Despite the somewhat sad but inevitable news that Microsoft has put Windows Mobile in hibernation (or a medically induced coma), Microsoft is pushing ahead with its Windows as a service mantra. Despite its mobile cousin falling over in a heap, Windows 10 itself is still going strong, and Microsoft has been busy building updates and features into the operating system. Its next major upgrade, the Fall Creators Update is scheduled for release on 17 October 2017. It’s now available for those who want to be early adopters on the Release Preview ring of the Windows Insider Program.
For those who are on the Windows Insiders Program, it’s actually quite an interesting experience. If you’re adventurous, you can get updates that brick your install, forcing you to reinstall Windows. Which is fun, to say the least. But when it works well, you get introduced to new features early and provide feedback as development kicks on.
There are several layers to the program, to those who are unfamiliar with it. The Skip Ahead ring, which is sort of like tasting alien food with a blindfold on. Much of the stuff that comes out is probably in alpha or early beta stage. The Fast Ring is where new features are developed, but still buggy. Slow Ring sees things mostly complete, but with far fewer updates. Finally, the Release Preview Ring is for those who want the final product early, but don’t want to take risks.
With the finalisation of the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has now pushed the code out to the Release Preview Ring. This signals all hands are ready for mass release, though the update could take some time to filter through the hundreds of millions of machines running Windows 10. The build number is 16299.15, which had already been released on to the Slow Ring some time ago.
As had been signalled by Microsoft, the Fall Creators Update will bring visual changes to Windows 10. The company has had enough of the ultra-flat design of its Modern Design Language, and has now moved towards adding back visual complexity with transparency layers, depth and movement into its applications with Fluent Design. One of the first of the in-house apps to receive the Fluent treatment was Groove Music. Just like Windows Vista attempted with Aero, but failed because Vista was a stinking pile of…well, you-know-what.
Other major features of the Fall Creators Update include:
- Enhancements to Windows Shell, which is the Taskbar, Action Centre and anything else you interact with,
- Enhancements to Edge, not that you’ll use it for anything other than installing Firefox Quantum,
- Improvements to input, Emojis and pen functions,
- Better Settings app for more control, plus
- A whole host of other under the hood stuff.
If you’re feeling like you want to get ahead of the upgrade game and want the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in advance, hop on to your Windows Update centre and sign up for the Windows Insider Program. You’ll need to get on to either the Release Preview or Slow Rings to have the update begin to download.