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The best Windows 10 Creators Update features you have to try

And a few hidden tweaks to unlock even more functionality

The Creators Update not only improves the existing features but also adds new features and apps to revamp your Windows experience. We’re assuming by now most of you must have got the update already. If not, lets dive in with the basics and ramp things up as we go along.

Get the Windows 10 Creators update

As the Windows 10 Creators update is already rolling, your Windows 10 system will get it automatically via the phased rollout. However, if you haven’t received the update prompt you can download it manually.

To do so, go to the Official Microsoft site, and click on the Update Now button. This will download the download assistant necessary for the manual update. Once it is downloaded, install it and run it. Go through the mandatory procedure and the download process will begin. Then you can go ahead and install it.

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Assistant will download the update in the background

Install fresh Windows using Cortana

If you are installing a fresh copy of Windows 10 build with Creators update, you’ll be greeted and guided by Cortana throughout the installation process. Unlike the traditional installation procedure, you can use your voice commands to install Windows 10.

Rest your weary eyes with Night Light

The Creator’s Update has added a must have feature the Night Light feature. It’s a Windows counterpart for f.lux that reduces the blue light emitted by a display.

To enable Night Light, go to Start Menu > Settings > System > Display > turn Night light on. You are also offered additional features under Night light settings like setting the colour temperature or also scheduling the Night Light mode. There’s a preset schedule that will turn on the Night Light automatically at the time of sunset and turn if off at the time of sunrise. Apart from this, if you want to set a manual schedule you may do it as well.

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Manually set the colour temperature

Try the new Paint 3D

The traditional Microsoft Paint which we all grew up using gets a massive addition in the Creators update – the Paint 3D. Yet, the old Paint still remains and does the same job as before. To start Paint 3D, search and launch Paint 3D in the start menu. After creating a new project, on the top, you’ll find the navigator that lets you choose between Tools, 3D objects, Stickers, Text, Effects, and Canvas. Clicking on the 3D objects button at the top will allow you to choose from 3D models, 3D objects, and also 3D Doodles.

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Use the 3D doodle for free hand 3D drawing

Preview pages in Edge browser

Compiled with a plethora of features, Edge could now make its place in the browser race. One of these revamped features is the ability to preview pages. This feature lets you see a thumbnail view of other tabs providing a sneak peek of whether the page has been loaded or the video has been buffered. To do this, open the browser, and click on the drop down arrow button placed at the top next to your last tab. You can also use these thumbnails as tabs to navigate between different tabs by clicking on it.

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Get the real-time view of your tabs in the thumbnail

Use Edge as primary e-reader

Edge now also supports ePUBs. Instead of using third-party apps to read eBooks, you can do it right from your browser. When you purchase an ebook from the Windows Store, it will appear in the new Books section located between reading list and history. To go to the Book section, click on Hub icon (denoted by three lines) > Books.

Set tabs aside

If you always work with a lot of tabs the “Set tabs aside” feature will make a group of the current active tabs and set it aside. This will give you a clean slate to work with other tabs. To do this, click on the “Set these tabs aside” icon located on the top-left corner just before your first tab. To find the tabs that you have set aside, click on the “Tabs you’ve set aside” icon next to the “Set these tabs aside” icon. Once you are done with your work and want the previous tabs back, go to “Tabs you’ve set aside” and click on “Restore tabs”. This will bring back all the tabs.

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Click on each thumbnail to restore it individually

Have more control over your privacy

Starting from the Creators update, Microsoft is being transparent about what kind of data it collects. To find privacy settings, just search for “Privacy settings” in the start menu. The privacy settings allow you to turn off the permission to let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app usage. It also provides an option to turn off the permission for websites to access language list.

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Review these settings before you start using Windows

Group tiles into folders in start menu

To clear the clutter in the star menu, starting from the Creators update, Windows allows you to group multiple tiles in a single tile folder. This feature has been a part of Windows Phone for a long time, however, it has made its way to the desktop operating system now. To group multiple tiles into a single folder, drag a tile that you want to add on top of another and drop it. This will create a folder with those two tiles. To add more tiles to the folder, simply drag and drop other tiles into the folder. Just like other tiles, you can also resize the folder. To do it, right-click on the folder > resize > select the size you want.

Windows Creators Update
Optimise start menu space by using folders of different sizes.

Set a custom background colour and accent

To set custom colour to the desktop background, go to Settings app > Personalisation > Background. Choose the fit to Center or Fill, click on the “+” next to the custom colour > select your desired colour. If you have a particular hex colour code, you may also enter it by clicking on the More button.

To set custom accent colour, click on Colors tab located at the left, followed by “+” Custom color button. Choose the custom colour you want. You can see the realtime preview of the new colour on the buttons, hit “Done” when you have the colour you want.

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You can also choose between RGB and HSV colour scheme.

Enable Dynamic locking system

The Dynamic lock feature connects between your phone and your PC using Bluetooth to automatically lock your PC when your phone goes out of range. This is a neat feature aimed at offering a different level of security. To enable dynamic locking, first, pair your smartphone with your Windows desktop using Bluetooth. Navigate to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > under Dynamic lock enable “Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device”.
Henceforth, if you leave your PC unlocked and move away with your phone from the proximity your PC will be automatically locked after 30 seconds. However, if someone intercepts the PC before it locks it will not lock. Bluetooth connectivity is not that reliable so sometimes it won’t work as expected.

Windows Creators Update
Don’t totally rely on Dynamic Lock, use it just for the backup.

Get themes via the store

Themes for your Windows 10 system can be downloaded from the store. Here’s the hotlink to directly redirect to the theme section of the store: http://aka.ms/themesinstore
To get a theme, select a theme and click on the “Get” button. This will download the theme on your system. To apply the downloaded theme, go to Settings > Personalization > Themes > Select downloaded theme.

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Click on the “Get more themes in the Store” button to directly go to the themes section of the Store

Set recurring reminders with Cortana

Among the few new abilities of Cortana, you can set recurring monthly reminders. Click on the “Ask me anything” field and ask it to set a reminder. To recur, click on “Only once” > Select everyday or specific days of the month or week. Once everything is alright, click on “Remind” button.

Try the new Game Mode

Game Mode on Windows 10 prioritises your game over other programs running on the system and allocates all the computing resources to the game.

Game mode automatically turns on when a game starts. This only works if the game is downloaded from the Windows Store. However, if you want to enable it manually, run the game and use the Windows hotkey: Windows logo + G. Click on the “Settings” icon > check “Use Game mode for this game”. This will enable game mode.

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If the game bar doesn’t open, run the game in window mode.

Use Picture-in-Picture mode

If you are working with video-focused programs, you can use the picture-in-picture mode to use multiple applications at once. To use picture-in-picture mode, first, play some content on Films & TV app. As the video starts, you’ll see a small box button on the control bar next to the full-screen button. Click on the button and you’ll be into the picture-in-picture mode.

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Picture-in-picture mode is also known as mini-mode

Annotate over pictures and maps

The Creator’s update adds the inking feature to the Photos app. This can be used to quickly annotate pictures to share on social media. To annotate a picture, open the photo using Photos app, click on Draw and choose your brush. Annotate your photo and click on the Save button to save a copy of that photo as the annotated version.

Similarly, you can also annotate in maps. Launch the Maps app, click on the brush button (Windows Ink toolbar) located at the top-right corner of the screen. Select the brush you want to use followed by the brush colour and the size. To start drawing, select the “Touch writing” button from the menu.

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You can’t draw without selecting “Touch writing” tool.

Broadcast your game

The new update has also added the ability to broadcast your game using Beam. This makes it easy to broadcast your game without using any extra software. Additionally, Beam’s low-latency technology enables broadcasters to stream their gameplay without experiencing lag. To broadcast a game, open the game bar (Windows key + G) while playing a game and click on Broadcast.

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To broadcast using Beam, sign in to your Microsoft account first.

This article was first published in May 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.

Varad Choudhari

Varad Choudhari