Q: When is the next major update to Windows 10 arriving, and will it cost money to install? Will it make the system better, and do I need to do anything to prepare for it?
A: You can download the new version now using Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update Assistant software; use Cortana search for “Windows 10 Update Assistant” to get started. Or, if you would rather have the new version come to you, the system began to roll out Tuesday as part of Microsoft’s monthly software updates. The update is free for those already running Windows 10.
Whether this new edition, called the Windows 10 Creators Update, will improve upon the current version of the system might be a matter of personal opinion, but Microsoft has highlighted some of the changes. For one, the Microsoft Edge browser, which some people found unstable and limited, has gotten a speed boost, better power and tab management and the ability to display e-books from the Windows Store.
The Windows 10 Creators Update also promises improved security and data privacy, stronger parental control over children’s screen time and better management over the software update process itself. As the name suggests, the new version of Windows 10 includes 3-D software tools and interactive gaming features for those who wish to create art, apps and more.
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As far as preparing for the next version of Windows 10 (which will arrive as a hefty download from Windows Update), be sure to back up your current system before you install the new one, just in case. Make sure your computer’s hard drive has at least 10 gigabytes of free space and any third-party drivers for your hardware are up-to-date. But as with any major system update, expect some bugs at first.
A Hangout for Old Desktop Notifications
Q: Several websites and programs send pop-up alerts to my Mac desktop, but the boxes don’t stay on my screen long and I’ve often missed what they said. Is there a way to make desktop notifications stick around?
A: The Mac’s desktop notifications (those little boxes that slide out from the right side of the screen when you get new mail or a website news alert, for example) may linger for only a few seconds on your screen, but you can change how they behave and how long they stick around. You can also see them again if you have them set to appear in the system’s Notifications Center. To open the Notifications Center, click the three-line icon in the top-right corner of the Mac’s main menu bar and then click the Notifications tab to see recent messages from your apps and websites.
If you do not see any alerts listed there, click the System Preferences icon in the Mac’s desktop dock. In the System Preferences box, click the Notifications icon to open the settings.
All your apps and sites that can send alerts are listed on the left side of the Notifications box. Click each entry in the list to make adjustments to the type of on-screen box you see — the floating Banner-style boxes go away on their own, but the Alert style will stay on your screen until you click the close box.
You can have the messages show in the Notifications Center panel, change the order they appear, turn on sounds for incoming updates and adjust a few other notifications behaviors. Close the System Preferences box when you are finished.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system keeps a list of notifications in the Action Center. To change the way alerts behave, go to the Start menu and select the Settings app. Select the System icon and then Notifications & Actions.