It’s official: On August 2nd, 2016, Microsoft says that Windows 10 is getting the Anniversary Update – a huge, free upgrade to mark the one-year anniversary of its latest operating system.
This upgrade improves everything from the Windows Store to new stylus features and the Cortana virtual digital assistant.
Microsoft also announced that 350 million devices, mainly PCs and tablets, are now running Windows 10, which is an important milestone in the company’s drive to hit one billion users within the next two years or so.
Just know that Microsoft’s one-year grace period for free upgrades from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10 expires on July 29th, and it’s at least $119 thereafter. So if you want to take advantage of these new features for free, time is running out.
In the meantime, here are the best of the new features coming to Windows 10 on August 2nd:
Windows 10 is getting Windows Ink, a set of new features for using a stylus with the touchscreen. Better handwriting recognition means that Windows can recognize when you’re jotting a date, and offer to remind you about it.
That also includes the “Ink Workspace,” a new set of tools to quickly help you take notes or annotate what you see on your screen.
Windows Hello, which lets you log in to Windows 10 with your face, is also coming to the Microsoft Edge browser…so you can log in to certain supported websites just by looking at your camera.
- Matt Weinberger/Business Insider
You can now also access the Cortana digital assistant from the Windows 10 lock screen, opening the door for, say, shouting across the room to play music.
Cortana is also getting better integration with her smartphone apps. The Cortana app for Android will hook up with Windows 10 so you can answer your texts from your tablet or PC.
Cortana will also store information that you need a lot and call it up on command. Like your frequent flyer number.
- Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty
Windows 10 and the Xbox One video game console are getting a lot closer, too. Under the Xbox Play Anywhere program, select games will be available simultaneously on the Windows Store and the Xbox One…including the much-anticipated “Gears of War 4,” coming in October.
Better yet, Xbox Play Anywhere will automatically bring your games from Xbox to Windows 10, so you can pick up and just start playing anywhere.
The Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th.