What’s new in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Windows Ink

Windows Ink[1] is a new feature in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that lets you easily capture ideas and turn them into actions; requires active pen capability on device.

  • Capture ideas quickly and naturally. Windows Ink makes it quick and easy to take a note, sketch on a screenshot, or draw an idea. You can bring up ink workspaces, even above the lock screen, just by clicking the top of your digital pen[2].
  • Smart Sticky Notes. Sticky Notes know what to do: jot down a few items and they turn into a checklist; write an email address and it tees up in your Mail app. With Cortana enabled, you can also set reminders that flow across your devices and reach you at the right time and place[3].
  • Amazing with Office. Windows Ink works great with Office[4], so it’s quick and easy to use a digital pen to edit docs and provide feedback. Also, if you start drawing a circle or square, Windows Ink transforms it into the perfectly-drawn shape you intended.
  • Write and draw on apps. Windows Ink works with all kinds of apps, from built-ins like Maps, Photos, Videos, Messenger, and Microsoft Edge to lots of creator and maker apps from brands like Adobe.
  • Great with OneNote. Windows Ink and OneNote work together to enhance learning and problem-solving. You can record written notes to play back in sequence, which is useful for understanding the steps in a thought process[5].

Windows Hello

Windows Hello is the feature that let users quickly sign in to their devices with just a look or a touch, so it’s faster and more secure than using passwords[6].

  • Quick sign-in to apps and websites. Windows Hello now works with compatible apps like iHeartRADIO and DropBox, so you can sign in fast and password-free. It works with websites too, as long as you're using Microsoft Edge.
  • Use your companion devices to unlock your PC. Windows Hello now lets you use your phone, Microsoft Band and other companion devices to quickly unlock your Windows PC without using a password, giving you more choices for quick, secured sign-ins[7].


Cortana has even more ways to help you remember tasks and important details and keep in sync across devices; is now above lock for faster access[8].

  • Better finding and remembering. In addition to helping set reminders, Cortana helps save and recall information, like your frequent flyer number or where you parked. Reminders are richer and easier because you can add photos (say, a pic of a bottle of wine that you liked) or set reminders directly from Windows apps like Microsoft Edge.
  • Keeping you in sync across all your devices. Cortana can move easily between Windows 10 devices and iPhone, Android and Cyanogen phones. This lets you get and respond to phone notifications – like a low-battery alert, or WhatsApp, text and Glympse messages—right from your PC, and instantly share directions from your PC to your phone.
  • Experts to help. Cortana has a team of experts – more than a thousand apps and services – that she partners with to help you get things done. Want to see a TV show: Cortana connects with Hulu1 to cue it up for you. Working late at the office: Cortana suggests using JustEat to have dinner delivered.
  • Easier access to Cortana. We’ve also brought Cortana above your lock screen so you can do things like ask a question, play music from your PC, or set a reminder even while your device is locked. Perfect for when you need something quickly.
  • More markets. Cortana is now available in Mexico (Spanish) and Brazil (Portuguese) as well in French in Canada.


Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is the new browser that debuted in Windows 10 and continues to be enhanced.

  • Extensions are here. Extensions have come to Microsoft Edge, letting users easily add new functionality to what their browser can do. With extensions from the Windows Store, users can add capabilities like password management, ad blocking, page translations, saving to Pinterest and much more.
  • Improvements to favorites bar. With your favorites bar enabled, you can right-click on the favorites bar to have it show the favicons only, for a more efficient use of space. Another right-click lets you add new folders for organization.
  • Clear browsing data for more privacy. You can now choose to have your browsing data cleared every time you close your Microsoft Edge browser. This automatic action includes the ability to select which browsing elements are cleared
  • Pinned Tabs in Microsoft Edge. It’s easier than ever to keep your most-used sites and web apps available at the top left of your browser window. Right-clicking in the tab lets you pin the tab which shows just the site favicon.
  • Easy list of tab history. With an easy right-click of your back button, you can see the full history of that tab – great for remembering where you were.
  • Other improvements. You can now copy any link into your clipboard, and right-click on the address bar in Microsoft Edge and choose “Paste and go” from the context menu. Microsoft Edge pastes the URL into the address bar, and navigates to the site. You can also copy words to your clipboard, and choose “Paste and search”.

Xbox gaming

Xbox gaming is better than ever, with great new games, the ability to play them across your favorite devices, and more ways to connect to your gaming community.

  • Xbox Play Anywhere. Play or pick up from any other Xbox One or PC with Xbox Play Anywhere titles, so you can bring all your saves, game add-ons, and achievements with you.
  • Great new games. Great new Xbox Play Anywhere titles -- like Gears of War 4, ReCore, Halo Wars 2, Sea of Thieves, and more – let you game across your devices.
  • 4K resolution. In addition to the stunning performance of DirectX 12, you can now enjoy games like Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4 in native 4K resolution[9].
  • More connections via Xbox app. In addition to Xbox One and Windows 10 devices, the Xbox app brings together your friends, games, and accomplishments across iOS and Android devices too[10].

Tablet Mode

Tablet Mode – formerly known as Continuum desktop – is what kicks in when you want to use your 2in1 device or touchscreen laptop as a tablet; new improvements include:

  • Hide the taskbar for a more immersive experience. You can now choose to auto-hide the taskbar in tablet mode – this allows apps to take full advantage of the screen for an immersive and distraction-free experience.
  • Full-screen apps list. In Tablet Mode, the All Apps list is now displayed in a full-screen view -- instead of in a long vertical rail down the side -- so it’s easier to see and find apps.

Windows Store

We’re bringing together the best of the Windows Store and Xbox Store to give you a cohesive experience across your devices. An updated interface helps you find content faster, plus you can purchase game and app bundles, subscriptions including Xbox Live Gold, and pre-orders and pre-downloads. With Xbox Play Anywhere, you can buy a game once and play it on your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One – your progress, saves and achievements are shared across devices.


There are improvements to the Start menu for better efficiency and discoverability.

  • Faster access to All Apps. The All Apps list is now elevated to the top level of Start menu (instead of behind an icon) for quicker one-click access to your full list of apps.
  • Easier to find new apps. With the expansion of the Recently Added apps list, you can see more of the apps that you recently downloaded, so you’re less likely to forget what you obtained.
  • Live Tiles are now chase-able. This was a top request from users and developers: make Live Tiles chase-able so you go right to the content you see on the tile. For example, if your news app shows a particular story, Windows passes this info to the app so the app can display that story front and center when you click the app’s Live Tile.

Action Center

  • More distinct and informative. The icon for Action Center is now on the far right of the taskbar, visually distinct from other icons so it’s easier to find. There’s also a badge over the icon that displays the number of outstanding notifications, so you get important at-a-glance info about items that call for your attention.
  • Customizable Quick Actions. There are now 14 Quick Action tiles (like VPN, Note, Tablet mode and Quiet hours) in the Action Center and you can arrange them however you want. Easily add, remove and reposition them to reflect your priorities.
  • Ability to prioritize notifications. You can manage your notification settings in order to prioritize the notifications that are most important to you – pick Normal, High or Top level of importance.

Go to dark

You can instantly change your apps from light mode to dark mode – great for low-light conditions like working at night on a plane. When you make the switch, UWP apps like Mail, Calendar and Store go to a black background, which even saves battery power with certain screen technologies.

New emoji keyboard

A new emoji keyboard features a new font and categories of expressive and playful emoji with more visual fidelity and skin tone options, available for 25 languages. There are also Windows-exclusive figures, including ninja-cat characters.

Media controls over lock screen

This was a popular request from users who play a lot of music. If you have music playing when your device enters the lock screen, you can now control music playback right from the Lock screen. This experience is nicely integrated in the lock UX and optimized for each screen.


  • Notifications at a glance. On UWP apps in the taskbar, you’ll now get information -- via badges that sit above the icon – about items you may want to addresses. For example, the Mail badge displays the number of unseen emails and the Clock badge shows that an active alarm is set. The Weather badge advises you of any weather alerts in the area.
  • Taskbar calendar flyout. You can quickly check your schedule right from the taskbar calendar flyout, with no need to launch the app. See color-coded items and availability status easily and quickly add a new event with the + sign. The agenda view auto-scrolls to your next event and you can click on an event to quickly open the app to edit.

Clock (and flyout) on all monitors

Whether you’re gaming or working across separate monitors, you can now have the clock show on all displays, so you can check the time or your schedule without disrupting your task.

Replicate a window across all desktops

When working in multiple virtual desktops, you can pin a window so it’s available on every desktop. This allows you to have any app (like Skype or Groove Music) always available whatever desktop you’re working in.


[1] Touch capable device required. Pen accessory may be sold separately.

[2] User must enable in settings and have a Bluetooth button on pen.

[3] Cortana is available in select markets; experience may vary by region and device.

[4] Office may be sold separately.

[5] Available to Office 365 subscribers in OneNote for Windows 10. Inking capabilities vary by platform.

[6] Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.

[7] Available for select premium phones and selected Windows 10 editions. Requires PC and phone to be joined in Azure Active Directory or Active Directory and paired via Bluetooth.

[8] Cortana app required for Android and iOS devices (Requires Android version 4.1.2 or higher, or iPhone 4 with iOS 8.0 or higher). Cross-device scenarios only available on Windows and Android phones.

[9] PC hardware requirements may vary for games on Windows 10. Games sold separately. 4K functionality available with supported games, monitors, and graphics chips. DirectX 12 only available with supported games and graphics chips. Check PC to determine graphics chip compatibility. Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4 coming soon.

[10] Available on iOS 8.0 and above, Android 4.0 and above.

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