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Windows 10's biannual update schedule starts in September


Now that the Windows 10 Creators update has officially arrived, Microsoft is looking forward to the next major updates in its release schedule. Although we already new Microsoft would bring another major release in September of this year, Redmond is also committing to a new twice-per-year feature release schedule for 2018 and beyond.

The announcement puts Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus on the same schedule, which should simplify support and compatibility issues moving forward. As Microsoft's GM of Windows Commercial Marketing Bernardo Caldas pointed out in a blog post, the company is trying to make "large-scale, costly wipe-and-replace Windows deployments every few years a thing of the past."

Microsoft hasn't officially named the next release yet, but the name "Redstone 3" has been floating around and users in the Windows Insider program are already getting a look at potential new features like Windows Power Throttling for background apps. According to The Verge, the Windows 10 team is also working on something called Project Neon that includes some visual design changes like a tweaked start menu and more transparency.

Windows 10 will throttle apps to improve battery life

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If there's anything that will kill your laptop's battery quickly, it's running background apps. They'll often chew up a lot of processor power regardless of what they're doing. Microsoft wants to do something about that on Windows PCs. It just released an Insider preview build of Windows 10 whose Power Throttling feature should keep the amount of CPU work to a minimum. If you have a portable PC with at least a 6th-generation Intel Core processor inside (wider support is coming), Windows can switch the chip to a more energy-efficient state when background apps are active. Those background apps will still get their work done -- they just won't be as demanding as they would be if they were front and center.

The technology throttles depending on whether or not it believes an app is running "important" tasks. It won't hamper your music app, for instance. However, there's a good reason why this is still a preview. Although Microsoft believes it can detect which apps will be fine with Power Throttling, it's asking for feedback in case it inadvertently hobbles a must-have tool. Thankfully, you can either opt out for certain apps (say, a video editing suite) or scale the feature back to invoke it less frequently.

The concept of limiting background apps to improve battery life isn't entirely new. Just look at Apple's App Nap in Mavericks for an example. However, App Nap and similar features typically work by telling the app itself to pause or slow down. Here, Microsoft is capping the hardware resources available to those apps -- it's governing the CPU itself. While there's no guarantee this will add hours of running time, it could make a noticeable difference if you regularly juggle multiple programs when you're on the road.



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