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10 new features in Windows 10's first update

Windows 10 is now prettier, more colorful, and full of Skype.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
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1 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

The features you've been waiting for

Windows 10's first major update -- codenamed Threshold 2 and real-named Build 10586 -- is now available to Windows 10 users (if you don't have it yet, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates). The updated includes visual tweaks, performance fixes, new functionality for Cortana, and, of course, a bunch of mysterious glitches. Here are 10 new features (minus the glitches) you can look forward to:

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2 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

A bigger Start menu

You can now add a fourth tile column to the right side of the Start menu by going to Settings > Personalization > Start and turning on Show more tiles. Windows 10's Start menu also now supports 2048 tiles instead of the measly 512 tiles allowed in previous versions.

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3 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Window title bar colors

The accent color you choose in Settings > Personalization > Colors now applies to your window title bars, as well as your Start menu, taskbar and action center.

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4 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Tab preview in Edge

It's not mind-blowing, but it will save a few seconds: Hovering over a tab in Microsoft Edge will show a tiny preview of that tab's contents.

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5 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Easily resize snapped windows

When you snap a window to one half of the screen, Windows 10's Snap Assist pops up and lets you choose a window to go in the other half of the screen. Well, now you can resize both windows at once by clicking and dragging on the bar that separates them.

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6 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Automatically switch time zones

Windows 10 can now automatically set (and switch) your time zone based on your location. This will be turned on by default; to turn it off, go to Settings > Time & Language > Date & time and turn off the toggle under Set time zone automatically.

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7 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Sexier right-click menus

Microsoft is bringing its right-click menus into the 21st century -- right-click in the Start menu or on the taskbar and you'll see a modern-looking menu with white text on a dark gray background. Other right-click menus, such as the menus from the desktop or from within desktop apps, remain unchanged.

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8 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Skype is now standard

If you didn't have Skype before you downloaded Build 10586, you do now. This update includes three new messaging apps (messaging, voice calls, and video calls), all of which are powered by Skype.

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9 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Cortana is smarter

Cortana now has a couple of new tricks up her sleeve. If you're using a device with a stylus, you can now scribble notes to Cortana and she'll be able to read phone numbers, email address, and physical addresses (assuming your handwriting isn't awful). Cortana can now also keep track of ticketed events, such as movies and flights, from your email, and track coupons for sites your regularly visit in Edge.

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10 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Turn off the Windows log-in screen image

Getting rid of the Windows 10 log-in screen background used to be a whole registry-editing ordeal, but it can now be done right from the Settings menu. Go to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen and turn off the toggle under Show Windows background picture on the sign-in screen.

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11 of 11 Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

You can now activate Windows 10 with your Windows 7/8 product key

When Windows 10 first launched, the free upgrade was only available if you upgraded a device that was already running Windows 7 or Windows 8. Well, now you can do a clean installation on any device and activate Windows 10 using your Windows 7 or Windows 8 product key -- just go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Change product key.

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