Windows 10 Adoption Grows

Back in May, more than 500 million active devices were being powered by Windows 10. Last week at Micrsoft’s annual shareholders meeting it was announced that a new milestone had been achieved for Windows 10. It’s now powering 600 million active devices.

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Windows 10 growth slowed down ever since the end of the free upgrade offer for Windows 7/8 users. Microsoft’s operating system continued to pick up market share, albeit at a much slower rate, as more and more businesses started moving away from Windows 7, but the majority of users are still running older versions of the OS to this day. Extended support for Windows 7 is set to end in 2020, and by that time Windows 10 should be well over the 1 billion target Microsoft set during the initial launch of the OS.

Going forward, it’s clear that Microsoft won’t have too much trouble getting users to upgrade to newer versions of Windows. The company’s Windows as a Service strategy has performed surprisingly well so far, with more than 20% of all Windows 10 users already using the latest feature update for the OS which only came out in October.

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Microsoft Set to Change Things Up with ‘Sets’

Microsoft will soon be test-driving a feature in Windows 10 that could forever change how you use your PC. It’s also a feature you’ve already been using for years.

Say hello to tabs. Or as Microsoft calls them, ‘Sets.’

While Microsoft isn’t sure whether that name will stick, the idea is to bring browser-like tabs to not just Chrome and Edge, but virtually every Windows app. Moreover, it’s not just grouping duplicate instances of a single app; you can actually combine different apps into one window. Check out Microsoft’s explainer video:

Basically, Sets could help you keep apps group related apps for particular tasks, projects, or ideas, rather than just being a mess of windows that you’re constantly rearranging. If you’re researching a paper, for instance, you could theoretically combine a PDF reader, a PowerPoint presentation, and notes all into to one tabbed window.

Granted, you could already organize your apps by task or idea by using virtual desktops, but that method has some drawbacks. You can assign different desktops to tasks or projects, for example, but you can’t see or move them all at once. Sets would be giving users another layer of control to keep things nice and tidy.

Besides, tabs are likely more intuitive for the average user. After all, organizing resources into tabs is already how we browse the web and use plenty of Web apps. Heck, this is basically how Chrome OS operates. Microsoft is simply expanding that organizational concept to the desktop with full-fledged apps.

The idea was born out of the ‘Timeline’ concept Microsoft introduced back during its Build conference in May. That feature allowed you to go back in time to see what apps you were using at any given moment, allowing you to easily resume a work setup or project. Sets are simply another way to group your apps.

Windows Timeline

At first, the feature will only be available on UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps first because their sandboxed nature helps ensure you don’t break anything major. Over time, it seems the company hopes to expand to first part apps like Office and traditional Win32 apps as well.

In any case, it could be quite some time before the feature ever hits the public. Even users in Microsoft’s Insider testing program won’t all have access to it; Microsoft will randomly select a small group of testers who will be able to access the feature to start.

I hope I’m one of the lucky ones; as far as I’m concerned this is one of the most useful changes to Windows in years.

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Your Own Captain’s Log Arrives on Windows 10

While handwritten journals are nice, electronic journals are more convenient, and they provide ways to record your life that pen and paper simply can’t. my Log allows you to record video journal entries and transcribes into text them for you. Just like on Star Trek.

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The app also has an optional Star Trek theme that lines up nicely with the surge in the franchise’s popularity, thanks to recent films and Star Trek Discovery.

The app is available for free on Windows 10, Xbox One, and HoloLens. You can download the premium version or donate to the developer but this doesn’t seem to add any features.

my Log is centered around video journal entries, but its other features create a fuller journaling experience. The most impressive feature is the app’s voice-transcribing feature. When you record an entry, the app automatically records your words as text. It’s very accurate, though not perfect, and gives you a way to read through your entries without watching your video. As you’d expect, you can edit the text to correct any errors.

In addition to videos and transcribed text, you can also upload photos and gifs to your entries. You can’t upload full videos, though, which is unfortunate.

my Log has some nice features and impressive voice dictation, but the market for journal apps is crowded. my Log stands out with its Star Trek theme and video focus, but it is missing features that would let it replace other popular journaling apps.

One of those missing features is social media and calendar integration. However, in it’s dedefense my Log is a much newer app and it is free.

It would also be nice to see my Log gain the ability to add journal entries without videos having to be recorded. While the app is video focused, sometimes you just want to jot down ideas without recording anything.

Final Thoughts

my Log is a fun app to use, especially if you’ve watched as many Star Trek episodes as me. Anyone who knows anything about Star Trek is familiar with the phrase “captain’s log.” The voice-dictation software works well enough that you won’t have to make a ton of edits to correct errors, and the ability to upload photos and gifs is handy.

There are a lot of competing journal apps for Windows 10 but my Log is unique enough to deserve a look.

You can download my Log in the Windows Store.

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Unifying Your Cloud Storage with DriveUnion

Image result for driveunion app logo pngThese days it’s common to have to use a combination of Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box. You might use one for your personal files while your work or school uses another. DriveUnion aims to ease the process of managing all of your cloud files and does so without taking up storage on your PC.

The app is available for Windows 10 for free but if you want to unlock the ability to use more than three cloud accounts or five favorites you’ll have to buy the premium version for $2.99.

All the Basics

DriveUnion supports four of the biggest cloud storage providers in Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box. You can login to multiple accounts from the same service as well in case you have separate ones for personal files and work or school.

The app has a basic design that is easy to navigate. Each storage account shows up in a panel on the left side of the app and you can expand specific accounts and folders within accounts. You can drag and drop files within accounts or between different providers and also have the option to drag and drop files from your PC to the cloud.

Copying larger files between two cloud providers takes a very long time. That isn’t necessarily DriveUnion’s fault as uploading larger files to the cloud is usually a long process but it’s worth noting.

The app does all of this without storing any of the files on your PC. This means you can browse all of your cloud files without clogging up your PC’s storage. Right clicking on files gives you the option to open them on the web or download them to view them locally on your device. You can also mark any file as a favorite making it easier to navigate back to them.

Navigating to specific files takes a few extra steps but works. Specifically when you click on a folder you then have to click on a specific file or subfolder to see any previews of files. But once you get to a file DriveUnion previews it well.

An exceptional feature within the app is viewing videos from the cloud. I keep a video portfolio on my OneDrive account and watching them within DriveUnion is actually a better experience than viewing them directly through OneDrive. The app takes a few seconds to load videos but streams them smoothly with no buffering or hiccups, which is an issue I face watching them within OneDrive.

More Improvements Please

DriveUnion is a solid app for moving files between cloud providers and viewing files but it has some limitations. The first and biggest issue is that you can’t create new folders. If you want to move files between existing folders DriveUnion is fine but not being able to create new ones is a major drawback.

Two other things that would be a big boost to DriveUnion are a better design and support for more cloud storage providers. The app is very functional but has a far from modern design. The app also has very little in terms of visual customization. This isn’t a huge deal as the app is for managing files rather than looking nice but bringing an app’s design into the present is almost always a good idea.

In Review

DriveUnion is a nice app for people who have to use more than one cloud storage provider. Being able to store and drag and drop files between accounts without ever storing a file on your PC is great.

The app could stand to be updated visually and to add some more features but it is a solid app for managing files in an increasingly cloud-driven world.

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Saving Windows Media Player

Image result for windows media player logoMicrosoft isn’t quite as bad as Apple or Google when it comes to trashing much-loved apps, features, and services, but lately Microsodft also seems to be moving in that direction.

For example, with the release of the Fall Creators Update, Windows Media Player has, at first glimpse disappeared. It goes missing as soon as you install update KB4046355 on build number 1709. I am sure Microsoft really – really wants everyone using Groove, however in many ways Media Player is simpler and all you need.

But is Media Player gone forever? Well, no. At least not yet. You can get it back. Here’s how.

Bringing Back Windows Media Player on Windows 10

Follow the step-by-step guide below to bring back Windows Media Player:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Apps > Apps and features.
  3. Click on Manage optional features.
  4. Select Add a feature.
  5. Scroll down to Windows Media Player.
  6. Click on Install.

Windows Media Player Disappeared? Get It Back! windows 10 optional features

The process might take several minutes to complete. When it’s finished, you’ll find the Windows Media Player shortcut in your Start Menu. Click on the shortcut to launch the app.

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Windows 10 Fights Ransomware

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has a nifty security feature which perhaps hasn’t been trumpeted by Microsoft as much as it should: namely anti-ransomware defenses.

In a blog post detailing how the Fall Creators Update is being deployed in a phased rollout Microsoft mentioned that it had hardened security and added protection against ransomware.

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Specifically, the main countermeasure is a ‘controlled folder access’ feature which is activated in the Windows Defender Security Center app in Windows 10, in the Virus & Threat Protection section, as the Register reports.

It’s a simple slider to turn the feature on, and then specified protected folders are locked down, with only authorized apps able to make changes to the files within these folders.

As Microsoft explains: “This feature protects your files from tampering, in real-time, by locking folders so that ransomware and other unauthorized apps can’t access them. It’s like putting your crown jewels in a safe whose key only you hold.”

By default, common folders where user data is stored (like the Documents, Pictures, and Videos folders) are protected by the controlled folder access system, but you can manually add whichever folders you want to be defended against malware.

Solid Security

Remember, you’ll need to have upgraded to the Fall Creators Update to get this feature, and not everyone will have been offered it yet (if you can’t wait to get beefed up security, you can always check out our guide on how to download and install the update right now).

Microsoft noted elsewhere: “[This] and other security technologies [introduced in the Fall Creators Update] protect against persistent ransomware campaigns like Cerber, Locky, and Spora, as well as global outbreaks like WannaCry, and Petya.”

And indeed a third-party has tested the new anti-ransomware feature against Locky, and it successfully thwarted the attack. So it sounds promising from the off.

In its post detailing the Fall Creators Update deployment process, Microsoft also noted that it had tested the update with more Windows 10 devices in advance this time around, which should theoretically mean a smoother rollout.

The download size of the update is also smaller to the tune of 25%, Microsoft notes, because of the use of ‘differential downloads’ (at least if you grab the upgrade via Windows Update).

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Arrives

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is now rolling out to to the general public. Like previous major updates, Microsoft will be rolling the Fall Creators Update out gradually in stages over the coming weeks and months.

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You can manually check to see if the update is ready for your PC via Windows Update now. If it is, your machine will start downloading the update and you’ll be asked to schedule a time to install. If the update isn’t part of the rollout just yet, you can still force the Fall Creators Update to install with Microsoft’s upgrade assistant by heading to the Windows 10 website and clicking “Update now.” Microsoft has also made available ISO files for the Fall Creators Update for those who prefer a clean install.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has been months in the making, with Windows Insiders testing the update every step of the way. The biggest features arriving on PCs with the update include OneDrive Files On-Demand, support for Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and aspects of Microsoft’s new Fluent Design language throughout the OS. There’s much more as well, including the addition of the My People section in the task bar. While you’re waiting for the update to download, check out all of what’s new in our comprehensive Fall Creators Update review.

OneDrive on Demand

The most eagerly anticipated change for those who used Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage is ‘Files On-Demand’.

The feature will let users see all their files stored on OneDrive from within Windows 10’s File Explorer, without having to first download these files. It basically marks the return of Windows 8.1’s OneDrive smart files.

Users will be able to see all their files, whether they are stored locally, are only on OneDrive, or stored on both. They can choose to download OneDrive files and folders to the device and to keep their local drive in sync with OneDrive. Files and folders stored solely on OneDrive will be tagged with a cloud icon.

One Click Communication

The taskbar will have a People icon, which will provide quick access to your contacts, as well as to communication apps. Users will also be able to pin their three favorite contacts to the right-hand side of taskbar. Clicking on a pinned contact’s face will bring up email or Skype messages from that person, and files can be dragged to that person’s face for quick sharing. Pinned contacts can also trigger pop-ups of animated emoji when they send you messages.

More Control Over Updates

Users will be able to set what percentage of the available network bandwidth is used to download updates in the background, and, if applicable, is available to upload updates to other PCs.

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Battery Life

Batteries on laptops and tablets should last longer when running Windows 10, due to the new Power Throttling feature.

The performance of less important software will be squeezed to reduce battery drain, with Microsoft claiming the feature has lowered CPU power consumption by “up to 11%”. The system will throttle programs running in the background and prioritize performance of apps the user is engaging with in the foreground, for example, of a video player being used to watch a movie.

Users will be able to control how aggressively performance is throttled using a power slider, accessible by clicking the battery icon on the taskbar.

A New Look

With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has started to rethink Windows 10’s design.

Major components of the OS, from the Start Menu to the Action Center, will use Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System.

This design language is aiming to provide app and OS interfaces that are more visually appealing and intuitive. Building on the touch-first ethos of Microsoft’s earlier Project Neon, the Fluent Design System is geared towards creating an OS that works across all sorts of Windows devices, encompassing PCs, phones, tablets, and VR and AR headsets.

The overhaul will add light, depth, motion, and the quality of physical materials to Windows and its apps, with the aim of accentuating elements of the UI that are important to the user. UI elements will also scale to remain usable across different devices, whether displayed on a widescreen monitor or a pocket-sized phone.

Examples of how it will be used are scrollbars that recede into the side of a window when not used, a ‘Reveal’ glow being added to the cursor that highlights borders and other elements of interfaces, more animated interface elements and a material dubbed “Acrylic”, which has the look of frosted plastic and can be used as a background or in menus.

Cross Devices

Working across multiple machines should be simpler, as Windows 10 now allows users to start editing Microsoft Office files, for example a Word doc, on Android or iPhones and hit a single button to continue editing them on a PC.

If you log into an Office application, such as Word, on your iPhone and Android using your Microsoft account, then you’ll be able to resume working on the most recent file you were editing on your Windows 10 PC, providing this is also linked to your Microsoft account, by clicking the notification in the Windows 10 Action Center.

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Talking to Microsoft Edge

Microsoft’s web browser gets various improvements, most notably gaining the ability to read web pages and e-books out loud.

Edge will be better suited to being used as an e-book reader, with improved PDF and EPUB support, including the ability to annotate documents in both these formats.

Reading progress will also be synced across devices and websites will be able to be pinned to the taskbar.

Storage Sense improvements

Windows will gain the ability to automatically manage more of your files, with Storage Sense able to automatically delete files from your Downloads folder 30 days, as well as to automatically remove previous versions of Windows once an upgrade has taken place.

Insert 3D objects into Office files

Rotable 3D objects created in Paint 3D or downloaded from Remix 3D, an online store of user-created 3D models, can be inserted into Office files, including PowerPoint presentations and Word documents.

Bigger and better Emojis with predictive text

The update introduces a new on-screen Emoji panel, with support for Emoji 5.0.

A new touchscreen keyboard on Windows 10 desktop also includes improved text prediction—with support for autocompleting phrases based on a single word—and the ability to transform single words into emojis in UWP apps. An alternative keyboard layout for one-handed typing will also be available, as will the option for controlling a Windows 10 PC using your eyes, using gaze-tracking hardware from Tobii.

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A (slightly) smarter Cortana

The Cortana virtual assistant gets a minor bump to its abilities, and will be able to shut down, restart and lock PCs, as well as to sign out users.

More detailed system information

The About area in the Settings section has been redesigned to offer a wider range of information about the health of a system.

Elsewhere in the Settings section there is a new Video Playback page under Display, with options related to configuring video playback to maximize battery usage or video quality, alongside options related to High Dynamic Range within the Display settings, for those using HDR screens.

The Cortana virtual assistant also now has its own area in Settings.

Better security

A notable security improvement that could help in the battle against ransomware is Controlled Folder Access, which prevents applications from making any changes to files and folders in locations you specify.

Most enhancements will be to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)—Microsoft’s threat detection and protection service that is part of Windows 10 Enterprise, and which bundles together Defender Application Guard (WDAG), Windows Defender Device Guard, and Windows Defender Antivirus.

WDAG is designed to help protect firms against online threats by adding container-based isolationto Windows 10’s Edge browser, allowing it to safely contain malware so it can’t spread within a company’s network.

An extended version of Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit will be built into the Windows 10 core and called Windows Defender Exploit Guard. Exploit Guard will spot and neutralize potential threats and intrusions, including zero days, using intelligence from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Windows Defender Antivirus will also pull information from analysis of the billions of data points available via Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph, to better identify threats and improve protection.

Admins will be able to more easily manage these features using Intune and System Center Configuration Manager, according to Microsoft, with these orchestration tools also being updated to make it easier for companies to audit the security configuration and patch status of devices across their IT estate.

Windows Mixed Reality

With the release of the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 users who are lucky enough to own a VR headset will be able to try out Windows Mixed Reality.

The built-in VR and AR platform will give Windows users the chance to use VR headsets to navigate through a virtual 3D home, with applications situated in themed settings, for instance the Films & TV app located in a virtual cinema.

The new Mixed Reality Viewer will also allow users to see 3D objects superimposed onto their real-world surroundings through the camera on their Windows 10 device.

The Fall Creators Update will also coincide with the launch of Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ headsets—basically virtual reality headsets—from Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, which start selling from $399.

Easier access to Linux

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), a feature that lets users run a wide range of Linux software inside Windows 10, will be easier to access.

WSL, which lets users run the Bash command line on top of various Linux-based operating systems, will no longer require Developer Mode to be active in order to run. It supports various Linux-based OSes including Ubuntu and openSUSE, with Fedora due soon, and other distros due to be added over time.

Link your phone to your PC

Android phone owners will be able to link their phone to their Windows 10 PC, which will display notifications showing who’s calling, with the option to decline the call or text the caller back from the PC, alongside missed calls.

iPhone and Android owners who link their phone to their PC will also be able to use their handset to open a site they are browsing on their phone in the Edge browser on their Windows PC, via the Share option in the phone’s browser.

Story Remix

The Photos app will have a Story Remix section that allows users to create quick video clips, easily adding text, transitions and music.

Start menu tinkering

The Start menu gets some minor changes, and will now use the Acrylic backdrop and allow users to resize it diagonally.

Action Center

The Action Center also undergoes various small alterations, with a new Action Center UI featuring Fluent Design, an Acrylic backdrop, and subtle tweaks to the look of Toast notifications.

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Update Your Windows Now If You Have Been Putting It Off

Users with old versions of Windows 10 should update their devices as soon as possible, as Microsoft has said it will no longer provide them with security and quality updates after tomorrow.

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Released in July 2015, Windows 10 was billed as the “last” version of Microsoft’s operating system because the new OS was designed to update on an ongoing basis via the cloud. However, users of enterprise-focused versions of Windows 10 can disable automatic updates if they believe those processes might interfere with their business operations.

Meanwhile, researchers with Google’s Project Zero have warned that users of Windows 7 and 8 face potential hacking risks because they receive software updates less frequently than do Windows 10 users. The problem stems from “patch diffing,” in which hackers noting security fixes for Windows 10 have time to exploit those vulnerabilities on older versions of the OS that have not yet been updated.

In other Windows news, Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore revealed in a series of tweets yesterday that the company is effectively ending its efforts to develop the Windows 10 Mobile platform. While it will continue to provide support and updates for the mobile OS, Microsoft will instead focus on improving how its systems work on the Android and iOS mobile platforms.

Avoid Becoming ‘More Vulnerable’

According to a Microsoft support note, users running version 1511 or earlier versions of Windows 10 will stop receiving security and quality updates after tomorrow.

“Since version 1511 was released in November 2015, Microsoft has released additional feature updates that build upon each other, delivering the newest features and more comprehensive security,” the note stated. “Windows 10 was designed as a service, whereby feature updates are required a couple times a year. For most consumers, both quality and feature updates are delivered automatically according to their Windows Update settings.”

After tomorrow, devices on which those automatic updates have been disabled will still keep working. However, they could become “more vulnerable to security risks and viruses,” Microsoft added.

Microsoft said users of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Education, and Enterprise should check to see what version their devices are running. If they’re running version 1511 or earlier, they should manually update their devices to the current version, which is the Windows 10 Creators Update rolled out earlier this year. The Fall Creators Update is set to arrive on Oct. 17.

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Using Your Touchscreen with Windows Ink

Windows Ink has been a part of Windows 10 since late 2016. The Windows Ink Workspace is a set of apps designed for touch-enabled devices. Combined with an active stylus, or pen, you can quickly jot down notes in the Sticky Notes app, sketch ideas in the Sketchpad app, or makes notes on screenshots in the Screen Sketch app.

You don’t need to have a device with a pen, like a Surface Pro 4. You can use Windows Ink Workspace on any Windows 10 PC, with or without a touchscreen. Having a touchscreen allows you to write on the screen with your finger in the Sketchpad or Screen Sketch apps.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Click the Ruler tool on the toolbar. You’ll see a ruler display on the sketchpad at a 45-degree angle. If you have a touchscreen, you can move the ruler around with one finger and change the angle by twisting two fingers around on the ruler.

If you don’t have a touchscreen, use the mouse to click and drag the ruler around. To change the angle without a touchscreen, move the mouse cursor over the ruler and use the scroll wheel.

Once you’ve positioned the ruler, draw along the edge of the ruler with any of the drawing tools. You’ll find even if you stray away from the edge of the ruler, the line you’re drawing will stay straight.

windows ink sketchpad

The middle section on the toolbar allows you to turn Touch Writing on or off, undo and redo actions, and crop your sketch.

The buttons in the right section of the toolbar allow you to clear the entire sketchpad, save the sketch as a PNG file, copy the sketch to the clipboard, or share your sketch through Windows 10’s sharing center.

Close the Sketchpad using the red X button on the right side of the toolbar. Your sketch remains in the Sketchpad app until you clear it.

Annotate Screenshots With Screen Sketch

The Screen Sketch app allows you to take a screenshot of whatever’s currently on your screen and then draw on it using the same tools available in the Sketchpad app. It’s like Edge’s Ink feature, but you can draw on the entire screen, not just on a web page.

To use Screen Sketch, make sure what you want to capture is active on the screen. Then, click the Windows Ink Workspace button and click Screen Sketch.

windows ink screen sketch

The app captures the screen and presents it for you to write on. Use the drawing tools and the ruler to draw or write what you want using a pen, your finger, or a mouse.

You can save, copy, or share your screenshot just like you can do with sketches in the Sketchpad app.

windows ink screen sketch

Open a Pen-Enabled App

Recently used pen-enabled apps are listed towards the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace, whether or not you have a pen.

For example, you can click the Edge icon.

windows ink pen enabled

Then use Edge’s Ink feature to write on a web page. Some of the same tools you’ll recognize from the Sketchpad and Screen Sketch app are also available in Edge’s Ink feature. You can also save and share your annotated web page.

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Get More Pen-Enabled Apps

The Get more pen apps link on the Windows Ink Workspace opens the Windows Store and shows you all the apps in which you can use your pen.

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Customize the Pen Settings

If you’re using a pen, you can customize it in the Windows 10 Settings app by clicking Pen & Windows Ink settings at the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace. As we mentioned, we don’t have a pen to test, but you can learn about the Pen settings on Microsoft’s support site.

windows ink pen settings

Organize Your Ideas and Life With Windows Ink

Try out the Windows Ink Workspace to take notes and create reminders for yourself, sketch your ideas, or annotate a screenshot. You can also share your sketches and screenshots with others.

If the Windows Ink Workspace doesn’t quite meet your note-taking needs, give OneNote a try.

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Changing Your Default Browser in Windows 10

First – in many ways I actually like Microsoft’s new internet browser, Edge. It certainly is an improvement over the now retried, Internet Explorer. However Edge is a browser still in its infancy – which can make using it frustrating at times. The additional problem here is that Edge is the default browser in Windows 10.

Because Edge is the default browser in Windows 10 many people are running the browser, and many of them might run it only because Microsoft has made it the Windows 10 default. You might be one of them.

In this article, I will outline the reasons you may want to switch from Edge to Chrome (my favorite), Firefox, Opera or another browser, and then show how you can replace Edge with any browser of your choice as your default.

One last note before we dive in: Even if you’ve previously set up another browser to be your default, it might have been changed since then. When there’s a major Windows 10 upgrade, the upgrade recommends switching to Edge, and you might have inadvertently made the switch.

Whatever the reason, though, if Edge is your Windows 10 browser, it’s easy to switch.

Why edge away from Edge?

There are plenty of reasons to move to a different browser. Start off with extensions — or more precisely, the lack of them. Edge was finally given extension support in August 2016, but even now the number of extensions is embarrassingly low — only about 65 as I write this. Chrome and Firefox each have thousands of extensions and add-ons. So if you want to improve your browser with add-ons and extensions, Edge isn’t the way to go.

If you’re a fan of Gmail, Edge isn’t the browser for you, either. Edge won’t display the Google Inbox, which is a far more efficient way to manage mail than the default Gmail interface.

Edge also has a number of awkward or just plain weird behavioral quirks. Open a new tab, for example, and there’s no address bar on it. To visit or URL or do a search, you have to type them into the search box. But when you’re visiting a site, you use the address bar. Speaking of the address bar, it doesn’t show the protocol being used on a web site, such as http or https. True, it shows a lock icon for https sites, but it’s nice to be able to see the entire address including the protocol, rather than having to look for a lock icon.

Finally, you might not want to use Edge for aesthetic reasons. Not everyone is a fan of its stripped-down look or the way it handles bookmarks and your history list — they are difficult to find, hidden under hard-to-decipher icons in out-of-the-way places. And even when you get to them, it’s not at all clear how to perform common tasks, such as adding folders or reorganizing Favorites.

How to designate another browser as your default

If you decide you want to switch to another browser as your default, it’s easy to do. You’ll need to first install the other browser on your system. After that’s done, click the Windows 10 Start button and click the Settings icon that appears on the left-hand side of the screen. (It looks like a little gear.) You can also type “settings” into the search box and click the Settings result that appears at the top of the screen.

Windows 10 Settings app Microsoft

In the Settings app screen, you’ll take one of two actions depending on what version of Windows 10 you’re using. If you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 Creators Update, which was released in April 2017, select Apps > Default apps. If you haven’t yet upgraded to the Windows 10 Creators Update, you won’t see an Apps icon on the Settings screen. Instead, select Settings > System > Default apps.

On the Default apps screen, you’ll see the default apps for email, maps, playing music, viewing photos and videos, and more. To change the default browser, you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of your screen.

Windows 10 settings - default apps Microsoft

When you get to the bottom of the screen, you’ll see Microsoft Edge under the “Web browser” listing. Click the Microsoft Edge icon and you’ll see a pop-up with a list of your installed browsers.

Windows 10 settings - selecting a new default browser Microsoft

(Side note: The pop-up also has a “Look for an app in the Store” option, but if you click it, you won’t find Chrome, Firefox, Opera or any other browser you’ve likely ever heard of. Clicking it launches a search of the Windows App Store for the term “http,” which turns up a motley collection of apps, from file downloaders to an app that dims your Windows background to make it easier to view videos. There are also some little-known browsers listed, such as AeroBrowse and BlueSky Browser. Try them out if you like, but keep in mind that they’re Windows Store apps, and as a general rule, Windows Store apps are underpowered compared to desktop apps like Chrome, Firefox and Opera.)

Click the browser that you’d like to be your default browser. As you’ll see when you click it, Microsoft doesn’t particularly want you to switch. A screen appears asking you to stay with Edge.

Windows 10 settings - before you switch browsers popup Microsoft

Click “Switch anyway,” and your new browser will now be the default. No need to restart; your work is done.

Windows 10 settings - Chrome as default browser

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