setup. There was no circular progress diagram like for the Windows 10 Upgrade — just the typical update stages with percent complete indication and restarts. Don’t panic during the occasional black screen transitions in the process.
Many other articles cover the new features of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Here’re some things that I noticed. In the setup after the last restart, I chose to Customize settings and tuned them to values before the Update, especially Privacy-related settings.
The Start menu changed, mostly for the better. In the System Tray, the Notifications icon moved to the right corner and the date / time icon shifted left. The Notifications icon now shows a number count.
If not already removed, the Windows Store apps Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, and Travel were removed. These MSN apps were discontinued last year.
After the Update, Update History was blank. But this changed quickly, as “Patch Tuesday” (on August 9) installed several updates for the new “1607” Windows 10 version — similar to the updates for the “1511” version for those without the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
The Update also fixed some bugs. After getting the alert that Windows installed some updates, clicking on that alert opened the Update window. Previously this action usually did nothing. So, Notifications (Action Center) may be working better.
Cortana cannot be disabled, but on PCs without a camera or microphone, its presence is really not an issue. The Search box works essentially the same as before.
Microsoft’s Edge browser now supports Extensions. I installed a few, while the list of available Extensions is quite limited as yet. You might want to try AdBlock or AdBlock Plus. There was a really odd quirk when checking for Extensions in the Edge browser. The Windows Store Edge Extensions window was blank until manually resized slightly.
Microsoft continues to aggressively push its Windows Store, which started after Windows 7. An ecosystem thing.
Remember that while you can still use Windows 10 with a local account — versus Microsoft account, Microsoft really wants you in their ecosystem. Devices and services. Using a Microsoft account allows easy access to all their services (and services is their focus). For example, by using a Microsoft account, you’re automatically logged into the OneDrive cloud — no need to separately log into that service; and saving documents to their “cloud” works as just another storage location.
For more information, PC World summarized the “best new features.”