The Windows 10 Creators Update is currently rolling out to users around the world. If you’ve not been offered the upgrade yet, you can expect it to land on your system over the next few weeks (though there are methods for upgrading immediately if you’re desperate).
The update brings a host of new features and apps, as well as improved security . Microsoft Paint has been given an overhaul, there’s new Cortana functionality, and you can expect revamped personalization options.
But before you dig into all the exciting new stuff, you need to make sure you’ve set up your operating system correctly. Here’s what you need to do as soon as you’ve installed the Windows 10 Creators Update.
1. Disable File Explorer Ads
Is nowhere safe from ads anymore? We expect them on the television and the web, but seeing them directly in Windows’ file system is another matter entirely.
By default, the File Explorer app includes ads. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s decision has irked users.
Frankly, the new “feature” should come as no surprise. Windows Insider Preview build 14901 included a notifications bar at the top of File Explorer as long ago as August 2016. Microsoft insisted the feature was “product education” — you can draw your own conclusions about what that means in non-corporate speak.
At the moment, the ads are only for Microsoft products. Users report that Office 365 and OneDrive have featured heavily. But how long will it be until we see targeted ads for third-party services? Probably soon. Luckily, there’s a way to disable the ads .
Head to Control Panel > File Explorer Options, or just type File Explorer Options in Cortana.
Next, select the View tab and scroll down to Show Sync Provider Notifications. Untick the checkbox, click Apply, and you’re done.
2. Set Up Windows Night Light
One of the most requested features has finally made its way onto the Windows 10 Creators Update. It’s a “blue light filter” called Night Light .
It’s not as feature-rich as third-party options like Flux, but if you prefer to avoid non-native apps, it works well.
Filtering your screen’s blue light emissions in the evening can theoretically reduce eye strain and improve your sleep patterns . When exposed to artificial blue light, the human body reduces the amount of melatonin it produces and increases its heart rate, body temperature, and general alertness.
If you want to enjoy a better night’s sleep (who doesn’t?!), it’s worth spending a few minutes setting up the new Night Light feature.
Navigate to Start > Settings > System > Display and toggle the slider next to Night Light.
Next, click on Night Light Settings to customize the app. You can change the color temperature and schedule the times you want the app to turn itself on. If you have Location Services enabled, it can automatically engage at sunset. If you don’t, you have to enter the hours manually.
3. Windows Defender Security Center
Another new feature you can expect is the Windows Defender Security Center. Its aim is to offer a one-stop shop for keeping you and your system protected from security threats.
If you’re not sure how to best defend yourself from viruses, malware, and phishing attacks, it’s a useful additional to the operating system.
You’ll notice the app’s icon in your system tray. Click it, and you’ll be given a list of actions you can take to protect yourself better. Work through the various recommendations, and you’ll immediately be safer.
But there’s a flip-side, the notifications can get annoying, especially if you’re already well versed with managing your system and security. The endless “Battery Recommendations” are particularly annoying.
You can permanently turn off the app and its associated notifications by disabling it at start-up. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Task Manager. Next, click on More Details and head to the Startup Tab.
Locate and highlight Windows Defender Notification Icon, then click Disable in the bottom right-hand corner.
4. Adjust Your Privacy Settings
This one is hard to miss, but it’s important you read the on-screen information: don’t blindly click through the options.
When the Creators Update loads for the first time, you see a window like the one below. Don’t click Remind Me Later, there are some important settings you need to review.
The app will give you five privacy options for you to tweak.
Your Windows 10 Creators Update privacy options are:
- Location — Apps and services will be able to request your location, and the data may be sent to Microsoft.
- Speech Recognition — This setting lets you interact more fluidly with Cortana. Again, Microsoft might receive the data.
- Diagnostics — As per the on-screen information, this allows Microsoft to collect data on your browser use, app use, feature use, and even typing.
- Tailored Experiences with Diagnostic Data — Microsoft will use the aforementioned diagnostic data to offer you products and services.
- Relevant Ads — Microsoft will collect your app usage and use it to send you third-party ads.
Clearly, these privileges are a nightmare for privacy-conscious users. But there’s a trade-off: disabling some features, such as location data and speech recognition, will hinder the value of some of the operating system’s best features. You need to decide what level of intrusion is right for you.
5. Default Apps
Some users have reported that the Creators Update has reset their default apps back to the Microsoft stock products after upgrading.
For example, all your locally-saved movies, TV shows, and personal videos might open in the Films & TV app, all your images could open in Photos rather than your preferred photo viewer, your default browser has potentially been reverted to Edge, and so on.
The problem isn’t universal, but you definitely need to check whether the problem has affected you.
Head to Start > Settings > Apps > Default Apps. You will see a list of the default apps for the most common types of content, including images, videos, browsers, and music. Check to ensure they’re all displaying your preferred programs.
Next, scroll down and click on Set Defaults by App. It lets you investigate your choices at a more granular level, letting you pick apps that aren’t shown in the basic list such as PDF viewers and calculators.
What Settings Have You Changed?
I’ve shown you five settings everyone needs to check and set up before they start enjoying the latest Windows update.
Now I’d love to hear some of your input. Has Microsoft upgraded you to the Creators Update yet? What settings and apps did you have to customize to get your operating system running exactly the way you like it?
You can leave all your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below.
Image Credits: STILLFX/Shutterstock