Windows 10 Anniversary Update Release Date and Expected Features

By | December 17, 2017

The next big Windows 10 update, named the “Anniversary Update”. I’m guessing it’ll be released on July 29, 2016. It is the one-year anniversary of Windows 10’s release. Latest reports mentions that it’ll be released on August 2. Most likely why it is called the Anniversary Update.

In this article, we will only be discussing some of the more prominent changes; there will be a lot more updates. However, I will do my best to keep an eye on the announcements and update this article accordingly.

Cortana will be Smarter

One of the biggest updates in Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be Cortana. Microsoft will expand on what Cortana can do. Cortana will also be available on the lock screen, so she can be called upon at any time. You will however need to unlock your PC for more sensitive tasks. She will also be able to push notifications and text messages to and from your mobile device.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Cortana

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Cortana will also make proactive suggestions for you. For example; if you receive flight confirmation details by email, Cortana will automatically add the details to your calendar. If you promised to send Bob a quote later, Cortana will remind you to fulfil that commitment.

Even if an appointment you add to your calendar overlaps with another, Cortana will detect the conflict and ask you to re-schedule. It looks like Microsoft would like Cortana to replace the humble personal assistant.

Windows 10 will Interact with Your Android Phone

Cortana will with the Cortana application on your Android phone or Windows phone. For the integration to work with an Android phone you will need to install the Cortana application on your phone and have the same Microsoft account configured on both devices. Driving directions will also be synced between your PC and phone.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Driving Directions

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Another Cortana feature Microsoft is working on is named “Messaging Everywhere“; when you receive a message on your phone you can respond to it on your PC. Cortana will also inform you of low battery power on your mobile phone. Watch the video below for more on low battery notifications.

Cortana will also have a build in “Find my Phone” feature that will be able to geo-locate your phone. If your phone is nearby, Cortana will be able to ring your phone so that you can locate it. Watch the video below for more.

Windows Store will get more Apps and Games

Users want more apps and games, but do not want them to be limited to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will bring regular desktop apps to the Windows Store.

Microsoft released a tool that allows anyone, not just developers, to convert any desktop app to a sandboxed UWP application. This tool basically monitors the desktop application at runtime and creates the UWP application with the necessary permissions. Download the Desktop App Converter and start converting your apps or learn more about it here.

Developers can use this tool for converting their own apps and uploading it to the Windows Store. Everyday users can convert old desktop apps to UWP applications. Not sure if this would fix compatibility issues with the converted apps.

Dark Theme coming to Windows 10

Windows 10 Dark Theme

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you will be able to choose between light and dark modes from Settings > Personalization > Colors. There will also be a separate “Show Color on Title Bar” option, that will allow you to apply your color of choice to window titlebars while using the black Start Menu, Taskbar and Action Centre.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Personalization Colors

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Edge will be Overhauled

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft Edge will support Browser Extensions. It will use Chrome-style extensions and a tool will be available for developers to convert Chrome extensions to Edge extensions.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update New Edge Extensions

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

The Flash plugin will get a click-to-play setting that will make Flash less battery-draining and could plug some of the security holes. Currently we do not have much control over Flash, but this will all change when the Anniversary Update arrives.

Microsoft announced that with the Anniversary Update, Edge will automatically pause Flash content that is not integral to the function of the page and you will need to click on it to play. This basically means that flash advertisements will not play automatically.

Edge will also now allow you to pin tabs and will add support for web notifications. Websites will be able to send you notifications that will appear in the Action Centre.

Windows Hello will support Windows apps and Microsoft Edge

Windows Hello currently supports logging into Windows 10 using your fingerprint. In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update the support will be extended to Windows applications and Microsoft Edge so that you can login to apps and websites securely using your fingerprint.

Windows Hello enables you to easily sign into your device with enterprise-grade security. Yet, studies show over 80% of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts requiring passwords. So with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we’ve made it possible for you to use the same easy, yet strong, security of Windows Hello* with Windows apps and Microsoft Edge, the first and only browser to natively support biometrics, with supporting sites.

Windows 10 Hello PopUp

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Companion Device Framework

In The Windows 10 Anniversary Update the Companion Device Framework will allow for unlocking your PC. Windows Hello currently supports unlocking your PC with your face or fingerprint. The Anniversary Update will support unlocking your PC with a “Companion Device“. For example, your smartphone.

Windows 10 Ink Workspace

Windows Ink is an all-new experience, putting the power of Windows in the tip of your pen, enabling you to write on your device as you do on paper, creating sticky notes, drawing on a whiteboard, and easily sharing your analog thoughts in the digital world. Windows Ink is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a new “Ink Workspace“. Basically, if your pen has a button you can press it to reveal a list of apps that support ink input to quickly start writing or drawing. You will also be able to right-click on the taskbar and select “Show Ink Workspace” to enable it manually. Microsoft is planning to add ink support to more apps.

Windows 10 Stickies

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Windows 10 will have its Own Linux Command Line

Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming with a true Bash shell. It’s going to be a full Ubuntu command line running natively right in Windows, built in partnership with Canonical. It will be bundled with apt-get for downloading command line binaries, and all built-in tools you’d expect from a Linux shell.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Bash

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

This will be the full Ubuntu userspace running on Windows. Other words, Windows will be gaining the ability to run Linux binaries natively on Windows. However, it will not support server or graphical applications.

Redesigned Start Menu is Coming

Microsoft will change the way the Windows 10 Start Menu looks and works. They will remove the “All Apps” option. A full list of installed applications will be displayed on the left side of your Start Menu.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Start Menu

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Frequently used and added applications will be displayed at the top of the list. It will also display three most recently added applications instead of the current one, and can be expanded to display more applications. The File Explorer, Settings and Shutdown buttons will also be located on the left side of the Start Menu.

At least the Start Menu will not be removed again.

Task View Improvements

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update windows will be able to be pinned in the Task View interface, this will make them appear on all virtual desktops and not just one. You will be able to pin a window by right-clicking a window and selecting “Show this window on all desktops“.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update VD Show All Desktops

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

There will be a new touchpad gesture for switching between multiple desktops. You will be able to do this by placing four fingers on the touchpad and swiping left or right. This is clearly copied from Apple Macs that uses the same gesture for the same task.

Improved Taskbar

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update the taskbar clock will be integrated with your calendar. To see a list of calendar events you have scheduled for the day you will simply need to click on the time. From here you will also be able to add an event.

The sound panel will also be improved. To switch between output devices, you only need to click on the speaker icon. This will only work if you have more than one output device connected.

Taskbar settings will also be integrated into the Settings application at Settings -> Personalization -> Taskbar. Right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing “Settings” will also open the Taskbar Settings page.

Improved Lock Screen

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update your email address will no longer be displayed on the Lock Screen. However, you will be able to re-enable displaying your email address on the Lock Screen at Settings -> Accounts -> Sign-in options -> Privacy.

The Lock Screen

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

The Lock Screen will also have built-in media controls, that will be at the bottom right corner along with the album art of currently playing music. This will enable you to control music playback without unlocking your PC first.

You will also be able to use Cortana on your Lock Screen. You will be able to do this by going to Cortana’s Settings. Under the Lock Screen options simply activate “Let me use Cortana even when my device is locked“.

Windows Update Will Adapt to “Active Hours”

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update you will be able to set your “Active Hours“. Windows Update will then not restart your computer during these hours. This setting will be located at Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update.

Action Centre will be more Customizable

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update the Action Centre button will be located in the far right corner of the taskbar. Notifications will be grouped by application and take up less screen space. You will also be able to receive more notifications at the same time.

New Upgrade UI

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Under Settings > System > Notifications & Actions, you will be able to choose whether an application’s notifications are considered Normal, High, or Priority in the Action Centre. You will also be able to select how many notifications can be displayed at one for each app. The default will be three.

The Quick Action buttons at the bottom of Action Centre will also be customizable. You will be able to choose exactly which quick action buttons appear here. You will need to go to Settings -> System -> Notifications & actions to customize the buttons.

Updated Emojis

Microsoft stated:

We are updating the entire set of font-based emoji in Windows 10 that aligns with the Microsoft Design Language with a distinct visual style as well as the Unicode standard. These new emoji are designed to be detailed, expressive, and playful. Their larger size takes full advantage of every pixel and the two-pixel outline allows for emoji to appear on any colour background without loss of fidelity.


Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Connect Improvements on Windows Phones with Continuum

In Windows 10 Anniversary Update there will be a new “Connect” application for use with Windows 10 phones that supports Continuum. It will allow you to connect your phone to your PC without a docking station or cable. PCs with Miracast will also be able to use the new “Connect” application to duplicate their displays on other PCs. Continuum will allow you to power a Windows desktop experience from a Windows Phone.

Connect App

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

Gaming in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Xbox ControlConnect with gamers across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft Studios is bringing a full portfolio of new games to Windows 10, including Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, which will be free for Windows 10 users.

Download and play Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (Beta) for Free

Forza Motorsport 6 ApexClick here to Downlaod Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (Beta)

Please note that this ree introduction to Forza Motorsport requires a PC built for gaming. When released it will be free for Windows 10 users.

Watch the video below for more or click here to read more about it.


Other small changes

Windows 10’s Anniversary Update will include many changes and bug fixes. Here is a list of some of the smaller changes you can expect in the Anniversary Update:

  • The infamous “blue screen of death” will come with a QR code, to quickly search for solutions with your phone.
  • Each page in the Settings application will have its own icon. That icon will be used when you pin a page to the Start menu.
  • You will be able to reset an app. This is basically the same as clearing an app’s cache in Android. You will need to go to Settings -> Apps and then features to reset an app.
  • The settings for the Windows Insider Program has also moved. You will need to go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Insider Program to change the settings.
  • The Credentials and User Account Control dialogs will get a new look. When you enter credentials, Windows will allow you to choose Windows Hello, a PIN, a Certificate or a Password. This just seems like too much options.
  • File Explorer will get a new icon.

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