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5 things to know about the Windows 10 update

5 Things to Know About the Windows 10 Update

This August, Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update—appropriately named as it came a year after the original Windows 10 release. Windows 10 has shown itself to be functional and friendly across all devices—the perfect OS for businesses with BYOD programs and cross-platform use. Here are a few cool features the Anniversary Update includes that can help your business, whether you've already upgraded to Windows 10 or are planning to do so soon.

Windows Hello goes mobile

  • Windows Hello already lets you sign into your computer with your face, fingerprint, or iris scan. The Anniversary Update takes Hello's biometric authentication a step further, expanding it to Windows apps and supported websites. Once you have hardware (such as the HP Elite x3) and software that supports Windows Hello, you'll be able to sign into apps the same way. This also extends to Edge, 10's browser that offers biometric authentication on supported sites. Basically, get ready to sign into websites with your eyeball.
  • The Anniversary Update also lets you sign into your PC with a companion device, such as a smartphone, a multi-use tablet device like the Elite x3, or even a fitness band. (You know, so your eyeball doesn't get tired of constantly being used to sign in, and you can do some actual work.)

Cortana gets a brain boost

  • Microsoft is pouring a lot of effort into making Cortana the virtual assistant that business pros can't live without. The latest update gives Cortana greater access to the Office, Outlook, and Calendar apps. This insight means you can give it commands like “Send Dave the Excel sheet I worked on this morning.” Or if you create an event that conflicts with something else on your calendar, Cortana will let you know that you're already booked.
  • Cortana is also accessible from the lock screen now. Once this feature is enabled, you'll be able to access Microsoft's digital assistant by saying “Hello, Cortana” or by tapping the Cortana icon. From here, Cortana can schedule appointments, find directions, and create reminders.
  • Cortana's mobile capabilities are pretty cool, too. Once you install the Cortana app to your mobile device, it can mirror notifications like incoming calls and low battery warnings to your PC. (You get to choose which app notifications pop up, of course.) And if you've misplaced your device, just say “find my phone” and it will locate it on a map. (Hopefully you just left it in the lunchroom.)

The Connect app

  • Now you have an incredibly easy way to cast your mobile device to the big screen—no docks or gear required. The Anniversary Update's new Connect app lets you wirelessly connect your mobile device to a computer using 10's mobile Continuum feature. Your device's Continuum desktop just runs on the other computer inside a window. Pretty handy for business presentations and other work-related screen sharing.

Skype preview

  • Many offices lean on Skype for their business communications, so it's nice that the Anniversary Update offers a preview of the new Skype app, which has been redesigned from the ground up for 10. All of Skype's standard features are included in the release, and you can also try out their “Skype Bots” which were introduced earlier this year. And since Skype's baked directly into 10, you can reply to a message as soon as a notification pops up without having to open the app.

More cool features

  • The Action Center, 10's notifications hub, now lets users set priority levels for individual apps so they don't drown in notifications.
  • Managing multiple desktops continues to get easier. The Task View interface lets you right-click a window to move it to another desktop instead of dragging it. Even better, you can now pin windows so they appear on all desktops. (Convenient for messaging apps and other things you always want to keep an eye on.)
  • Ever get stalled during the day by an automatic Windows update? Now you can set up Active Hours—a timeframe of up to 12 hours that's off-limits for automatic updates—so you can stay productive.
Still on the fence about upgrading? Consider this: Microsoft has been offering all its users a free upgrade from 7/8 to 10 for the past year. Your employees are likely to be running 10 on their home PCs—you don't want them complaining about the older tech they use at work. And chances are their own mobile devices are 10 integrated, so you want to make sure they have a seamless experience with their work tech and their BYODs. If you're looking for new hardware options, HP Elite PCs are designed to support all of 10's great features. (By the way, if you're worried about how to dispose of your old tech, HP's Product Return and Recycling program can help you out.) Happy upgrading!
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