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VOL. 41 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 24, 2017

Windows update will bring 3-D, game tools and less clutter

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NEW YORK (AP) — A major update to Microsoft's Windows 10 system will start reaching consumers and businesses on April 11, offering 3-D drawing tools, game-broadcasting capabilities and better ways to manage your web browsing.

This "Creators Update" also aims to make future updates less disruptive.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it will roll out the Creators Update to some 400 million Windows 10 devices worldwide over time. Though there's no set schedule, devices that came with Windows 10 installed will likely get the update first. That will make it easier for Microsoft to work out kinks for older devices, which are potentially more problematic.

Once you get it, here are four things to check out.

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WEBSITE CLUTTER

Throughout the day, you're likely using your web browser for a variety of tasks — researching a trip, checking the news and, gasp, doing actual work. Having all those websites open at once could prove cumbersome.

Windows 10's Edge browser now has a small icon on the upper left corner for setting aside a group of websites. Say, your deadline on a work project is rapidly approaching. Just hit the button to clear out website tabs for your Caribbean getaway. When you're ready to return to trip planning, hit an adjacent icon to restore those tabs you've set aside.

You can set aside multiple groups; the most recent ones appear on top. When things get rough, you can scroll down to check the set of job search sites you set aside weeks ago.

Though browsers let you bookmark sites, you probably don't want permanence for trips and short-term projects. Once you restore tabs using the new feature, you'll need to set them aside again when you're done for future access. And tabs won't sync across devices.

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IN 3-D

Paint, a graphics app Microsoft first shipped with Windows 1.0 in 1985, is getting a major refresh. You can now create images in 3-D .

Start by pressing the cube icon at the top. You can create 3-D images from scratch or choose an object, such as a cylinder, a fish or a person. You can get additional models from a 3-D online community called Remix and even share your creations there. You can add stickers, such as eyes, by tapping the icon to the right of the cube.

Play around to get a feel for all the capabilities. Expect lots of trial and error — and frequent use of the "undo" button.

3-D images created through paint will be compatible with 3-D printers and printing services.

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GAMERS, REJOICE

A game mode optimizes the computer for gaming. Other tasks can still run in the background but won't consume as much of the system resources. Game mode is on by default; you can turn it off through a new central location for system-wide game settings (individual games might still have their own settings).

Windows 10 also gets a broadcasting service called Beam, which Microsoft bought last year. Before, to share live streaming of game play, gamers had to install and activate Beam or a competing service separately.

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LESS-ANNOYING UPDATES

Although Creators Update is only the second major update since Windows 10's release in 2015, Microsoft has issued many smaller ones along the way. They often require a restart and can come at inopportune times — such as the start of an important meeting. Users with the Home edition of Windows 10 had no options for postponing updates.

Microsoft says it has listened and will give all users the ability to schedule a time or defer updates for three days. This doesn't mean you can avoid updates forever, but it gives you more say over when.

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