The days of trying to remember passwords could be over after Microsoft unveiled plans to allow Windows users to log into websites using just their face.
The move is part of the Windows 10 Anniversary update, which will be released for free on August 2 and features increased security, enhanced power efficiency, better notetaking capabilities and improvements to the Cortana digital assistant.
One of the biggest upgrades is to Windows Hello, which 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, it is more secure than entering a password, which can be stolen and used by third-parties.
The Windows 10 Anniversary update also includes Windows Ink, a new feature that allows users to write on any device as they would do 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.
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 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.
Other new gaming features include Xbox Play Anywhere, which allows people to buy a game once and then play it seamlessly on a Windows 10 PC or Xbox One. The player’s achievements, saved games and progress will all be transferred between their devices, so you can play your game anywhere and at any time.
Following fan requests, gamers can now choose any supported language on Xbox One, regardless of their location. The new Xbox One S, announced recently and released in August, will include the Anniversary update as standard.
The update for Windows 10, which was released last summer and is now running on more than 350 million devices worldwide, makes the PCs it is installed on even more secure.
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.
Elsewhere, there are power-saving improvements to Microsoft Edge, which now consumes less memory and minimizes the impact of background activity.
“When we introduced Windows 10, our vision was not only to deliver the best and most secure version of the operating system ever, it was also to create an experience that would keep getting better. The Windows 10 Anniversary update is a great example of this – and we look forward to building on it even further in the future,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice-president of Windows and Devices.
To celebrate the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary update, Microsoft is giving students a 10% discount on all Surface devices and accessories – including the new one-terabyte Surface Book and Surface Pro 4. The new Surface devices will be available from Dixons, Amazon, John Lewis and the Microsoft Store.
Students purchasing via the Microsoft Store will also receive a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan and a free sleeve and pen tip kit.
Those looking to download the Anniversary edition should take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 before July 29.