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article imageMicrosoft to launch next major Windows version on April 11

By James Walker     Mar 29, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has officially announced it will be launching the next major Windows version on April 11th. The Windows 10 Creators Update will be available as a free download to all existing Windows 10 users. It's an extensive refresh of the operating system.
The Creators Update was first announced last October. As per the name, it focuses on new creative tools to help people use their PCs to "spark and unleash creativity." Microsoft is keeping the focus broad, targeting everyone from video editing professionals to schoolchildren and casual users inquisitive about emerging technologies.
Microsoft has been extensively testing the new features with Windows Insiders over the past months. It's now ready to roll out the update to every existing Windows 10 device, letting consumers see what's been added. Following previous Windows 10 releases, the upgrade will be delivered automatically to eligible computers.
Creative apps and alternate realities
Microsoft is using the Creators Update to help expand the reach of mixed reality and 3D content. Alongside the software release, the company's partners will soon start shipping mixed reality headsets priced from only $299. These can be used with the vast majority of existing Windows PCs, slashing the restrictively high price tags and hardware requirements of current headsets.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft
According to Microsoft, technology like VR, MR and 3D should be accessible to everyone. As such, it's launching a new suite of apps that will enable any Windows user to build their own content in these mediums. Perhaps most notably, the company's classic Paint app – part of Windows since the 95 days – is receiving a complete overhaul that sees it rebranded as "Paint 3D." Built on the Universal Windows Platform and offered through the Windows Store, Paint 3D can be used to create and share 3D models from any Windows device. It takes the simplicity of the classic Paint app and literally transfers it into another dimension, letting you click, tap or draw to create your own 3D models. These can be uploaded to Remix3D.com, a kind of new social network for sharing and finding 3D content.
Creating by playing
The Creators Update also includes a raft of new features for gamers. Microsoft is expanding its existing Xbox integration with Windows 10 to support real-time game streaming to Beam. This will enable creators to broadcast their gameplay without having to install any additional software. The stream can be controlled from the existing Xbox Game Bar, sitting alongside options to take screenshots and record video clips from games.
Windows 10 Creators Update - new gaming features will improve performance and social sharing
Windows 10 Creators Update - new gaming features will improve performance and social sharing
Microsoft
This functionality will also be available to Xbox One users, alongside a selection of significant new features specific to the console. Microsoft is altering the Xbox's interface to make it simpler and faster to navigate through menus and find content to play.
Extras for Edge
Microsoft Edge is another important feature of the Creators Update. The browser has been expanded with support for e-books, 4K streaming content, improved security features and an enhanced browser engine that's faster and more reliable.
Microsoft Edge features in the Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft Edge features in the Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft
Although Edge's market share is slowly declining, Microsoft is hoping the additions will convince Windows users to give it a second chance. The company claims Edge is more performant and less demanding than rival browsers. Last year, it ignited a new round of browser wars with its eye-catching battery life benchmarks.
Creative features for creators
The Creator's Update goes a lot deeper than the headline features. As with previous Windows 10 releases, Microsoft has tweaked the interface, improved the core and added support for new technologies under the hood.
There are also smaller user-facing changes such as the new Compact Overlay picture-in-picture view and a blue light reduction mode to help you get to sleep. Microsoft said the new features will cement Windows' position as a market-leading operating system capable of adapting to a wide range of use cases.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft
"We designed Windows 10 to empower the creator in all of us," the company said. "To us, that means that everyone has the power to dream big, whether that involves starting a company, developing a lesson plan, inventing a product, developing or broadcasting games, or imagining a whole new world in Minecraft or mixed reality. And we want Windows to be the place you love to create and play, with the tools to help you make your mark on the world."
The Creators Update will begin rolling out worldwide on April 11. Microsoft will release the update in waves so there's a good chance your device won't receive it on day one. In line with previous major Windows 10 updates, the company is expected to release a tool for power users that lets you skip the queue. Microsoft said it will publish more details on how to download and install the update in the next week.
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