The Windows 10 Creators Update is finally here. It started rolling out on April 11, and some consumers are still waiting for it to hit them, although there is a way to get the download going manually. Windows 10 has been out nearly two years now, and the Creators Update would be considered its next “major” update after the Anniversary Update.
There’s a lot of cool things in the Creators Update, but some of it isn’t as major as you’d expect. In fact, for the every day PC user, it’s not very significant at all. Follow along and we’ll show you why.
Some of the Creators Update focuses on gaming. With the update, you get something called Game Mode for improving gaming performance and Beam for live streaming your gameplay.
Game Mode is an interesting bear. Basically, with Game Mode enabled, it looks at all the processes running on your PC and gives the game you’re playing priority. I did some testing, running games like Diablo 3 and Forza Horizon 3, and only saw minimal improvements with frame rates — nothing drastic by any means. During my testing, I really didn’t notice a difference at all. Honestly, it didn’t feel like it was doing anything, aside from pushing the frame rate number up a few points.
If you have a high-end machine, running the latest and greatest hardware — maybe a Titan X GPU — you’re not going to see improvements whatsoever. Game Mode seems to do best on lower-end hardware, and even then, as we already mentioned, the differences with it on and off are minimal.
And then you have Beam. Beam is a company Microsoft purchased back in August to compete against Twitch and Google’s own YouTube. You open the Windows 10 Game Bar with pressing Win + G and navigate to the Broadcast button (you can enable Game Mode from here, too). And then, in moments, you’re streaming your gameplay to the world, letting strangers and/or friends comment and interact with you while you game.
It’s neat to have something built-in like this in a way, but it does take a huge hit on your system’s performance. You’re going to need some decent hardware to keep your game from acting sluggish while Beam is on, but that’s generally the case with any sort of streaming software.
To use Beam, you will need a Beam account as well as an Xbox Live ID. Once that’s setup, getting a broadcast going is fairly straightforward. The UI for Beam is a little clunky and could use some improvements, but it’s not necessarily something you should worry about too much when you consider that the large majority of Windows 10 users aren’t going to be using that everyday. You also still have things like Twitch and YouTube that many people already prefer, so even getting many of the “streamers” to use Beam might be a difficult task Microsoft has on its hands.
3D and Mixed Reality
One of the big areas that Microsoft emphasized with the Creators Update was Mixed Reality and 3D creations tools for, well, creators. However, these are areas where Microsoft has truly dropped the ball.
First, I’m not quite sure why Microsoft was emphasizing 3D so much when Windows 10 already has a suite of 3D tools — 3D Scan, View 3D, and 3D Builder. Joining the fray is Paint 3D, which is frankly a great addition for those who want to create 3D content.
It’s easy to use, and there’s a lot of tools that you can mess around with in it. Once you’ve come up with something you’re satisfied with, you can actually have your object printed, although it’s extremely pricey, especially when you get into materials like steel and titanium.
The one thing I did have difficulty with was even getting the pre-made models to scale properly to even be able to order them. Interestingly, the “scale to fit” button on the 3D printing site wouldn’t even work properly, so it does appear that there’s still a few kinks to be worked out here.
One thing Microsoft promised and demonstrated was a Capture 3D app. It might come as a surprise, but it’s actually missing from the Creators Update entirely. You were supposed to be able to use your smartphone’s camera to scan in 3D objects of, well, anything, but, again, it’s nowhere to be seen.
Another area Microsoft talked up was the “Mixed Reality” headsets, a headset display for viewing and manipulating virtual objects. Unfortunately, none of that is available to consumers right now, although we “might” be getting something in August.
Privacy, Themes, Windows Update and more
Now, in the Creators Update, you have better control over privacy settings. You can turn off targeted ads, locally relevant content and more. With Windows Update, you have a little more control over how updates are downloaded (i.e. you can pause updates for up to 35 days, exclude driver updates and more).
There’s a new “Themes” packages in the Windows Store now, too. Don’t settle for those plain, old static backgrounds, with Themes, you can mix it up with, well, different background themes of nature, animals and more.
You also get Windows Hello, Windows 10’s new facial authentication feature. You can set it up in moments with little to no hassle. And, when you try to log-in, the facial recognition is instantaneous. If you don’t mind logging into your computer with a webcam, it’s a seamless experience.
Should you update?
So, should you snag the Creators Update? Without a doubt! There’s nothing major about this update, at all. But, it does bring a few neat things that you may or may not use as a regular user. Further control over your privacy is nice, and so is having better control over Windows Update. A fresh coat of paint on some of the Settings areas is a nice change, too.
Again, it’s all minor things, but the primary reason to update is to stay on the latest version of Windows, which is something the everyday PC user should stay on top of. Microsoft isn’t offering support for Windows 10 as a whole, but specific versions. For example, Microsoft will be dropping support for the original version of Windows 10 (version 1507), meaning they’re no longer offering security updates for that version of the OS.
So, staying updated to the latest version of Windows 10 is always a good practice, ensuring you’re always getting the latest security updates, especially if Microsoft plans on ending support for specific versions down the road. Everyday PC users should upgrade for that reason alone. But, to reiterate, everyday users will enjoy the better control over Windows Update, privacy settings and maybe even Windows Hello.
So, while there might not be a lot going on with the Creators Update, updating for security reasons alone is a good thing. We were expecting a lot more from the Creators Update, but even things designed for creators seem to be a little lackluster. Overall, we’re not too impressed with it.
Hopefully we’ll see more major improvements with Microsoft’s newly planned upgrade schedule, but for now, the Creators Update really is a disappointment for the everyday user — there’s almost nothing new here that benefits the everyday PC user, let alone creators.