Microsoft began rolling out the much-anticipated Fall Creators Update last week, bringing with it a ton of new features, such as the official launch of Windows Mixed Reality, a new Photos app, improved Cortana features and more. Users will especially love new security improvements that keeps “global outbreaks” at bay, such as WannaCry and Petya.
This update is no doubt packed with improvements; however, there are a few things you should know before rushing to get it on your PC or Windows 10 device. After all, you don’t want to spend a ton of time trying to fix your PC if the update ends up breaking something. Follow along below, and we’ll help you make this the smoothest transition possible.
Installing the update
New updates are often things we install as soon as possible so that we can play with all of the new goodies that these updates bring as fast as possible. However, with Windows updates, it’s always good to have an ounce of patience, as Microsoft has a long history of breaking things in new updates. For example, when Microsoft launched the Anniversary Update, it was full of issues that broke tens of thousands of systems.
So it’s best to hold off until Microsoft automatically rolls out the Fall Creators Update to your system. But if you can’t wait, here’s what you need to do to get it immediately:
Before getting started, we recommend creating a backup strategy, and you can read our guide on how to put such a strategy in place on the cheap. Alternatively, we at least recommend creating a Restore Point or getting your most important files uploaded to a free Cloud provider, such as Google Drive (every Google account gets a free 15GB of online storage). Once you have your system backed up, or at least those important files, we can start installing the Fall Creators Update. It’s very important to not skip this step–we can’t stress enough how imperative it is to have you files backed up on an off-site location when it comes to major upgrades like these.
The first step is to open your Settings menu. You can do this by clicking on your Start menu in the desktop, and then clicking on the gear icon in the left navigation.
Next, head into the Update & Security category and select the Windows Update tab in the left navigation. Next, simply click the Check for updates box. If you’re including in this phase of the rollout, the Creators Update will begin downloading automatically, as well as any security updates.
You have another option, too. You can head to Microsoft’s Software Download site, and use the Update Assistant to upgrade as well. It’s as simple as clicking on the blue Update now button on the site.
Should you install the update?
The answer is yes, but as we mentioned earlier, you should wait until Microsoft automatically rolls it out to you. After all, you don’t want any bugs destroying your system!
The problem with choosing not to update is that, with the advent of Windows 10, Microsoft is forcing updates on its users to ensure security is always up to par. That said, if you don’t install it when Microsoft rolls it out to you, and you decide to delay it instead, it will, eventually, still end up installed on your PC. In fact, there are times that Windows 10 has automatically installed major updates without the consent of the user.
Since Microsoft doesn’t give you much of a choice in the matter, you should just go ahead and download it, when prompted. Despite Microsoft taking the control out of your hands, this does slightly benefit you, as you’ll always have all the latest security patches on your system. This keeps you protected from worldwide breaches like WannaCry. Of course, forced security patches don’t always fix that–having a solid backup strategy, as we mentioned earlier, is the only defense against a breach like that.
Wait to install the update!
There’s a lot of buzz around this update, and many are jumping to try it out straight away. However, we really do recommend waiting until Microsoft prompts you to download it, as it’s still full of bugs to be worked out. For example, a couple of users are reporting broken mobile hotspot features. Some are experiencing slow loading times in Microsoft Edge as well as a host of other problems. Seriously, wait until Microsoft is ready to push it out to your device — it’ll save you countless hours of tinkering.
What about features?
From the standpoint of installing it because of new features, there’s really not a whole lot here for everyday users or PC enthusiasts. The update is called the Creators Update, and is, well, aimed towards creators. However, there are at least three features that average folks will like to see.
Those three features are better ransomware protection, Continue on PC and Top People. Ransomware protection is a welcome addition, as it brings something called Windows Defender Exploit Guard, as it creates safeguards and protect files from unauthorized changes from suspicious applications on your PC.
Continue on PC is something of convenience, basically allowing you to continue whatever you were doing on your Android phone or iPhone on your PC by forwarding searches articles you opened on your phone straight to your Windows 10 PC.
Top People is a neat feature in that, according to Microsoft, it gives you “one-click access to those who matter most” to you. You can set this up to show up on your taskbar. Profile photos or “heads” of your most frequently contacted people will show up in the taskbar, and with a single click, you can easily send them an email or contact them on Skype. The neat thing is that it allows you to send them an email or Skype without opening the fully-featured app, which makes things a little more efficient. Microsoft plans on adding more communication-related apps to Top People soon.
Small storage systems, beware
The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is a generally small update, as far as file size goes. However, it leaves a large data footprint, to the tune of 30GB of installation files. That’s a very large chunk of storage space to take up.
These installation files do serve a purpose. They’re there to help you rollback Windows to a previous version, which you won’t need if you followed our backup plan. It’s also worth noting that updates to Windows 10 have become mandatory, so aside from running into any initial bugs, these files are useless since you’ll be forced into the Fall Creators Update anyway.
To free up this space after you’ve downloaded the new update, open your Settings panel. Head into System, and then select the Storage tab. Next, you’re looking for the Storage Sense subheading. Under it, click the link that says “Change how we free up space.” On the next screen, simply check the box that says Delete previous versions of Windows, and then directly under that, click the button that says “Clean now.”
There are, of course, some system requirements to think about. If you’re already on Windows 10, system requirements should be an issue. Windows 10 requires a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version or 2GB of RAM for the 64-bit version. However, with the advent of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, there are some features you aren’t going to be able to use with these specs.
One of those features is Windows Mixed Reality. You can get details on hardware requirements on Microsoft’s website, but it will some serious computing power. Microsoft recommends at least a Intel Core i5 7200U, and outlines guidance on AMD options. You’ll also need at least 8GB of RAM, 10GB of free storage space and a high-end video card. You’ll, of course, need to invest in a Mixed Reality headset, too.
What about the future?
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the Creators Update is a nice advancement in the Windows 10 operating system, but it’s also disappointing in that it isn’t full of features for everyday people or PC enthusiasts. Microsoft, with these updates geared towards creators, is trying to take on what Apple is good at: creating flawless experiences for creative people.
Unfortunately, in the process of that, it feels like Microsoft is leaving its base behind: everyday users and people who use Windows for work. These groups of people are seeing very minimal additions that improve their overall experience and efficiency. It’d be nice to see more of a focus on its original base, instead of focusing on something Microsoft hasn’t really “spearheaded” as its goal before.
All in all, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will be a nice addition to the operating system; however, don’t jump to download and install it right away. As we already mentioned, there are a host of issues with it, and until they get resolved, it’s best to hold off. Holding off will save you a ton of time, and potentially money, if you use your PC as your primary work machine. You really don’t want that messing up.
Got a favorite part about the new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.