Five reasons why you need the Windows 10 Anniversary update

Microsoft has announced it will release the Windows 10 Anniversary update for free on August 2. The latest version of Windows 10, which has been installed on more than 350 million devices since it was made available last summer, will feature increased security, enhanced power efficiency, better notetaking capabilities and improvements to the Cortana digital assistant.

Here are five reasons why you need the update:

Windows Ink

The new update allows people to write on their device screen as easily as if they were writing on paper. Ink works with Microsoft Office and Maps, as well as Edge, meaning you can make your own notes on documents, travel plans and web pages.

Billions of post-it notes are sold each year and more than 70% of people spend more than an hour a day using a pen, so using your finger or the Microsoft Surface Pen to write directly on the screen will save time and increase productivity.

Windows Hello

The days of trying to remember passwords, or writing them down are over.

Windows Hello currently allows people to log into their PC or Surface just by looking at their device’s camera or using their fingerprint. Microsoft has announced Hello will now work with certain third-party websites.

Using Microsoft Edge, users of these and many more websites will be able to choose to log in using Windows Hello instead of typing in a password. As Windows Hello uses your face or fingerprint to ensure you are who you claim to be online – utilising infrared technology to recognize you in a variety of lighting conditions – so it is more secure than entering a password, which can be stolen and used by third-parties.

Increased security

Windows 10 Anniversary update offers users increased security. Windows Defender anti-malware has been improved with the option to automatically schedule quick scans of your computer. Notifications and summaries when those scans are completed can alert users to any threats. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection detects, investigates and responds to malicious attacks, backed up by the world’s largest array of hacker sensors and security experts at Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Windows Information Protection defends businesses from accidental data leaks by separating personal and company data.

Cortana

Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, can now remember information so you can use it at a later date across multiple devices – ask her a question on your PC and she can answer it later on your Surface. Cortana will now also appear on the lock screen, so interaction with her is even easier. Cortana can help you find things on your PC, manage your calendar, track packages, find files, chat with you and tell jokes. The more you use Cortana, the more personalized your experience will be.

Cortana is also coming to Xbox One amid a raft of new changes on the console. Cortana can help people find new games, interact with friends or turn on the console simply by the user saying, “Hey Cortana, Xbox On” if they’re using Kinect.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft has revealed power-saving improvements to Microsoft Edge, which now consumes less memory and minimizes the impact of background activity and peripheral content such as Flash adverts. Microsoft Edge Extensions, like Pinterest’s Pin it Button, Amazon Assistant and others, will also be available in the Windows Store.

The new accessibility architecture for Microsoft Edge also now supports modern web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and ARIA. With this update, page structure and content are exposed more clearly with assistive technology. Visual presentation of web pages in high contrast mode provides additional visual context, while preserving text contrast. Also, form entry when using keyboard navigation and screen readers improve the browsing experience for people of all abilities.

Those looking to download the Anniversary edition should take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 before July 29.