Microsoft announces Windows 10 Anniversary Update as OS celebrates first year

Free upgrade offer ends on July 29th
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A free Windows 10 Anniversary Update will go live on August 2nd, just over one year after the OS originally launched. 

With the free upgrade offer ending on July 29th 2016, users have one month left to take advantage of a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, after which they will have to purchase an OS license.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes an updated Microsoft Edge browser, advanced security features for consumers and enterprises, new gaming experiences and new tools for the classroom. T

Microsoft also announced two new security features for enterprise customers: Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and Windows Information Protection, formerly referred to as enterprise data protection. 

“When we introduced Windows 10, our vision was not only to deliver the best and most secure version of the OS ever, it was also to create an experience that would keep getting better,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group.

“The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is a great example of this — and we look forward to building on it even further in the future.”

Microsoft is also supporting the availability of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update with a 10 per cent student discount available through Microsoft Store on all Surface devices and accessories, including the new 1TB Surface Book (£2,649) and Surface Pro 4 (£2,199), released on June 30th.

The new Surface devices will be available from Dixons, Amazon, John Lewis and Microsoft Store, with a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update allows users to sign in with Windows Hello, boasting 'enterprise-grade security', password-free logins, to apps, and access supporting websites with biometric authentication using Microsoft Edge.

Windows Defender anti-malware has been improved with the option to automatically schedule periodic quick scans of a PC, and provide notifications and summaries when scans are complete and if scans find any threats.

There's Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which is designed to detect, investigate and respond to malicious attacks, as well as Windows Information Protection, formerly referred to as enterprise data protection, which helps protect businesses from accidental data leaks.

Windows Ink enables people to write on a device as they would on paper, using a digital pen. 

Personal digital assistant Cortana now has access above the lock screen, more ways to remember and better synchronisation across devices.

The Anniversary Update also includes more power-saving improvements in Microsoft Edge, using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory and minimising the impact of background activity and peripheral content such as Flash advertisements. 

Finally, 'Xbox Play Anywhere' lets gamers buy a game once and play it on a Windows 10 PC or Xbox One console with shared progress, shared game saves and shared achievements. 

Microsoft has set itself a target of getting Windows 10 on one billion devices by 2018. It has the OS on more than 350 million devices at the moment, but has upset some customers - including Ann Widdecombe - over some automatic updates to Windows 10 which have been difficult for some users to prevent.

One business owner even sued Microsoft over loss of earnings due to the update, as she claimed it bricked her work PC, prompting Microsoft to make some tweaks to its automatic update settings.

Further reading: 'Some of our customers have been left horrified by Windows 10 updategate' - Counter Insurgent

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