I've been a Windows user for a long time.
Admittedly, that's rather by default - Windows was what came with my family's first PC and is the most accessible OS for most consumers, so it's obviously a fairly natural choice. It's been interesting to see Windows evolve over the years, although I, like many others, abhorred some of the changes (let's just ignore Windows Vista, shall we?).
Back in October, Microsoft announced a new "Device Usage" feature they were working on for a future Windows update. This feature would allow users to optimize the performance of their device for a range of uses, including gaming, business, and schoolwork. The idea is that users would select what they intend to primarily use their PC for during the setup process, and then the software will tailor how it operates in order to ensure the best experience.
Image from Microsoft's Windows Insider Blog
The feature first appeared in preview build 20231, which Microsoft discussed in a blog post stating that it was frequently requested by users. Recently, the feature has been undergoing internal testing and is even available to some preview build users now, which indicates a possible release for it later this year.
According to Windows Latest, which has been able to access the feature, the Device Usage tool offers a number of ways to customize your Windows 10 for specific cases. Currently, the options that are offered are:
- Gaming - Play and discover games, keep up with new releases
- Family - Connect with the whole family, edit safety settings, and give everyone their own profile
- Creativity - Bring ideas to life - from novels and presentations to photos and videos
- Schoolwork - Take notes, write essays, and collaborate on projects
- Entertainment - Watch videos, browse the web, and connect on social media
- Business - Track expenses, manage customers, and run your business
Toggling one or more of these options at setup will allow Microsoft to access your data in order to create "personalized experiences," which could include suggestions for tools and services to download from the Windows store. Right now, there's nothing that indicates that this optimization extends anywhere past just a software solution - for example, it probably won't help solve your RAM-hogging applications or battery draining very much.
Ideally, selecting what you intend to use the machine for might cut down on annoying or unnecessary suggestions from Microsoft, as well as making prominent apps like conferencing or presentation software more visible for first-time users.
Do you tend to give preview builds for Windows a try before they're released, or do you wait for the updates? Tell me about it!