WIndows 10 users should now be used to the twice-yearly feature updates to the operating system (as opposed to the usually monthly updates that are mostly security fixes). The next of these update is due imminently - it's likely to be launched to the first batch of users in April, with a gradual worldwide worldwide over the following weeks.
In a possible reaction to a run of these updates causing issues for a small number of users, the list of changes this time suggest this is largely a maintenance and stability release. Notably, some people found that October's update had deleted all the files in their documents folder.
Nevertheless, there are some noticable improvements coming in the update. These include:
New Sandbox feature
Pro and Enterprise users will find they have access to a new Sandbox feature. This allows you to fire up another copy of Windows inside Windows that is unlinked to the main installation. This will allow you to test anything that has the possibility of being problematic to your system. For example, if you're sent a file over email that you are not sure whether is genuine, you can enter sandbox mode, open the file and see what happens. If it turns out to be dodgy, you can just shut the window and no damage has been done to your system.
New Snip and Sketch feature
The Snip and Sketch app allows you to take screenshots of all or some of your screen. This update introduces the ability to pick a specific window on the screen to take a screenshot of. Previously, one would have needed to manually draw a box round the window in question to limit a screenshot to that window.
Remove unwanted apps
Up until now, there's been a set up apps that come preinstalled in all Windows 10 installations that have been impossible to remove. These include Mail, Movies & Games and Paint 3D. Once this update has been installed on your device, you will now be able to remove these to increase space and reduce confusion when you already have alternative apps that cover these functions.
A few other notable changes include:
- A new "Light" theme (as per the screenshot above). This will apply to all the main areas of the interface, and will be the default option for new installations of the Home version of the operating system.
- Various other subtle aesthetic improvements including some shadows and the introduction of the more modern styling into some legacy areas of the system.
- Search and Cortana are now separate.
- A new "Top apps" section in the Search panel that populates with your most frequently opened apps for quick access.
- You can now create new password-less Microsoft Accounts with just a phone number.
- A new Office app is present and provides quick access to your recent documents and Office web apps.
- A new "globe" disconnected icon is now present in the System Tray when disconnected from the internet.
Microsoft will be hoping that this relatively feature-light update will lead to a smooth launch this time around. We'll see in the coming weeks whether this comes to pass.