It’s been a little while since we’ve had a big Windows feature update, so it’s natural to be wondering what may be coming in the new year.
Microsoft typically rolls out two major feature updates per year, one in the spring and the other in the fall. They often bring welcome usability enhancements as well as features that can boost user productivity.
One of the most important tools in any person’s workflow is their work computer. No matter what software they may be accessing, if your operating system or PC aren’t cooperating or running efficiently, it can drag down whatever you’re doing.
In the upcoming 2021 Windows updates you can exact a mix of performance enhancements, accessibility improvements, and updates designed to create a better user experience.
Windows 10 Updates
While there are no guarantees, and features can be pulled out of a release at the last minute, here are some that are currently expected to be included in Windows 10 updates this year.
Startup App Notifications
You know how sometimes an application will automatically start when you reboot, even though you never specifically told it to do that? Well, you’ll soon know when an app is doing this.
Whenever a new Windows application sets itself up to automatically start with your PC at bootup, you’ll see a notification letting you know so you can change the setting if you want.
Better Emoji Picker
Emojis are becoming a language all their own. Another update planned is a newly designed emoji picker window that blends more with the Windows 10 mode. You’ll also find an emoji search bar. Currently, you have to begin typing in your document to search, not very intuitive.
The emoji panel will also add a tab for clipboard history (quite handy!). You can bring up the emoji picker window by pressing the Windows key + “.” (period).
Speaking of emojis, Microsoft will be adding support for Unicode emoji 12.1 and 13.0, which will bring over 200 more emoji options to Window 10. So, if you’ve been frustrated because you have emojis on your phone that you don’t have on your PC, this may fix that problem.
ARM Processor Emulation
Another expected feature update is the ability for x86 64-bit Windows 10 to be emulated on computers that use ARM processors, including the Surface line of notebooks.
This update will make it possible to run legacy Windows programs on those devices.
Windows Dictation Rebranded to Windows Voice Typing
To bring audio-based typing into the modern era, Windows Dictation will be rebranded to Windows Voice Typing, and will also get an update.
You’ll be able to use it to voice type wherever there is a text box, and the update is expected to bring a more reliable voice typing experience for users.
Drive Failure Warning
Hard drives can fail unexpectedly, and if your data isn’t properly backed up, you can lose everything on your PC. A new feature expected this year is Storage Health Monitoring.
This will warn you when one of your computer storage devices is getting ready to fail so you can make sure everything is backed up and have your storage device evaluated by a professional.
New Windows 10X Operating System
The much-anticipated new Windows operating system, Windows 10X, is expected to come out in 2021. It competes with the light-weight performance of the Chrome OS but has the feature-rich environment of Windows 10.
The entire architecture of Windows has been updated and modernized in Windows 10X, and as result, the OS doesn’t support legacy Win32 applications, as yet.
The entire OS will be more web-based, like Chrome OS, have a completely redesigned Start menu, and legacy components that are like an old friend (Control Panel, File Explorer) will be gone and replaced with different interfaces.
Windows 10 Cloud PC
Expected to launch sometime in the spring of 2021 is the Windows 10 Cloud PC. This moves your computer environment to the cloud – operating system, settings, and all – for access from any device and any location.
The cloud PC allows users to install applications on a cloud version of Windows 10. It’s designed to use very little of your device’s memory, which should make for a better user experience for those with computers with lower-level specifications.
It’s expected that Windows 10 Cloud PC will be introduced as an integrated experience with Windows 10 and Windows 10X, easing users into the habit of logging into a web-based desktop rather than a hard-drive-based one.
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