Heads up, Windows 10 users: Microsoft’s next major update for its latest operating system is slated to arrive on Aug. 2.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes a number ofnew features and improvements for consumers and enterprises, including Windows Ink, enhancements for Cortana, a “more power-efficient” Edge browser, security updates, new gaming experiences, and more. Everyone running Windows 10 will get these new features for free.
“Windows Ink…brings the writing you do every day into your digital world,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post. The feature lets you jot down notes, sketch on screenshots, or draw your ideas, using a Windows 10 device and digital pen, when inspiration strikes.
Meanwhile, Cortana will be available above your lock screen, so you can ask questions, play music, or set reminders without unlocking your device. Cortana will also be able to save and recall key information, like your frequent flyer number, and you can add photos to make reminders visual.
On the security front, the Anniversary Update brings two major changes: Windows Hello will be available for apps and websites and the Windows Defender anti-malware service will give you the option to automatically schedule periodic scans of your PC and provide notifications and summaries when threats are found.
Remember, Redmond is still offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade to those on Windows 7 and 8.1. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the free upgrade offer, you might want to make it a priority because time is running out. The promotion ends on July 29; after that date you’ll have to pony up $119 for a full version of Windows 10.
Meanwhile, Redmond is running a few special offers to celebrate availability of the Anniversary Update. Students can save $300 when they purchase an Xbox One and Surface at Microsoft Stores, or get a free TV when they purchase a Dell PC that costs more than $699. Meanwhile, Best Buy is offering $150 off select HP devices or $100 off select Asus and Samsung devices.
Nearly one year after its release, Windows 10 is now running on more than 350 million devices, Microsoft said. Users have collectively logged more than 135 billion hours on Windows 10 to date.