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RAY SAITZ: Online

Windows 10 updates itself again: What Peterborough users should know

Ray Saitz, a Peterborough resident and teacher, writes a weekly column on the Internet.

By Ray Saitz

Get ready for another Windows 10 update.It's called the Fall Creators Update and was supposed to begin rolling out on Tuesday, so all of you running Windows 10 get ready for another episode where your computer will be out of service for an extended time as the update is installed.

Whether you are going to be thrilled or perplexed by the new version will largely depend on how many of the new features you'll discover and learn how to use on your Win 10 computer or mobile device.

Many of the immediate changes you'll notice are cosmetic.Microsoft has been promoting its Fluent Design System which will change the user interface, called the UI for short.Some things you may notice will be that the windows of open apps may look frosted or semi-transparent, the scroll bar on the side of the screen will not be visible until you mouse over it, and there is a lot more motion and "cool" 3D lighting effects.Many of these changes are geared for developers and the system will be introduced in stages rather than all at once, so get ready for more effects to become noticeable in the future.

There are a lot of subtle changes to the Edge browser that comes bundled with Windows 10.You'll now be able to write or annotate PDF and Epub documents right in the browser, and display pages side by side rather than having to spend time scrolling between pages.Other additions are that you'll be able to easily put an icon on the taskbar or Start page for a website and Edge will be able to read web pages and documents to you.

The Photos app has a new feature called Story Remix area that allows you to create quick video clips from your photos.

The taskbar at the bottom of the screen will be noticeable by the addition of a "My People" icon and if you share a lot of documents or photos this feature may be quite welcome.You'll be able to put an icon for each of your most important contacts on the taskbar and by simply dragging a document or picture from any one of several apps or a website to the icon you can share it using the Mail or Skype apps.As messages or Skype requests arrive from contacts in My People you'll get pop-up notifications, which could be really useful or annoying.

The My People feature is in keeping with an increasing emphasis on social networking in all computing applications and will be useful on a tablet or a laptop with a touch screen where dragging items around the screen is second nature. To make communication with your contacts a little more interesting this version of Windows will include a pop-up panel of emojis right on the desktop.

A notable feature is that with this update Windows 10 will be able to link to your Android phone or an iPhone.Another nifty feature is that text messages received on a Windows or Android mobile device can relayed to your Windows 10 computer or device.In the Settings menu there will be a new icon labelled Phone.

Microsoft has built new power management tools into this update to assuage fears that all of these new features and graphics would drain a laptop's battery much faster.This will be done by "throttling" how many resources an app will use when it is idle.In the Settings menu the About item will display a very detailed analysis of your computer or device's health and operating status.

There are numerous small or obscure changes in the Fall Creators Update that you may not have much use for at this time, such as the support for numerous inexpensive virtual reality headsets, and other changes will be of interest to those who like to tinker with Windows.If you want to explore all of the changes to find which ones interest you, Microsoft Central has a list of the major changes (https://www.windowscentral.com/fall-creators-update).

Ray Saitz, a Peterborough resident and teacher, writes a regular column on the Internet. He can be reached at rayser3@cogeco.ca