The next major update to Microsoft’s dominant operating system will start rolling out April 11. The “Creators Update” will provide design and gaming tools and make the Microsoft Edge browser easier to use.
Microsoft’s next major update to its dominant PC operating system, Windows 10, will launch April 11.
The coming “Creator’s Update” seeks to do exactly what its name suggests: cater to a customer’s creative side with easy-to-use design and gaming tools.
The release, which was announced last fall, introduces a 3D program for classic drawing application Paint, as well as a way to easily organize tabs in the Microsoft Edge browser and a setting that will make gaming a computing priority.
“The PC has been that place where you create, where you are productive,” said Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president who oversees Windows and Devices marketing. “We asked, ‘how do we unlock the creator in each of us?’ ”
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Security fixes and minor tweaks make their way to Windows 10 automatically every few weeks, with larger updates that add multiple features arriving at a pace of about twice a year.
Microsoft has replaced the technical designations that Windows updates have carried historically — like Windows 7 SP1 — with branding. Hence last year’s “Anniversary Update” and, on April 11, the “Creators Update.”
That branding is partly an effort to direct Microsoft’s marketing machine against Apple, the company’s chief rival in desktop operating systems. High-end artists, designers and creative types have tended to favor Macs over Windows PCs, and Microsoft last year announced its intention to go after that market with its Surface Studio PC.
The Creator’s Update will likely meld into the background for most users of Windows 10, said Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans. It will make the system run smoother, but its features will really stand out only for people in certain targeted categories.
Gamers, for example, will have the option of putting their device in “game mode,” a systems-level setting that prioritizes programs running on the device. It gives more resources to the game while customers are playing, making it run faster and smoother.
For designers, or really anyone who likes to draw, new features let them move past 2D art and create 3D pictures using Paint. They’ll also be able to pull pre-made 3D pictures or objects from Remix3D.com to add to their photos.
Other features have appeal for pretty much anyone who surfs the web. The Microsoft Edge browser is getting a polish, and more organizational perks for those that like to open dozens of tabs at once.
With the updated version, customers can review small thumbnails of tabs and preview the content in a sidebar before deciding to reopen the tab.
Mehdi said this version of Edge may be a “tipping point” for the browser, which is still dwarfed by leader Google Chrome, though its users are growing every month. It maximizes battery life and aims to be a slick experience for Windows users, he said.
Microsoft has hit a few speed bumps in the last couple of years as it switched to a model where it updates Windows more frequently, rather than releasing new Windows versions every few years.
It faces lawsuits from the launch of Windows 10 in 2015, when people said their computers were being automatically updated to the new operating system, with a confusing opt-out process.
One suit was filed last week in Illinois by three people who claim the update caused them to lose data. Microsoft said the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit.
Since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has changed its update procedures.
The Creator’s Update will be the first to feature an update scheduler, letting people pick a day and time when they want their system to update. Customers can choose to install the update immediately or delay it for up to three days.
The company has seen an improvement in customer satisfaction since it implemented updating changes, Mehdi said.
“We try and stay humble,” he said. “We know there’s always a lot to do.”
The company is still grappling with how exactly to develop the updates faster, analyst Kleynhans said. Several features that were originally expected to be in the Creator’s Update won’t be, he said.
“They’re learning how much they can bite off and actually deal with in the time frame they need,” he said.
Microsoft has faced “a few rough edges” by switching to the new updating model, Kleynhans said, but it is improving with each update.
“This new approach, while it can be a little painful at times, I think it’s going to result in better product, better responsiveness in the market and with users getting a refreshing of systems on a more regular basis,” he said.
Windows 10 is now running on 400 million devices, Microsoft said, and updates will start rolling out on the April release date.
As is common for the company’s software updates, it will take a few weeks before the new update reaches all 400 million devices, although people can choose to update any time after April 11.