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What’s new in the Windows 10 Creators Update? Here’s the best new features for 2017

What’s new in the Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update, coming to Windows PCs in April 2017? Here’s our pick of the best new features you can expect to find in Windows after installing that update.

Microsoft is powering ahead with its shiny new update schedule, which take the old three year updates and makes them much more regular. In this way, Windows users can expect fresh new features to hit their PCs every year.

Hence not long after that massive Anniversary Update in 2016, Windows 10 is being injected with some nifty tools and exciting additions in the form of a free upgrade, dubbed Windows 10 Creators Update.

The Windows 10 Creators Update adds plenty of cool stuff including the exciting-as-it-sounds Paint 3D – yup, the classic creative tool has had a major overhaul and it’s really rather splendid. Other updates mean better gaming on Windows, smart new Edge features, essential Maps improvements, better Touchpad interaction, more Defender options and much more besides.

Here’s everything you need to try out on the latest Windows 10 Creators Update, due out on April 11.

Read next: Top Windows 10 tips, tricks and hidden features

Windows 10 Creators Update has new Paint 3D

Paint. It’s been a staple part of Windows since it first became popular back in the Win 95 days, but has only ever had incremental upgrades since. Now it’s had a major overhaul to make it 3D smart.

Despite 3D modelling of objects being something traditionally reserved for the professionals, Paint 3D has found a way of making this creative tool easy to use yet still able to produce an impressive result.

The idea is pretty simple. Draw objects on the screen and instantly they’ll be made 3D, then add textures using images you find online. You can also pick from a selection of pre-created shapes, images and stickers to quickly whip up any scene you want. Objects created by others in different 3D modelling software (such as Maya) can even be imported, to save time. Then with a quick icon tap, everything is laid out in 3D for a smart final result.

Paint 3D works with dedicated 3D printing services or locally connected 3D printers, so you can create real-world versions of your creations with another quick tap.

Edge now has an eReader in the Windows 10 Creators Update

The Microsoft Windows Edge browser is all about ease of use, but that functionality now extends beyond browsing the web. For example, the latest Edge browser that comes with the Windows 10 Creators Update is also an eReader. Simply double-click an eBook file and the Edge browser will open it, for you to read at leisure.

As you’d expect from an eReader, you have options like resizing text, changing spacing, font and background, scrolling by touch and using bookmarks to save your place. Plus when you close and later re-open the book, Edge will turn straight to the page where you left off.

The catch? As you’d imagine, this feature works with most ebook formats, but not the locked sort like Amazon Kindle books. Also it’s unclear if your progress, bookmarks and settings will carry across between multiple Windows devices. We’re awaiting to hear back from Microsoft on this.

In Windows 10 Creators Update, Maps lets you mark out routes by touch

Using Maps to plan a route is easy enough when it’s from point A to B, travelling by car. But when it comes to walking and taking a specific route that can be tricky – or at least it was until this Windows update.

Now in Maps you can use a stylus and mark out a route, on or off-road, and the exact distance will be calculated and displayed instantly. Ideal for any nature walking types out there. You can also add notes and mark places to visit, making this a useful tool for planning trips away.

Annotate and search photos and videos easier with Windows 10 Creators Update

A really fun and simple update lets you annotate photos and videos by simply writing on them using a stylus or finger. While watching a video you can add labels and notes at a certain point and as the pen touches the screen, the video pauses to let you do your thing. Then when you playback the saved video, those annotations appear with a fun animation.

Watching a snowboarding video where your mate manages to crash in spectacular fashion? Why not scribble “FAIL” on the screen at the moment of impact, ‘cos you know, what are friends for?

There’s now also support for 360-degree videos, which allows you to tap and move about the screen to see the video from varying perspectives as it plays.

Photos are also easier to search as everything is automatically tagged by time, location and people in the scene.

Gaming has been upgraded with Windows 10 Creators Update

The transition between Windows and Xbox gaming is smoother than ever and now even more has been done to improve that PC gaming experience.

The Creators Update has added live broadcasting, after Microsoft bought out its Twitch-like service Beam. This lets you, as you probably guessed, stream gaming as you play or watch others in-game. You can even interact with the gamer by adding things like lighting strikes when you enter so they know you’re watching. This is thanks to sub-second latency, something the competition doesn’t currently offer.

Game Mode is another upgrade which improves the Windows gaming experience. This intelligently repurposes processing power to offer the kind of smooth running you require for those frags.

For instance, if you’re using an eight core machine it’ll dedicate six to the game while leaving two for other processes. Game Mode will even intelligently switch that power to suit the variations in frame rates for certain parts of the game. All of this means a better gaming experience while, theoretically, not impacting battery life. Plus, since it’ll auto off when you exit the game, you can leave Game Mode on without worrying about it harming the rest of your Windows 10 experience.

Touchpad is more advanced with Creators Update

The touchpad can now be used more intuitively for quicker navigation about Windows 10. It is also more customisable than ever before.

Three and four-finger gestures can now be used with each directional movement set, to perform a different task. Options include multi-window, desktop access, app switching, Cortana activation, middle mouse button, play/pause and more. Pick and choose which gesture you want to perform which task in the settings menu, for super easy and speedy navigation using the trackpad.

Start Menu Tiles are better with Creators Update

The ability to change the way Tiles work on your Windows machine has also been added to the new update.

Now it’s possible to create a group with multiple apps in one Tile. The Tile itself can be resized with a maximum display of six by six for 36 apps in total. If you add more, they’ll still be contained within the Tile folder; they just won’t be visible until you tap in.

Defender is easier to use with Creators Update

Safety within Windows 10 has been upgraded so that users can more easily control what happens on their machine.

Options now include parental controls, anti-virus, performance, firewall, app and browser control, plus family safety options. All of that should mean a well-balanced security system that can be personalised to each machine, depending on the users.

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