Yesterday marked a significant milestone in the development of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, also know by its code name of Redstone 3, which is expected to be generally available in the September timeframe.
This update is the fourth major feature update for the two year old operating system and with the release of yesterday's Build, 16251, it was moved out of the traditional pre-release development branch and forked into the release branch. This branch is where it will remain until it is released for Windows 10 users in September.
That means the Fall Creators Update is feature complete and the primary focus over these last several weeks will be addressing bugs and performance issues in the final test builds.
As expected, Build 16251 was also released into the pre-release development branch where it will soon begin to receive updates that are destined for the fifth major feature update for Windows 10 which is expected in the Spring of 2018. Right now the two builds are nearly identical except for their desktop watermarks but that will change when Microsoft advances the build numbers and begins adding new code for testing.
This hands on gallery will focus on the release branch build of 16251 and the changes that are part of the work towards the Fall Creators Update on PCs.
Link your Android phone and PC to each other to share websites
I actually inadvertently discovered some of this feature last week as I was writing my What I Use - Microsoft Apps on Android article. Turns out the Microsoft Apps app provides the connectivity between your Android Phone and Windows 10 PC. The feature is only available for Android in this build but will soon support iPhone as well. Basically with this enabled you can share most any item from your Android phone that pushes a URL. That means websites you are browsing or, as I confirmed in testing, images and videos through Google Photos.
Two options are available for the sharing feature:
Continue now - immediately opens the shared link in Microsoft Edge.
Continue later - shares the link to Action Center for later access.
Get web search results in Cortana without opening your browser
Normally when you search with Cortana on Windows 10 it shows a link to results but this update now allows you to actually view those results in the Cortana sidebar just by clicking a new UI arrow on the right side of the results. That will open them in a scrolling window and once you see the result you want to access just click on it to open it up in your default browser.
Note: I found this feature is also working on Cortana for Windows 10 Creators Update devices that are in the Release Preview Ring.
Use Cortana voice commands to lock, sign-out, shutdown, or turn off your PC
Cortana now has a few new commands related to your system account and hardware:
“Hey Cortana, restart PC.”
“Hey Cortana, turn off PC.”
“Hey Cortana, sign out.”
“Hey Cortana, lock PC.”
Most of these commands must be confirmed in order to execute so there will be no running into your favorite store and telling the PCs to shut down!
If your system is configured to allow Cortana access above the Lock Screen then these commands will also work when the device is locked.
Here is a demo video I shared on Twitter of the sign out command:
Improved Boot Up Experience - Use sign-in info to apply settings after a restart or update
This is one I can not demo or capture in action but I still wanted to mention it because it provides an advanced option to automatically sign-in behind the scenes to complete setting up your system after a regular reboot or shutdown. This means the apps you have registered to start up will do so.