Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 Insider build for the “Redstone 4” update cycle tries to do away with the “sneakernet” with an feature called “Near Share,” as well as a phone-like auto-suggest feature for text typing.
Microsoft launched Windows 10 Insider build 17035 for the Fast Ring on Wednesday, one of the first code releases for what’s been referred to as “Redstone 4,” or the update cycle following the Fall Creators Update. If Microsoft holds to its current schedule, Redstone 4 should be due in the spring, perhaps in February or March.
Until then, however, Windows Insiders are part of the testing team trying out new features: Near Share, better tab muting in Edge, a new Audio settings menu, the ability to configure update bandwidth, and a few more.
No Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for you, Microsoft says—at least, not if you happen to be the unlucky owner of certain older Atom-based Windows devices, and other aging hardware. After stories arose of failed attempts to upgrade such hardware to the Creators Update, Microsoft says that any hardware device that falls out of the manufacturer’s support cycle may be ineligible for future Windows 10 updates.
In the case of the four “Clover Trail” processors (part of the Cloverview platform) that have fallen into Intel's End of Interactive Support phase, they will be ineligible for the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft confirmed. Instead, they’ll simply be offered the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, plus security updates through January 2023, the end of the original Windows 8.1 support period.
Procrastinators beware. If you’re a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 user, you’re nearing a big deadline: on Dec. 31, 2017, the last free major upgrade loophole to Windows 10 will expire: assistive technologies. If you intend to upgrade to Windows 10 and the Fall Creators Update but haven’t actually completed the process, we can help.
For consumers, the choice is a simple one: You’ll be upgraded to either one of two versions of Windows 10: Windows 10 Home, or Windows 10 Professional. (This guide doesn’t cover the upgrade process to Windows 10 Mobile for phones.) Microsoft has also released the official retail pricing for Windows 10, in case you’re building a PC.
There's still one way consumers can upgrade to Windows 10 for free—and Microsoft will shut it down on December 31, even though a majority of the world's PC users still use older versions of Windows.
Microsoft gave Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users an entire year after the launch of Windows 10 (until July 31, 2016) to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. But there was one exception: those who used assistive technology, such as screen readers, got an indefinite extension.
According to a Microsoft support page, the deadline for those users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free expires by the end of the year, as noted by Slashgear. After that, consumers will have to pay the full price for a Windows license, which costs about $75 from Amazon for a "system builder" license for Windows 10 Home, and more for retail Home or Professional versions.
Inking and navigating with a digital pen or stylus within Windows 10 has become easier within the Fall Creators Update for those of you who use a tablet as, you know, a tablet.
The improvements include two major elements: navigation, including using the pen or stylus to select and scroll text; and better interpretation of inked words as text, via a more accurate and responsive handwriting panel. Combined, it’s a love letter of sorts to Surface and other tablet users who use the pen to input data. It's amazing how well Windows can interpret your chicken-scratch into text that can be edited in Word and elsewhere.
How can I type emoji on my PC keyboard? It’s a question that you’ve probably asked, given up on, shrugged, and then pulled out your smartphone. Now, with Windows 10 and the Fall Creators Update, a new emoji keyboard will make adding emoji to Twitter, Facebook, and other apps a snap.
While there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned smiley-face :) or GIF, an emoji is a simple way to add a bit of fun to your communications. That’s the whole point of emoji, after all! And while they’ve been part of smartphone culture for years, Microsoft has now added its easy emoji keyboard to Windows 10.
Microsoft Edge is gaining new PDF reader features within the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update—everything from sticky notes to inked signatures. It’s part of Microsoft’s bid to compete with Chrome and Firefox as the best Web browser, and along the way, carve out a niche as the best free PDF viewer available.
We tried Edge’s new capabilities within Build 16251 of the Windows Insider program, several iterations after Microsoft debuted the new functionality as part of Build 16188. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has since rolled out, and all of these features are now live.
Connecting your phone to your Windows 10 PC has never been easier—and with the hints Microsoft has dropped as part of the Fall Creators Update, it looks like the phone will be a big deal in future PCs.
Right now, if you own either an Android phone or an Apple iPhone, you can reply to texts right from your PC. In the future, you’ll be able to take webpages you were reading on your train ride and send them to your Windows PC at the office. Passwords? Who needs ‘em? And now, with a dedicated Phone section within the Settings menu, Microsoft appears to be setting up a framework for even stronger connections in the future.
For those of you frantically waving Windows phones—yes, you too can connect your phones to your PC, via the Continuum experience Microsoft debuted a little more than a year ago. Unfortunately, with limited hardware and tepid customer support, Microsoft’s Windows phone aspirations are basically dead. Instead, Microsoft has focused on bringing its ecosystem to the far more popular iPhone and Android platforms. The best thing is all of these features are live within the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.