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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: The good, the bad and the 'meh'

Preston Gralla | Aug. 3, 2016
The new version of Windows 10 is a solid, if not dramatic, upgrade. Cortana haters, though, won't be happy.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update has been a year in the making, with more than two dozen public previews made available so that we could get a taste of what was to come. As of August 2nd, it is finally here.

This new version will be delivered via Windows Update -- although at the time of writing, it was not yet clear whether it would be available immediately to everyone or whether there would be a slower rollout.

So after all the time, all the work and all the hype, how does it stack up? Will it improve Microsoft's one-year-old operating system, or make users regret that they upgraded?

I've installed it on a Microsoft Surface 2 tablet and HP Stream 13 laptop in order to take an in-depth look. Read on for details.

Does Edge get an edge?

Microsoft introduced Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer, when it released Windows 10 a year ago. The browser hasn't exactly caught fire since then: According to NetMarketShare, Edge's share of the browser market in June 2016 was under 5%.

One reason might be that although Microsoft promised that Edge would support browser extensions, it hasn't yet done so. Until now, that is. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Edge supports extensions. And does a nice job of it, with one very large caveat: There simply aren't many extensions yet.

Installing extensions is simple. When you're in Edge, click the menu button at the top right of the screen (it's three horizontal dots). From the menu that appears, choose Extensions > Get extensions from the Store. You'll see icons for each extension available. Click any icon for more details, then click the button that either says "Free" or lists the price to download it. After the download, click the "Turn it on" button that pops up to enable the extension.

The extensions include one for clipping content to Evernote; one for letting you create and edit Office documents from within Edge; Microsoft Translator for translating web pages; OneNote Clipper for adding web content to OneNote; Mouse Gestures, which will allow you to use mouse movements for browsing; a Pin It button for adding web content to Pinterest; the Amazon Assistant for shopping on Amazon; and Reddit Enhancement Suite, which lets you subscribe to comment threads and more easily keep track of subreddits, among other things. There are also several ad blockers; an extension that translates foreign-language web pages; and one that lets you use an online version of Microsoft Office from inside Edge.

The Office extension integrates nicely with the client-based version of Office and with OneDrive. When you launch it, the extension displays the last seven documents you've worked on; you can click View more to see more. Click any document and you'll launch the file from cloud-based OneDrive and edit it using the same interface as Office 365.

 

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