It’s already been a year since Microsoft launched Windows 10, and we have had a couple of updates since release. The biggest update yet though is the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which was codenamed Redstone throughout its development. It’s the first major branch from the launch codebase, which was codenamed Threshold. With it, Microsoft has added a lot of new features, polished some of the  interface , and overall provided a nice update to those on Windows 10.

The Road to Redstone

Windows 10 had a pretty strong launch, although the company did stumble a bit through some controversy over the last year: especially in the area of the collection of data from the operating system. Windows 10 was a big change in policy for Microsoft, with the goal of being able to improve the experience however there was a period of time where the answers from the Redmond company were vague at best. Much of that has been answered now, and although the answers won’t appease everyone the end result of anonymous telemetry data can certainly be seen with this update. With this update, we see fixes for many user interface issues, as well as the constant squashing of bugs. There was also plenty of deserved controversy around the underhanded Get Windows 10 dialogs on older versions of the Operating System. Confusing would be an understatement, and the dialogs got progressively more deceitful over the year, until only recently a large outcry resulted in the company accepting that they had gone to far and toned them back.

Despite the controversy, Windows 10 has been pretty successful over the last year. The last update from Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi on June 29th was that there were over 350 million devices running Windows 10 now, which is a pretty healthy number considering the decline in the PC market. Windows 10 is also a big part of the Xbox One, and it also includes IoT and Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft had set a target of 1 billion devices running Windows 10 by mid-2018, and although they have admitted they likely won’t hit that goal now with the practical exit of the phone market, they still could hit that mark later in their 2018 fiscal year.

Part of that initial uptake in Windows 10 was due to the already mentioned free Windows 10 Update for all computers running Windows 7 or later. This was the first time ever that Microsoft has taken the tactic of eliminating the upgrade fee, but they had a couple of reasons to do so. In enabling their users to move to Windows 10, it would expand the reach of their built-in services, including OneDrive, Bing, and the Windows Store. The other motivating factor was that Microsoft was pretty eager to avoid another mess that they had with Windows XP, where a big chunk of their user base was stuck on an outdated version of the operating system. For the users, it meant a lot of money in support, as well as long term legacy teams back at Microsoft. Windows 7 was certainly set up to be the same, with a solid framework and stable platform, and we will see how they make out when Windows 7 starts to run into the end of its long term support window. Already they’ve seen some large corporations make the move to Windows 10, with many more actively piloting it now, so perhaps the XP mess might have been avoided.

But enough about the past. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a lot of welcome changes to Windows 10, and many of them have been actively adjusted based on almost real-time feedback from what is most certainly Microsoft’s most successful software beta program yet. The Windows Insider Program has been a huge success for the company, with millions of active users providing feedback on changes, implementations, and bugs. The program has received over 70,000,000 pieces of feedback this year alone, and was a driving factor on many of the changes in this update. 

Let’s dig into what’s new.

Windows 10 Gets Polished
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  • tipoo - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    I hope you don't use any google services, or heck even just have a continual web presence at all since no doubt you're being run through a number of analytics programs already.

    Me, I couldn't care less that some anonymized telemetrics are sent to MS. It already happened with earlier error reporting.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    Then I'm sure you wouldn't mind a camera being placed in every public toilet, so that the government could watch you do your business, you know, just in case a terrorist decides to attempt to blow open another toilet with explosives. I mean, everyone uses the bathroom, right? There's nothing wrong that you're doing, so you wouldn't abject to being monitored while you do your business, right?

    Here's my point:
    Just because you're doing nothing wrong gives nobody any right to monitor your every movement across the net. Being blind to the fact that Microsoft is literally spying on millions of people and also monetarily PROFITING from that surveillance just makes the situation worse by establishing that online surveillance is "OK" for millions of normal people using their computers and internet services in law abiding ways.
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    MS does not profit from it directly, you`re thinking of goog.
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    + 48^12 upvotes.
  • prophet001 - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    You best stop using computers which are connected to other ones.
  • MrTuKer - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - link

    I don't understand the criticism from people here, lot of people seem to think MS can do no wrong even if they are copying tactics that other companies use that are criticized by everyone ?
    What Google and Apple do is not right and by MS copying them it still doesn't mean that it is right ! Didn't you mom ever tell you that two wrongs don't make a right well let me tell you a little secret three wrongs still don't make a right either !
    And who in their right mind doesn't think MS doesn't profit directly from its surveillance needs to goto the funny farm ASAP - Indirectly or directly it doesn't matter - Yes I'm talking aboy both MS and going to the funny farm !
    Yes I have used MS Windows since Win 3.0 and have used most but avoided Vista, Millienium, and Win 8.0/8.1 - I jumped straight from Win 7 64 Pro on day 1 of Win 10 release obviously after imaging my SSD to another SSD, I went through the pain of trying to be acclimatised to Win 10, I gave it 3 months but finally gave up and went back to Win 7. Even then it took me a day or two to become re-familiarized with Win 7, then slowly over the next 3-4 months I noticed Windows updates taking longer and generally my i7 Alienware was starting to feel generally sluggish. I had heard about the backporting of telemetry to Win 7 also and finally I had enough one night thought I would just give Linux a bash on the Win 10 SSD and I haven't looked back since.
    No this is not a Win 10 bashing, no it is not a Linux advert.
    All I can say is that in my opinion and OS should just be that - An OS, nothing more nothing less.
    It can have a GUI or not, its your choice.
    But it should not spy on you - hey Google and Apple and Microsoft are you listening - That is what all Governments do even though they never like to admit it and I don't agree with that either unless it is done with a warrant from a Judge - But I digress !
    An OS should be an OS and nothing else, the apps that you want you install or maybe a selection are installed for you but these can be uninstalled to be replaced with your chosen one's or not - whatever the case maybe !
    An OS should not lock you into a particular browser or search engine or whatever, this is taking choice away from the user and the excuse that well if the user doesn't like it then they can always use another OS is not the right attitude.
    Also stopping the uninstalling or removing of certain features is not good for the user only the OS supplier who is collecting your private data !
    Remember when a certain company was forced to have it's browser removed in Europe as it was seen as being unfair to the competition !
    Well, MS needs to be careful as it could happen again, EU is already looking into MS with Win 10 and its data mining and transferring said info back to the USA as a breach of EU Laws !
    I'm sure I could say many other things and some clever spark with counter my comments with sarcastic one's or just call me a Windows hater but I have been using Windows since 1990 so I can counter that point, what I will say is I just prefer the old Win 7 64 Pro, its style, its responsiveness before Win 10 came along ! Because whatever MS was doing via the WU it certainly slowed my i7 Alienware (16GB Ram 512GB SSD 980M GPU) and its not a low spec machine aswell as Win Updates were taking ages to download aswell as all the other stuff MS were trying to do to get people onto Win 10 - MS is the reason I decided to leave the Windows ECO system - its is that simple - Linux serves my purposes 100%, it can do everything that Windows did for me and more, it even has a lovely Win 7 style GUI called Cinnamon. But the one reason alone that I love it above all else - What I do on my machine is private, what I do on the Web is not, what search engine I use means they can data mine that, what websites I visit will data mine me etc, I don't use cloud services so no worries there , I don't have Cortana or any other mic software listening or viewing my webcam without my express permission. If I use email and I acknowledge that its not private unless its encrypted.
    But what I do on my PC is private, its that simple !
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    "Every other company is doing it on the web, so it's okay for Microsoft to do it at a local level using the computer's OS." -tipoo
  • Notmyusualid - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link


    Your wi-fi password being shared out, because your brother has 'friended' someone on Facebook?

    Your contacts being read & collected?

    Your keystrokes being read & collected?

    Come on.
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    Or more simply put, "Microsoft catching up with Google and Apple".

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