Windows Creators Update Is Full of Neat Tricks You'll Never Use

It’s official: Come April 11, the Windows 10 Creators Update will begin slowly rolling out to every Windows 10 machine on the planet—whether you want it on said machine or not. Microsoft is clearly fond of the ample changes it made when launching Windows 10 back in 2015 because two years after its initial release, the operating system is on its third major update, and Microsoft seems to have nothing truly spectacular to add.

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Sure, there’s Game Mode, which Microsoft claims will streamline background applications so they don’t eat up processing power better spent on the apps in the foreground, and yes, Privacy Settings are simpler, so it’s easier to figure out what you’re sharing with Microsoft. But overall, the latest iteration of Windows is jam-packed with incredible features that feel impossibly niche—useful for only a small fraction of Windows’ millions of users.

That said...they’re still kind of cool.

You can draw on everything now

Microsoft is no longer the company that evokes images of pocket protectors and taped eyeglasses. Microsoft is kind of sort of cool now, and it wants all those cool, creative types that have used MacOS up until now. One way Microsoft has attempted to woo those users over is with devices like the Surface Book, Surface Pro, and Surface Studio. Another way is by letting those new users draw on everything via Windows Ink and a stylus.

Ever wanted to draw a mustache on a photo of your BFF? You can do that now in Photos. Need to draw a mustache on a video of your BFF? You can do that too. Ditto annotating files in Word, and doodling on web pages in Edge.

Needed to figure out a distance on a map and don’t feel like punching in some addresses? Pop open Microsoft Maps and just draw a line. The app will calculate it.

You can buy ebooks from Windows now

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If, for some very strange reason, you have not already settled on a store from which to purchase all your ebooks, and you have not, for some very strange reason, selected an e-reader to read those books with already, then rejoice fair Windows 10 Creators Update user. Because Microsoft now has a bookstore, efficiently called Books in the Windows Store, and you can read those books, which Microsoft promises Gizmodo will be a mix of old public domain classics and new bestsellers, on Window’s built-in browser, Edge.

It’s a neat feature...for the few of us who occasionally happen upon an ePub and don’t especially want to track down a 10-year old digital e-reader just to read it. I think there might be twelve of us. (Hi guys.)

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You can create 3D dogs in MS Paint now

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You grew up using Microsoft Paint because everyone grew up using Microsoft Paint. Most of us still can’t use Photoshop, but we can create some rad damn art in MS Paint that looks like it was created by a toddler.

Microsoft recognizes that we all need to screw around in the original art program for people too cheap to use anything else, so it’s now updating the experience for a new generation by giving you the ability to create entire 3D landscapes in MS Paint.

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They still look like they were rendered in Paint—which means they look less like something you’d see in a good movie and more like a still from a CGI straight-to-video Barbie film, but that doesn’t stop them from being cool.

Of course MS Paint is still completely useful from a productivity standpoint. You will not, and should not, craft presentations or high school class projects in MS Paint. But if you’re a middle schooler or younger, then prepare to get baby’s first introduction to 3D art creation.

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Microsoft Edge actually feels like a productive browser

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Some of the biggest strides made in the Creators Update are found in the Edge browser. For example, Edge lets you watch Netflix in 4K. To date its the only browser you can do that in.

Microsoft has also added visual preview thumbnails for tabs, so you can know what’s going on in a tab without clicking over. The browser has also added the ability to emergency bookmark and close every open tab in your browser. That’s a great feature if you have too many tabs open and want to declutter things without losing the pages you navigated to.

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While all these features are available in Edge, you can get most of them via extensions in Chrome or Firefox.

You can livestream with zero delay (and zero audience)

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Last year Microsoft acquired Beam, a livestream platform that’s a competitor to huge companies like Twitch and YouTube. Now the software is built directly into Windows. Beam is actually kind of incredible. I love being able to stream seamlessly from my desktop, and in my tests, I was able to stream video games without degrading graphics performance, as often happens with Twitch or YouTube.

Beam also dramatically cuts down latency, so viewers see things happening on their screen at almost the exact same time they happen on yours. That’s amazing! But the benefits of Beam only work when watching on the Beam website, which is an experience nowhere near as robust as Twitch or YouTube.

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And you’re going to have a terrible time growing an audience. Last night Beam had 716 users watching Minecraft streams. Twitch had 4,787.

DISCUSSION

By
PV

Does anyone get the impression that Microsoft is getting tired of other people not doing their work for them?

I have a feeling that they thought for the longest time that “we’ll make the apps everyone wants to use and intel will make the processors and there will be a lot of cheap PC’s with a few really great showcases that will show everyone we better than Apple!

...

Uh, guys, lots of cheap PC’s and even more crap? What’s the deal?

...

Still waiting over here.

...”

(after 2 decades)

“Okay... we’ll try this, its our first foray into something niche and cool. We’re calling it ‘Surface’! It costs $40,000 and keeps digital track of the drinks on your table!”

*Sound of crickets*

“Still wating on those showcase computers people. We’re not digging how you guys put awesome graphics in computers that weigh 20 pounds and have 1280x720 screens... and then put crappy graphics in computers that weigh 2lbs and have 3840x2160 displays and feel like they’ll far apart if you sneeze on them. Guys, come on!”

(move another couple years)

“... Fuck it.

Here’s what tablets you fucks should have made!” *Microsoft casts Surface!* “The Surface Tablet! Powered by atom, running windows RT”

*sound of yawning*

“Shit.”

(a few months)

*Microsoft casts Surface Pro with windows 8* “Try this one!”

*eye blinking sounds, and the sound of one hand clapping.* World: “UI is good for tablet, bad for PC. (a)bort, (r)etry, or (f)ail?”

*slams R key repeatedly* “Here’s the surface 2"

World: “This is kind of handy.”

*continues to slam the R key* “Surface 3!”

World: “Ohhh!!!! Daddy like!”

*Casts Surface Pro one more time* “How ‘bout now fuckers?”

World: “Our computers are finally starting to look better! People are putting high def displays with high def cards in Laptops! People aren’t building everything with plastic anymore! Surface Pro is good! There are others catching up. We’ll give you this one Microsoft. But what’s this shit with the Surface Book? That hinge is all sorts of question mark for a computer that costs that much... and that surface PC thing? Really? But you might be good with windows 10. Being free for a very long time helped because paying for this shit so we can pay for more shit kinda sucks ballz.”

*Microsoft grumbles* “At least you didn’t notice us moving everything to a subscription platform. We’ll get you idiots to pay month-to-month if it kills us.”

World: “Maybe MacOS is starting to look good again...”