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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update's top 5 features

Myerson Windows 10

Myerson Windows 10 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is just under a month away, meaning the OS is now finalized and features are locked in. The Fall Creators Update is packing a few new features and changes that we're particularly excited about. In fact, here are the five features we're most looking forward to.

On-Demand Sync

On-Demand Sync is possibly the most exciting feature coming in the Fall Creators Update. It brings back functionality that was originally introduced in Windows 8, allowing you to see your entire OneDrive without having to actually download a single file. It's real cloud storage, and it's incredibly useful.

On-Demand Sync allows you to only download the files you need. For example, if a user has a Word document on OneDrive that they need to edit, they can double-click it like any regular file, and Windows will quickly download it for local editing. Once done, OneDrive will sync the changes and then remove it from your local disk to free up the disk space it took up when you downloaded it for editing.

My People

My People is a new taskbar feature that acts as a hub for all the social apps you have installed on your device. From there, you can launch apps and conversations, and even pin contacts to your taskbar for easy conversation in Skype or other messaging apps. Its implementation is pretty basic in the Fall Creators Update, but it definitely gets the job done.

You can also receive animated emoji directly on your desktop from Skype. This feature is going to be one that you either love or hate. My People itself will live or die depending on app support, which means we're seriously hoping developers will adopt the My People hub and allow us to communicate with our friends directly from the taskbar.

Emoji panel

This is a smaller feature, but one that is still useful. Microsoft is finally giving us a dedicated Emoji keyboard panel with the Fall Creators Update. Accessible from any text input field, hitting the WIN + .(period) will open up a small window full of Emoji that you can select and insert into your text.

Up until now, Windows 10 hasn't really had a dedicated way of getting access to Emoji. You could use the touch keyboard, but that wasn't easy or convenient for users who use a mouse and keyboard. Now, with the Fall Creators Update, it's as simple as hitting a quick keyboard shortcut. This is easily one of my favorite new additions to Windows 10 during the last couple of years.

If you're not a huge fan of Emoji, the new Emoji panel has been designed in a way that it's never actually visible unless you want it to be. It's completely hidden unless you hit that key combination of WIN + .(period), which means you won't get annoying Emoji taking up space on your screen when typing.

Windows Mixed Reality

This is a feature that not everyone is going to be able to try out at first, mostly because it requires dedicated hardware to function, but the Fall Creators Update includes a brand new Mixed Reality experience that puts virtual reality (VR) at the front and center of Windows 10.

With a dedicated VR headset, you will be able to interact with your PC via "Cliffs House", a virtual home built specifically for the Mixed Reality world. There, you can open apps, manipulate them in a 3D environment, pin them to walls, and move around the virtual space just like on HoloLens, except in VR.

The Fall Creators Update is Microsoft's official debut of Mixed Reality for Windows 10. The launch of the Fall Creators Update will also see the launch of new Mixed Reality headsets from hardware makers such as Dell, HP and Acer. You will also be able to use motion controllers to interact with the virtual environments.

We'll have more coverage on the Windows Mixed Reality features before the Fall Creators Update launches on October 17.

With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is allowing users to link their phones, whether it be an iPhone or Android device, with their PCs. This feature allows phone users to share web pages directly with their Windows 10 devices, automatically opening up Edge and allowing the users to continue browsing that web pages that were originally open on their phones.

This feature will evolve over time to include more capabilities and apps, but for now, it acts as a simple way to send open web pages in your phone's browser to your PC without having to email yourself the link or manually search for the same web page on your PC.

What are you most looking forward to?

Those are our picks for the top five features coming in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Wow. I haven't been paying too much attention to this update, but is that seriously all there is? Serious question.
  • It's even worse when you remember "on-demand sync" and "my people" were supposed to arrive with the March Creators Update.
  • Yeah, but at least pretty much everyone can get the update, think how many Android devices stop getting updates when the new model comes out (or before).  Two updates a year, consistent, to near everyone is pretty impressive... plus this isn't counting all the backend changes.
  • Whataboutism
  • Apples and pears, Windows is suppose to be a computer OS, Android is a mobile phone and tablet OS. Not that I am saying it is ok for Google to drop support, but how long do you expect them to support an version of an OS for? The only reason MS supported Windows XP for as long is because Vista failed.      
  • Android gets updated through the Play Services too. Just because you don't get the newest Android version, doesn't mean your device isn't being updated. Apps will continue to be supported and new features are added through Play Services. Google directly updates every Android phone running 4.0 and higher regularly. Android version updated aren't that important, especially when manufacturers skins already may have the features being introduced.
  • Alphabet does not fix security holes directly on OEM devices, that is up to the OEM to implement for their lines (due to the fragmentation and customization you mention), so no Play doesn't update the same stuff.  Yeah sure all my apps stay updated and the basic services update... but most Androids are running around on old OS designs with secuirty holes because the OEM stop supporting the models in a year.
  • Well, I really want to see, if "My people" is useful as they yell. Do we need apps that support this feature? What about the 4 important social apps: facebook, instagram, messenger and whatsapp? With my contacts I barely use email and skype seems to die. Is SMS via Windows Mobile finally supported (without skype app), then it could make sense. Otherwise at least for me it's just a bunch of useless icons in the task bar. The whole contacts part of Windows/ is just a mess right now. Linked contacts are never saved (except Skype I guess). Always I have to remove some weird double links (two times same person, with different details). In contacts app I cannot delete Skype users, but Skype is so much tight together with (I really regret, I connected the accounts). Organization info is always empty (what does it mean). Oh, syncing is maybe done, once a day. Very smart if I just add a contact, leave for work and then this needed contact is still missing :( Timeline on Windows 10 does not show SMS. Even birthdays are so annyoing. Some do show up in calendar, some do not. Now they changed reminder to 18 hours before on my phone, so I get alert when I wake up, and immediatly congratulate... How dumb is this (and me, because I would like 5 minutes before midnight for all birthdays). Ah, I like to order names by "lastname, firstname". Skype contacts are always shown as "firstname lastname" - even in my contacts app, which is also annoying. AND STILL THOSE WEIRD LOOKING CIRCLE CONTACT IMAGES!!!11eleven
  • Suits me, to be honest,  i do nto want these extra features thatg Ms will chuck at us and  make it difficult to uninstall. All I want is an OS to run the software i want to run, not what Ms wants me to run and an Os that do not try to force me to use MS apps and also one that do not spy. TBH, if windows XP would run on my machine I would go back to that, it just worked and no stupids apps trying to take over, oh yeah and no stupid so called assistant, like Cortana.      
  • Still seem to only be able to use the Emoji panel if the keyboard is set to US, and not UK.
  • Another mostly "under the hood" release.  While Apple OSes are marching strong, we are handed scraps.
  • Although this list is disappointing I am not sure OSX is marching ahead.  I am however disappointed at Microsoft, they need to get better at delivering 
  • I was thinking more of iOS.  But I get your point.
  • But IOS is mobile, while Windows 10 can be used as mobile it have not really done that well as a mobiles OS. Saying that from users of IOS i know, they do not think IOS is marching on either.  TBH, no OS is,, they just add more ways to get more info out of us.  
  • Im kind of mobile guy so this goes by without further notification. The sad story of mobile we already know. Where is MS going right now, are they all-in for mixed reality, windows 10, mobile, cloud....where are they?
  • The full list of the upgrade is not 5, but 50 if not 100 item list...
  • I'm not impressed by bringing back removed features (offline files), the features listed here are pretty underwhelming (really, emojis are an OS feature being promoted?) and I honestly cant tell what other features will be in this update so basically nothing.
  • if these are the most exciting features...
  • "for easy conversation in Skype or other messaging apps" What other messaging apps supports People hub?
  • Only Skype and Mail. It's a very dissapointing feature. On the surface it looks exciting, but on a consumer level it's pretty useles. I see it being more useful in a corporate environment.
  • Let's see if they can integrate Microsoft Teams into this. If not, it'll prove another failing point for UWP and its extensibility, especially since certain apps like that aren't fully native so who knows how extensible they are allowed to be.
  • My People Hub integration... you mean like the People Hub integration that was stripped from Windows Phone/Windows Mobile due to low usage and poor application support? Where even the Microsoft heavily invested Facebook chose to remove their integration in favor of using one of the many apps they have? Ha, Skype is unpopular in the US so I don't see My People taking off at all there. Maybe across Europe and Asia it will prove useful.
  • It cannot be useful outside US since Microsoft does not support Europe and Asia on first level anymore ;)
  • I'm in the US. I can count on people I contact that I've never met before having 2 means of live contact (i.e., in addition to e-mail): telephone and Skype. Occasionally someone requests we speak via GoToMeeting or Skype for Business (annoyingly completely incompatible with Skype) and once or twice I've had a request to use Google Hangouts, but the last time for that was 2-3 years ago. Skype is very much alive and well, and a great example of a UWP app. Thanks to its ability to deliver text messages to my computer screen and let me reply to them from a real keyboard, even if I couldn't use it for most of my voice and video calls, I'd still be a die-hard Skype user.
  • Exactly, been tried already and the market didn't take to it. It's easy to predict the outcome for this feature, especially with a company that ditches anything that doesn't immediately set the world on fire, instead of sticking with ideas that they believe in long term.
  • Nvm, but i only found 5th number feature useful.
    Mixed reality devices aren't affordable for everyone.
  • Makes you think... where are the thousands of employees and what are they actually doing?
  • Waiting for the next 1000 to be fired😂
  • Grouping processes in Task Manager are much more useful than those 5 top features together.
  • Regarding the link your phone feature, will this allow iPhone users to send and receive text messages using the PC? I thought this was supposed to be part of the feature but I think the article is suggesting it won't. Curious whether anyone knows for sure.
  • No. That was part of Messaging Everywhere which was Skype integrating SMS Messaging into its app. I'm not sure if this was ever intended from Android or iOS platforms, but it worked on Windows 10 Mobile. Whether people want to use Skype...the oft redesigned and poorly adopted messaging App to handle their SMS Messaging is another question altogether.
  • As of the Creators Update (from April), you can send text messages from your PC if you have an Android or Windows Mobile device. Because of the way that iOS works, apps are not allowed to send our receive text messages, so it looks like iOS users won't be getting that feature in the near future.
  • I love that feature through Skype on my Windows Phone. Something that helps me several times every day.
  • <sigh>. Sync on Demand is just Microsoft putting back IN a feature that existed in Windows 8.  My People is just another annoying taskbar thing, which I've disabled and I will continue to use the People app.  And I'm about ready to go postal on people for using emoji---I'm sick of these stupid things. Mixed Reality will be nice enough once devices are affordable and there's something more than niche application to it.  And my phone is already linked since it's a Windows phone.
  • I didn't use this enough in Windows 8 to know for sure, but isn't it actually more advanced now -- it's Placeholders plus the on-demand features for editing files locally that remain stored only on OneDrive. I thought Windows 8 only had the first half of that, no?
  • Disappointing. One old feature finally re-enabled (placeholders), two minimal social media links that I'll disable asap, mixed reality (because VR has been doing so great), and a phone link that doesn't do very much. Good usage of a half year, MS!
  • I think the addition of enabling back-end features like Windows on Arm are impressive. They're just not on this list because that has no value to existing PC owners/users. On the user-facing side, Microsoft appears to be trying to tighten and combine functions so it's not such a huge mess with several confusing pathways and programs to do the same thing. It remains to be seen if they'll succeed, but it's surely an important transition for them. They're also trying to build enabling pieces that will actually be used. Take the My People function -- not something I care about that much, but I think it's strategically smart. Many are deriding it for being like a rebirth of the beloved People Hub on Windows Phone 7, which they point out MS abandoned. What I think they're missing is that failed not because MS dropped it, but because hardly anyone used Windows Phone so it got no third-party developer support, and Facebook prevented it from working with their system to force people over to Facebook apps. Now, with My People being a core feature baked into the OS used by virtually everyone at some point during the day, this has a good chance of getting Facebook and others to use it (we'll have to wait and see). If they do, that means MS can use the same API to provide a working People Hub that won't collapse from lack of third party support.
  • They should have listed being able to use the Pen/Stylus as a method to scroll and Navigate the UI. That way you can fully interact with Tablets without having to dual use your Finger and the Stylus
  • The new update is amazing. Actually the only thing I don't like, is all these negative people and comments.
  • It's interesting. It's like anger over MS dropping Windows Phone has created a lot of anti-MS posters here, from what used to be mostly positive comments. Ironically, that sort of proves the point a lot of them make -- MS should have worked to keep the existing Windows Phone users happy and in the fold, so they'd be brand supporters (including Windows on PC, like with this article) and early adopters of a future Windows on Arm mobile device. Instead, MS alienated them and their anger makes those potential early fans more likely to be critics. For my part, I continue to use the last Windows Phone on Verizon -- the Lumia Icon, just got a replacement battery for it (they say the battery is not replaceable, but it's actually quite easy to pop open the case and replace the battery, and a new battery only costs ~$15). I'll keep running on that as long as I can, hoping for a Windows on Arm device or other Windows-based mobile device, or maybe even the Elite X3 moving over to Verizon, which I've also read is finally hapenning, though with Feature 2 vs. the Creators Update being the only OS-level difference between them and a downgraded camera, not sure it's worth the switch.
  • 1. General performance and stability improvements 2. Further improvements of the tablet experience. 3. New Edge improvements 4. Swipe keyboard. Only problem is language support is very poor, even when compared to windows 10 mobile. I don't understand why. 5. New and improved windows update.   In my experience Mypeople is still a fragmented implementation of the People app. app. All functionality should not be limited to the taskbar, but ought to be implemented with the people app for more functionality, flexibility and a an overall sense of cohesiveness in the windows experience.
  • Good additions to the list. If Edge has a working Favorites Bar (nested folders) and supports Shift-Delete as Cut (same as Ctrl-X) then I'll be happy. Those defects are, for me, the biggest pain points in the CU edition of Windows 10. Lack of a Swipe Keyboard is another, so very, very glad that's coming. It will make using the on-screen keyboard vastly more pleasant when in tablet mode.
  • I'm looking forward to being able to sign a .PDF document in Edge. No longer will I have to print, sign with a pen, scan, and save. This will greatly simplify that process.
  • I use Drawboard PDF (available on the store) to annotate PDF files with a pen. The free trial lasts forever and there are minimal additional features in the pro version of you wanted to try it out.
  • The old READER app worked for this as well
  • I agree that will be nice, but that feature is actually available in the current default free reader from Adobe too. Just select Tools -> Fill & Sign -> choose one of the two slots (must be blank, hit the minus sign if it's not) and then the Draw option to add the signature. You can leave it saved as a stamp for later or you can add a new signature every time. The only negative is that you can't just tap on a "Sign" button and skip the extra steps, but it's all pretty fast.
  • F11 Full Screen Edge!!!! At last!!!!! Come on people! Party!!!....................Seriously have been waiting since Edge's release for this feature to get out...
  • How futuristic.
  • Shift-Windows-Enter does this now. Not sure why that isn't broader knowledge. That's actually how to make any UWP app full-screen. Sort of a partial "Windows 8 Tablet Mode" toggle for the active app.
  • Yes, I know about this and it doesn't count....its not part of the app function.
  • @Chuck Halverson, why would that not count? What's the difference between pressing F11 and pressing Shift-Windows-Enter in terms of providing a full screen view? For what it's worth, I do agree that F11 should do it too, for a consistent UI to what users expect (for example, I hate that Shift-Del does not Cut in the current version of Edge, where in all other applications it's identical to pressing Ctrl-X). But I don't think it's fair to say that Edge lacked a full screen mode before. It just didn't support the familiar way to activate it.
  • Can you change tabs in this mode? 
  • Chuck, yes, you can change tabs after pressing Shift-Windows Enter, same as when not full screen -- just press Ctrl-Tab to cange to next tab and Shift-Ctrl-Tab to change to the previous tab.
  • My original point  is that the app itself does not have full screen function. It’s a basic feature that has been on browsers a decade ago. I am not a keyboard shortcut guy but a mouse guy. I’ll hit F11 once and use my mouse to choose the tabs afterward. IE11 and Firefox are the current browsers that have this function. I’m very much looking forward to it in edge as I would like to use edge more. 
  • Chuck, I see what you mean -- if you move the mouse cursor to the top of the screen in IE or Firefox after hitting F11, you can see the other open tabs. That's not true in Edge after hitting Shift-Windows-Enter -- you just get the minimize, restore, and close icons.  With the upcoming tabbed windows for all applications feature baked into the OS' UI, this would be a nice universal enhancement -- Shift-Windows-Enter makes all apps go full screen, mouse to top to see all tabs for that app (whether it's a browser, Notepad, Calculator, or UWP PowerPoint). 
  • But at least in Netflix, using the UI and using Win+Shift+Enter is different behavior.
  • I think this coming update is probably looking like the most disappointing and underwhelming of the Windows 10 updates so far. I don't understand how in half a year and with all these beta testers/insiders making suggestions and requests, that this is all they can come up with regarding front-end stuff.
  • I think the Windows on Arm development makes this the biggest and most impressive update since the release of Windows 10.
  • can you link your windows phone too?
  • Not using the new tools, but most of the features they're adding for iOS and Android are already there for those of us with Windows Phones.
  • After Windows 10 Mobile they try to abandon Windows 10 Desktop slowly ;)
  • Even this was a joke, I actually think, Nadella would like this. Some of the basic preinstalled Microsoft apps do barely get feature updates (except Edge, which "connects to their cloud"). Cortana - one of the main features get worse every month. In Germany I cannot even tell her anymore to navigate me somewhere. The system itself is slowly improving. Oh yeah, they got Windows 10 on ARM now, but I just hope it's a comeback for mobile and not just cheap desktop windows systems (while those are still interesting). How much did UWP improve in the last updates? There is still a big lack to substitute WPF applications, UWP applications are still simple dumb (mobile) apps basically. There are 1000s of great ideas on youtube and anywhere. Look what they have done. MyPeople, just a reincarnation of People hub, which needs to get adopted by social media apps. And we all know how much they care about Windows. Social media is on mobile! So we get link to phone feature. Great feature for sharing web pages... users with chrome and android do this probably faster and in every country.  So for now, it's just another pushback to another redstone release. Like on mobile, keep the users waiting until it dies... This comment contains a lot of exaggeration ;)
  • It's interesting that neither article nor comments mention the Fluent design.
  • I like this my people but it will depend on developers, the main Microsoft problem.
  • And guys, there is not much more anyone can make on a PC. Most updates are able on mobile devices. What can they add on PCs.
  • I guess these features are for the newer generations. None of these features are useful to me. I wish they would make tablet mode better. We still cannot select multiple tiles. Still can’t sort full screen all apps list. Still can’t search full screen all apps list. Can't swipe into the full screen all apps list. Can't customize full start screen background Still can’t enter desktop in tablet mode. Still can’t rename, delete, move folders and programs in app list Still no brightness slider. Still no option for direction scrolling .......
  • They are probably replacing it. No reason to update something you are dumping anyways.
  • What are you most looking forward to? Maybe My People but only if 3rd party apps offer it . 
  • Hopefully being integrated into the Taskbar, they will. We'll have to wait and see, but that sure seems like a compelling feature for any aspiring social app to use -- take advantage of it, and hundreds of millions of people will suddenly be able to get updates from users of your company's system. If nothing else, this is a great boon for the smaller companies, because you don't to persuade users to add another app that's always running and clutter their systems. The old People Hub on Windows Phone 7 was great like this, but third parties lost interest, because there were so few users, so not worth their effort, especially those same smaller companies who could have benefitted from it. That's not the case this time.
  • I honestly don't care about this update. But... REDSTONE 4 COME TO ME!!!!!!!!!!
  • If the crippled On-Demand Sync is the most exciting feature, then I am distinctly underwhelmed by the Fall Creators Update. Yes, you can see your entire OneDrive, but you can't search on any of the file metadata, as you could with the original Placeholder system.
  • All of these people saying a full desktop OS is behind mobile OSes are funny. Call me when you can play COD: WWII, Battlefield 1 and Destiny 2 on Android/iOS. Those devices would explode.🤣
  • The link your phone option looks interesting! Glad to hear its coming. I just wish there was a way to sync notifications without Cortana.
  • As for the phone link feature, Microsoft surely need to develop Edge browser for Android and iOS. Just sending links? It can be done with OneNote, Google Keep, Insrabullet, etc.
    Workout deeper integration, it came compete with Chrome.