Windows 10: FCU rollout, Photos, ransomware protection

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I just wanted to roll up some links of interest from around the Web, all to do with Windows 10 in one way or another, though not all mobile-related.

Firstly, Microsoft has, of course, started the rollout of the Fall Creators Update (a.k.a. Redstone 3) across the world, with even some Windows 10 Mobile production devices getting in on the action by all accounts. (Though see here for the limited FCU mobile distribution.)

Earlier this week we began a targeted rollout of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and I shared with you how to get it. Today, I’d like to share more details on how we will roll out this feature update to Windows 10 devices, including PCs, phones and IoT devices.

Phased Rollout Approach

The Fall Creators Update begins rolling out to newer devices tested by us and our device partners. By starting with machines which we believe will have the best update experience, we are able to get focused feedback on application compatibility and how Windows works with the rich ecosystem of available peripherals like Bluetooth devices or cameras. Additionally, we closely monitor feedback from fans and early adopters, through programs like Windows Insiders and Windows Insider for Business, in addition to feedback from our OEM device partners, and customers like you! This helps us determine when to accelerate the release to additional devices. We repeat this process until all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide are offered the Fall Creators Update.

We believe this approach provides the highest quality update experience for all our customers.

The Fall Creators Update is the most secure version of Windows 10

Being on the latest version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, provides the latest security protections to help keep you safer, and provides you with the latest features and capabilities.

As I outlined in June, Windows 10 continuously improves its built-in protection capabilities to harden its security platform against unwanted threats and malicious malware. In particular, with this update we’ve added protection against ransomware, which holds your files hostage until you pay to get them back. Read here to learn more about other new features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. If you want to know which system your device is running, you can check here.

Given these built-in security protections and the importance of keeping devices secure, being up-to-date is more important than ever. We’re glad to be seeing devices are staying up-to-date with the latest feature update faster than ever, with most devices running the latest feature update within 6 months of the release.

I've heard from quite a few readers with 'production' status Lumia 650 and 950 phones who have now received the FCU. All my recent Windows 10 Mobile phones are on various Insider builds, so it's tough to test production rollouts here! Comments welcome.

Secondly, it turns out that Windows 10 (for Desktop) has an anti-ransomware 'controlled folders' system, but it's not turned on by default. Worth noting, anyway. The Register did a good little write up on this, including:

A below-the-radar security feature in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, aka version 1709 released last week, can stop ransomware and other file-scrambling nasties dead. The controlled folder access mechanism within Windows Defender prevents suspicious applications from changing the contents of selected protected folders.

Though controlled folder access has been known about for months – it surfaced with Insider builds earlier this summer – the feature is only now being thrust into the spotlight with the general public release of the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10. The feature can be enabled through the Windows Defender Security Center App for most users, and is accessed by opening the virus & threat protection screen within Defender. From there, users switch on the controlled folder access option to activate controlled folders...

Once the feature has been activated, essential directories like the user's documents folder are locked off from any malicious applications that seek to encrypt files to hold them to ransom, or scramble them to destroy them. Users can also designate additional folders to be protected from unauthorized changes.

The idea is to safeguard data from any ransomware infections that manage to give your third-party antivirus, if present, the slip.

"This feature protects your files from tampering, in real-time, by locking folders so that ransomware and other unauthorized apps can’t access them. It’s like putting your crown jewels in a safe whose key only you hold," explained Microsoft today. "Cybercriminals can’t extort money if they can’t encrypt your files. Controlled folder access is a powerful tool that can render ransomware attacks worthless."

Intent is all well and good, but how does the new Windows 10 security feature perform in the wild? According to researchers, the initial results have been encouraging. The mechanism was able to stop the Locky ransomware.

It goes without saying, those who can activate the controlled folder access on their Windows machines should definitely do so.

Ransomware is one of the scourges of the modern age (no one reading this is likely to get caught, but we all know family members who might not be as careful online), and I do wonder why this facility wasn't enabled by default or introduced as part of the start up wizard in Windows 10?

Thirdly, Photos UWP is a fairly powerful application in Windows 10 Mobile, but with the extra screen real estate on the desktop/tablets, it now does a whole lot more under FCU. As Microsoft explains here:

Did you know that with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the reimagined Photos app makes creating and editing videos easy and fun – no editing experience required? Personalize and share your story like never before using your photos, videos, inking, and even 3D effects.

Let’s take a closer look. To get started, head to the Photos app. Select the Create button. You can make a video project from scratch, or choose Video Remix and two or more photos or videos and the Photos app will automatically bring together your memories into a video complete with soundtracks, themes, and transitions. That’s right – the work is done for you!


Keep this cut to enjoy and share, or easily remix it with just the click of a button for an all new look and feel of the video, complete with a new soundtrack and transitions.

Want to make it your own? Video editing with the Photos app is easy. With an intuitive interface, you can move photos and videos to rework the flow of the video, trim the length of a frame, add filters for a more dramatic effect, add zoom in or zoom out motion, even ink right on your videos which you can anchor to an object so it tracks along with the video...

...Photos and videos have never been more popular on Windows, with more than 300 million active users of Photos on Windows 10, not to mention that trillions of photos and videos exist digitally cross various devices. Which is why we’re making it easy to organize all your photos and videos, bringing all your content from across your devices into your collection in the Photos app.

You can search all your media for photos of a person just by selecting their face in the Search box. Or find your photos of that trip to Italy, or all the beaches you’ve been to just by searching for “beach”. And with our advanced search capabilities and auto-tagging, we’re making it easier than ever to quickly find that one photo to make your story perfect.

Sounds good and I'll be exploring all this on my Surface Pro in the next few weeks. As long as I can bring in Mobile at some point in the narrative!