Sorry, I couldn’t resist the obvious numeric joke. Today, November 12th, 2015 Microsoft released the first major update to Windows 10. Like any good thing, this update has many names; The Fall Update, The November Update, TH2, Build 1511, Build 10586, and Susan. They’re all the same.
If you’re in the Windows Insider Fast Ring, you’ve been enjoying these bits for a while. For the common Windows 10 user, the Build 1511 bits start trickling out today. If you want to do a fresh install of Windows 10, Build 1511, you can use the Windows Media Creation Tool. It has a lot of options, so if you’re going to do any Windows 10 installs or upgrades, spend a few minutes to check it out.
So what’s new in this update? A lot of great improvements. Microsoft’s blog post above outlines them. Paul Thurrott has a pretty good article on them too. I won’t go over all of them here, just the two or three that really grabbed me. Here’s a short list:
By now we’ve all come to terms with the fact that most Windows 7 and 8.1 users get Windows 10 for free. If you’re upgrading, it’s easy. But when if you’re installing fresh? Do you need to install 7 or 8.1 first, then upgrade? That seems pretty clunky. Build 1511 takes care of that. Now the Windows 10 installer will accept 7, 8.1, or 10 keys. That saves you the messy step of installing the old OS and upgrading.
This is my favorite addition added to Build 1511. With old Windows 10 (1507, or 10240) the Start Menu and Start Screen only allowed 2 columns of tiles, and those columns could be no wider than 3 Medium tiles wide. That meant you could not have two Wide or Large tiles next to each other in the same column. This was a step back from Windows 8.1. Build 1511 gives us the option to add a 4th, super-sized column. To take advantage of this go to Settings > Personalization > Start and Click “Show more tiles” to on. This hit the Windows button and enjoy your handiwork. It will look wonderful, something like this:
A 4th column, at no extra charge. What a country! In RTM Windows 10, Start only(!) supported 512 tiles. Now that egregious limitation has been increased to 2048. Hopefully that’s enough.
Tablet Mode got a couple of improvements. You have more options for snapping apps, and you can swipe down to close an app, like we were able to do with Windows 8.1.
For the 3 or 4 of you that are still using Edge, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that it did not get support for add-ins. That means no ad-blockers, no password managers, nothing. The good news is that it can now sync Favorites and Settings from PC to PC. You also now get previews of your open tabs. Finally you can now cast some video, audio, or pictures to select Miracast or DLNA devices. While it doesn’t support Chromecast, it does provide Chromecast like abilities to other devices.
Unless you take extraordinary measures, your Windows 10 boxes are all going to get this upgrade automatically. You won’t need to do anything to take advantage of these and all the other improvements. I’ve been using this build as part of the Windows Insider Fast Ring for a while, and it seems pretty stable. I’m sure you’ll love it. I’m in the process of upgrading my non Fast Ring boxes this very minute.
Edited 11/13/2015 to remove erroneous KB article reference.