Browsers Windows

An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update

Tina Sieber 09-11-2015

The first major update to Windows 10 is being rolled out as a cumulative update this month. It delivers a series of user interface (UI) changes, some bug fixes, and several new default settings. Notable improvements include the updated Windows 10 activation How to Safely Activate Windows 10 and Avoid Scams and Malware Malware developers are trying to exploit shortcomings and bugs in Windows 10 by tricking you into "activating" the evaluation copy of the next version of Windows by downloading harmful files on your system. Don't! Read More  and new features to manage storage and find lost devices.


Let’s see which changes you’re facing, which settings you might want to adjust How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10 Here's how to change default programs and settings in Windows 10 if you aren't happy with how it behaves out of the box. Read More , and how you can receive the updates on your Windows 10 machine.

What’s New in the Windows 10 Fall Update?

A lot, yet nothing Earth shattering. Maybe this speaks for the quality of Windows 10 because no major repairs were required. But with at least one major feature missing, namely support for extensions in the Edge browser How to Set Up Microsoft Edge, the Default Browser in Windows 10 Microsoft's new Internet browser Edge made its first appearance in Windows 10 Insider Preview. It's still rough around the edges, but sleek and fast. We show you how to migrate and set it up. Read More , it also breeds disappointment.

New Version Number

With the Windows 10 Fall Update, Microsoft introduces a new numbering scheme. Instead of Windows 10.1, the new version is called 1511, which stands for 2015 November. Anyone buying or downloading Windows 10 from now on, will receive version 1511; until the next update.

Windows 10 Version 1511

Note that Microsoft has updated the Copyright year to 2016 (see screenshot above). Are we receiving this Windows version from the future?


Improved Windows 10 Activation

For most users, upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 How to Upgrade to Windows 10 Now & Why You Should Wait Have you been waiting patiently since July 29 for your Windows 10 upgrade? You should probably wait until you receive an official notification, but if you are determined, you can force the Windows 10 upgrade. Read More was smooth sailing. For some, however, it turned out to be a disaster. Moreover, many have shied away from upgrading because they prefer starting with a clean plate. On machines that didn’t have an UEFI Bios with an implemented Windows product key Four Places to Find Your Windows 8 Product Key With Windows 8, finding the 25-digit product key got harder. But you still need it to download installation media or install on a machine that didn't come pre-installed with Windows 8. Read More , this wasn’t possible until after upgrading to Windows 10. A clean install was too convoluted.

Starting with Windows 10 version 1511, a clean installation of Windows 10 will accept Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 product keys for activation. We will cover this in more depth in a separate article. When you go to Settings > Upgrade & security > Activation, you can see how your device was activated. Digital entitlement indicates that you did not enter a product key.

Windows 10 Digital Entitlement

This is not exactly an exciting feature for anyone already running Windows 10, but it might get Microsoft a little closer to its goal of one billion Windows 10 devices.


Managing Low Storage

In case you’re running out of storage on your Windows 10 device How to Free Up Storage Space to Run Windows 10 Did you run out of space for Windows 10, but want to upgrade or add more apps and data? We have compiled resources that will help you free up disk space on and for Windows... Read More , note that you can now install apps to an external storage unit, such as an SD card or a different disk partition. Go to Settings > System > Storage and under New apps will save to: choose your preferred location. You can also set individual storage locations for documents, music, pictures, and videos.

Windows 10 Storage Location

Similarly, you can choose where to store offline maps. This option can be found under Settings > System > Offline maps.

Track Your Device

Find My Device was finally imported from Windows Phone to Windows 10 How Much Windows Phone is in Windows 10? Windows 10 is not that novel. It contains a whole lot of Windows 8 and many features that were successfully pioneered on Windows Phone. Now we all get to enjoy them. Find out which ones... Read More . This feature lets you see the last known location for your device using GPS or location services. Go to Settings > Update & security > Find My Device to enable the service and log into to track its location.


Windows 10 Find My Device

Updates to Existing Apps & Features

You can finally use Cortana without a Microsoft account. Blurring the divide between desktop and mobile devices, she now can read inked notes, navigate PDFs inside the Edge browser, track movies and other ticketed events, warn you if you missed a phone call, save energy while not in use, and sync your messages and call history. You can even send SMS text messages directly from Cortana.

Cortana Text Message

It won’t support browser addons until 2016, but Edge receives a number of significant improvements with the Fall Update. When you mouse-over a tab in the titlebar, you will now see a tab preview. Edge can now also sync your favorites, reading list, and settings between all your Windows 10 devices.


Edge Tab Preview

Behind the scenes, the Edge browser engine now supports HTML5 and CSS3. It also comes with improved support for ECMAScript 6 and 7, a scripting language specification that originally became known as JavaScript. If you have Miracast and DLNA enabled devices in your network, Edge will allow you to broadcast media to those devices, provided the content isn’t protected.

Edge Cast Media To Device

The Snap assist feature has been updated to allow simultaneous horizontal resizing of two windows. Snap one window to the side of the screen, then select a second window to snap to the other side, and when you now try to resize one window, the neighboring window will expand or contract to take up the remaining screen space. This feature can be turned On or Off under Settings > System > Multitasking. The options is called When I resize a snapped window, simultaneously resize any adjacent snapped window.

Windows 10 Snap Assist

A slightly confusing update affects your default printer. If you allow Windows to manage this setting, the last printer you used will become your default printer. If that sounds weird, go to Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners to turn it Off.

Windows 10 Default Printer

All built-in apps have been updated and some new ones were added. Skype has been split up into Skype Video, Messaging, and Phone, and Sway, the modern and interactive version of PowerPoint Create Cloud Based Presentations With Microsoft's PowerPoint Destroyer Sway Microsoft Sway is a novel tool for building cloud based presentations. Sway offers a rapid design experience and a canvas for your ideas. Sways are quick to create and easy to share. Read More , now comes pre-installed with Windows 10.

Changes to the User Interface

The UI received a makeover in this update. The two most noteworthy changes affect the Start Menu and the color scheme.

The Start Menu received a refresh and now supports 2048 live tiles (up from 512). Some tiles will have jump lists (e.g. Office). Unfortunately, the Start Menu can now display ads How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop Windows 10 may be crossing a line with desktop ads and NSFW content. Microsoft and third-party developers can push promotional material directly onto your desktop. We show you how you can defend yourself. Read More for new apps available on the Windows Store. To disable Start Menu ads, go to Settings > Personalization > Start and set the option Occasionally show suggestions in Start to Off.

Settings Start Suggested Apps

The Fall Update introduces optional colored windows title bars, allowing you to replace the default white. Under Settings > Personalization > Colors enable Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar and select a color from the menu above.

Windows 10 Color Personalization

Other minor UI changes:


How Can I Upgrade to the Latest Version of Windows 10

The Windows 10 Fall Update, codenamed Threshold 2, is expected to be released on Tuesday, November 10. The cumulative update will install like any other Windows 10 update Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What's more... Read More and you can upgrade directly from Windows 10 RTM.

Head to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update and click Check for updates to see whether this update is available to you. Since it’s classified as a security update, it might have downloaded already, waiting for a reboot to install. If it says your device is up to date, then you completed the update already.

Windows 10 Fall Update

Did the Windows 10 Fall Update Meet Your Expectations?

The lack of Edge browser extensions is a blow, but Windows 10 version 1511 does come with some interesting new features. A complete list of changes can be seen here. We immediately noticed the new Snap assist feature and appreciate the new storage options. Some other new default settings The Windows 10 Settings Guide: How to Do Anything and Everything Do you know your way around the Settings app in Windows 10? Here's everything you need to know. Read More , such as default printer, seem odd though. What do you think?

Which is your favorite new Windows 10 feature or pet peeve? Did you notice any changes we haven’t mentioned above? Please share in the comments below and let’s discuss.

Related topics: Microsoft Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Windows 10, Windows Upgrade.

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  1. Brad Gale
    September 3, 2017 at 1:41 am

    I've been waiting an hour now. How long does this download take???

  2. Galane
    July 12, 2016 at 6:57 am

    "...allow simultaneous horizontal resizing of two windows."

    Haven't seen that feature since... Windows 1.0. If only 10 had the 1.0 style buttons (one of the things Apple sued Microsoft over, which resulted in the square corner buttons until XP) the transformation from a "3D" GUI back to the flat and sharp cornered 1.0 look would be complete.

    Windows 1.0. Non-overlapping tiles with live content and flat, unshaded, saturated colors. Modern UI. Non-overlapping tiles with live content and flat, unshaded, saturated colors.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks for your input, Galane! Some design choices in Windows certainly are debatable.

  3. ron
    November 24, 2015 at 3:33 am

    note that you can now install apps to an external storage unit, such as an SD card or a different disk partition

    Is this for real? Do you know anyone who has actually done it with MS Office 365? If it works, it would really make a LOT of people happy!

    The color scheme options are a nostalgic return to the color scheme used in 1980's era VGA monitors. Thanks to MS for downgrading my desktop computer to support phones.

  4. CyberRanger
    November 16, 2015 at 5:33 am

    I love to see a fix to the stupid corrupt Start Menu issue instead of kludges.

  5. Anonymous
    November 15, 2015 at 12:50 am

    "It also comes with improved support for ECMAScript 6 and 7, a scripting language specification that originally became known as JavaScript."
    It's still known as JavaScript. Scripts still end with ".js", script tags are still 'type="text/javascript"', and no one calls it ECMAScript, even though that's an official designation by the ECMA Association.

    • Luc
      January 26, 2016 at 10:37 pm


  6. LenS
    November 12, 2015 at 3:56 am

    I did not get 1511 in the Tuesday updates. Was it in fact pushed out somewhere in the World then (I'm in Canada)?

    • Anonymous
      November 15, 2015 at 12:51 am

      It's being rolled out in batches, to limit the number of download and install issues...easier to fix 10-15 problems and avoid them on subsequent downloads, than have 10,000 complaints all at once.

  7. Anonymous
    November 11, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Microsoft really needs to sort out the font issue. Windows 7 required absolutely zero tinkering when it came to the way the font was displayed. Trying to get the font to display clear in Windows 10 is a problem and my only complaint.

  8. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Windows 10 did everything I needed and more. I liked it - it was better than good, though not ideal. In fact, it had a deal breaker, for me. In addition to everything else I do on my computers, I have hobbies. One of them is collecting, often making or at least editing, wallpapers that I enjoy. I file them topically and change the rotating images, every once in awhile. Right now, for instance, I have autumn leaves and scenes - one facing to winter snow...and it's almost time to change to that collection. I've been doing this for years because it's quick and a better diversion than games, in my book. Eliminating that one thing from Windows 10 made me sad to go back, but glad I did. Until they bring that back, I'll stay with Windows 8 for now.

  9. Anonymous
    November 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Your images are all of Windows 8. What should we look for in Windows 7?

    • Tina Sieber
      November 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      The images are all of Windows 10 because this is about the Windows 10 Fall Update.

      This article has little to do with Windows 8 or 7.

  10. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Did Microsoft call it a "fall update" or is this the name given to the 1511 update by industry commentators?
    Naming an OS update according to a North American season ignores that fact that it is not autumn/fall in the southern hemisphere; and the seasons in other areas of the planet don't follow the notional four seasons per year schema of temperate zones. e.g. tropics, poles.
    Better to refer to future releases by month/year or version number (1511) please.

    • Anonymous
      November 10, 2015 at 1:57 am

      Microsoft is a North American company. And as we've seen by the recent neutering of their cloud storage offerings (their redefining the term, "unlimited", to mean cloud storage that is unlimited until someone uses it as an unlimited storage plan), they will at times do as they please with little regard to the consumer's opinions.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 10, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Very true.

      As far as I know Microsoft hasn't officially used the term "Fall Update", but they probably have used it internally and that was picked up by the press. The update is thus commonly known (at least among industry commentators) as "Fall Update". Microsoft's official version number is -- as you said -- 1511, which is explained in the article.

  11. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    I need at least one browser without extension support to compare its functionality to the others. I'm fine with Microsoft Edge not having it. I currently use the browser as much as I use Chrome, Firefox and Opera, which all have extensions installed for varying results. Lack of extension support notwithstanding, Edge is a darn good browser!

    • Tina Sieber
      November 10, 2015 at 10:37 am

      What do you appreciate most about Edge, Yodi? Do you find it faster or more stable than the other browsers? Or is there a particular feature you are missing in other browsers?

      • Anonymous
        November 10, 2015 at 10:30 pm

        Perhaps like me- preferred using (even older versions of)ff/chrome till now- rarely using IE(Edge)? :P
        My main reason: Cannot to turn cache off in IE.
        Edge seems no way to see offline/local html-files(not sure how to view any downloaded sites via Edge)?!
        Thanks in advance if teach me how to view local html@Edge. Cheers!

  12. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    There were some changes with the Windows 10 primary apps (Mail, Calendar, Store) they had a colorized format when opened and shown ion the taskbar. The colors have gone away recently, and the monochrome is still present.

    The Bluetooth connectivity menu also was a little bit different in previous TH2 builds. It would show what your PC's name was, there where more options when connecting and removing and pairing devices. The menu would show you these options. Recently the menu has gone back to the original.