Windows 10 May 2019 Update: the 6 most important news

Posted in May 25, 2019 in News, no comment

The next feature update for Windows 10 is in the pipeline and can be previewed in different channels. There are six major innovations, but there are countless minor innovations under the shell that Microsoft has introduced to improve the overall user experience. In our opinion it is worthwhile to update even just for the news on Windows Update.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Windows 10 May 2019 Update is the new feature update of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, a work in progress that is and will be treated more like a service than a monolithic software. The SO of Microsoft is therefore a work in continuous evolution with the aim of following the market trends and never being behind what is the unstoppable evolutionary flow of the technological sector in the broadest sense of the term. Windows 10 is in fact an operating system that no longer addresses only the desktop computer, but is designed for any type of computer system possible and imaginable starting from the desktop up to the viewer or embedded system with an interface that is always consistent and familiar with the various SKUs available.

The new May update, no more than April as was the typical roadmap, comes after a serious failure for what was the Windows 10 October 2018 Update release process. Almost no update with Windows 10 features came without pain, this is true, but it was clear with last October that something had to be changed in the last release procedures. And this is how the update was postponed by one month, with just the last few weeks that were needed to check if everything went as planned. The name Windows 10 May 2019 Update was announced in early April, and the release of the RTM – a virtually identical release to the definitive roll-out of the consumer channel – took place a few days later. After a little over a week, he also arrived on MSDN.

From the beginning of April, therefore, Microsoft has no longer tested only the new features, but has verified the presence of major problems within the package that is now being distributed all over the world (on computers capable of receiving it). The release will take place in stages, as usual, with the first systems to receive the update which will be the most modern and updated and less at risk of “breakage”. The minimum system requirements with the exception of the storage sector do not change: with the May 2019 Update, in fact, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions must have a storage unit of at least 32 GB. Up to October 2018, 16 GB were sufficient for 32-bit versions and 20 were enough for 64-bit versions.

The change is mainly due to the new update system: to guarantee the installation of new updates without problems, in fact, with the new update a space of 7GB will be permanently dedicated to the update installation process. On the one hand the new function will completely avoid the “out of space” errors during the operation, on the other hand it will significantly reduce the free disk space on systems that have low capacity storage units. All systems that do not meet the new requirements will receive neither May 2019 Update nor any future updates, and will remain with October 2018 Update until the end of its official support, in May 2020.

As for the new features of Windows 10 May 2019 Update we list below the most important ones among those we got to know through a quick test. At the time of this writing, the distribution phase to the general public has not yet begun, but it should be a matter of weeks, or even days.

News in the UI and new Light Theme
The most easily identifiable news of each new update are of course those on the user interface, and in fact on Windows 10 May 2019 Update there is a big news in this regard. The Windows Shell is in fact updated with a new “Light Theme” (which becomes the default), an entire aesthetic customization characterized by much lighter shades than those used in the typical theme. The appearance is cleaner, even if the traditional Windows theme (which was already extremely customizable in the colors) remains in our opinion less tiring and annoying especially in the longer work sessions. However, this is a purely subjective consideration given that different users may find one or the other setting more pleasant or comfortable, based on personal tastes.

Some Fluent Design effects have been updated, such as the new larger shadows than before that are projected from the context menus (those that start with the right mouse button on different elements of the interface). With the May update, the context menus of the Start Menu, the taskbar, and other “Modern” areas of the operating system have also been updated, and now they are also proposed in Fluent Design. This is an excellent novelty in terms of graphic coherence: now they support the “acrylic” effect with the fuzzy, the Reveal effects to highlight the individual lines, and project – as we have already said – a shadow much more evident than in before. Even today, however, there are menus that do not support the new graphics.

Another novelty in graphic terms is in the Start Menu, which is presented in a single column when you first start a clean installation. As we had already anticipated, however, this does not mean that it will be free of bloatware. The absurd software that we find already installed on the operating system, in fact, will remain as it is with respect to the previous versions, especially if you make the first configuration online. It is easier, however, to get rid of all the useless tiles on the Menu: third-party apps will all be in a single tile group, groups that can now be removed with a specific key (before they could be removed only the folders or the individual tiles). The Action Center also changes: it returns the possibility to set the brightness in a fine way with a special bar directly from the Windows interface (it was missing from Windows 8.1) and it is now possible to change the order of the Quick Action directly from the interface without having to do on a Settings screen.

New Sandbox feature
The most interesting feature of Windows 10 May 2019 Update is in our opinion Windows Sandbox, available however only for the Pro and Enterprise versions. In fact it is not a feature that can interest all users, however we find that it can be very useful for the most savvy and not necessarily professional ones: Sandbox allows in short to run programs that may not be safe (for example executables downloaded from the internet ) inside a sort of disposable virtual machine, compatible with the version of Windows 10 installed and completely cleaned by other apps. Once used the executable or verified its validity it is possible to install it in the main system and close the Sandbox, whose tracks will be completely eliminated from the computer.

The feature is not however active by default and must be enabled by the user. Only then will it be possible to find the function in the application list of the Start Menu.

New in Settings
Microsoft has also updated the main Settings page quite heavily. First of all a new section has been added at the top of the main screen showing four basic functions (more or less) of the operating system: we have a shortcut for the Microsoft Account, one for OneDrive, one for the app My phone, the progress in the Microsoft Rewards initiative and the last one is perhaps the most important, ie quick access to the Windows Update page.

In addition to the main screen, various sections of the Settings are updated, such as the one relating to Account Protection, which is now cleaner and better organized than the previous versions: here are all the options available for configuring the individual account, such as functions related to facial recognition with Windows Hello, fingerprint logging or iris scanning, and the like. You can also configure, from the same screen, a PIN for access, a physical security key, a password, and more. They also improve the Focus Assist features, which are now activated automatically every time you enter a full screen app (Netflix for example) inhibiting all incoming notifications and other unwanted interruptions. This function can obviously be disabled.

There are also news regarding accessibility options, always in the Settings screen, including the ability to change the color and size of the cursor more precisely than before.

The updates on Windows Update are also quite juicy, especially to improve the update experience and make the feature updates less coercive. Starting this month, users will no longer be forced to install larger updates, but to do so they will have to declare their intentions explicitly by clicking on the install button. Security patches and driver updates will come automatically as usual, with the new “policy” that will only be applied with feature updates. In these cases the update will be forced only when the official support for the version you are using at that precise moment is about to end (18 months from the release).

Microsoft may still notify you of the start of distribution of the new version through a notification, and has added a small orange badge on the shutdown and restart buttons when there is an installation in progress. The company has also added an option to delay security updates and the installation of new drivers for up to 35 days, after which the installation is forced for security reasons. This possibility is also given to Windows 10 Home users, who previously could not in any way delay any updates.

Research and Cortana
Another big change that can be immediately seen on the operating system is in the Research and Cortana interface, which were previously united within a single window and which are now separate. This is a novelty requested loudly by users and Insiders, especially by those who do not want to go to the virtual assistant for each request. The change, however, is not the most elegant, even if it responds (in a somewhat awkward way in our opinion) to the users’ requests.

Ricerca and Cortana now have a dedicated space in the taskbar that leads to the two different interfaces. The fact is that on the graphic and functional level nothing has been done to better accommodate the separation: in other words if you click on the circle to start the searches with Cortana it will be possible to correctly start a request with the voice, but nothing else. For example, there is no news feed or the ability to check weather forecasts, upcoming appointments, or anything else. To write requests to Cortana, on the other hand, it will be necessary to type in the search bar, a fact that makes the separation of the two elements a little less obvious, so that they remain somehow still stuck between them, potentially increasing confusion among users.

As for the search, not much changes compared to before: being separated from Cortana the menu with the three burger lines on the left is eliminated, although unfortunately the space previously occupied by the menu remains empty and is not engaged by any other element (it is in other words totally wasted). Even the integration of the new Search on the Start Menu still seems incomplete, since when you start writing, the Menu closes suddenly without any animation almost like a graphic glitch: certainly fast, but a bit amateurish . The experience of the new Research is certainly functional, however it will probably be one of the first things that Microsoft will review with the next updates or with the next feature update.

Windows Explorer improvements
Explorer also updates slightly with respect to the past, with new features that are mainly aimed at a better user experience. For example, the default display mode has been changed for the Download folder, which is now sorted by date and no longer by name. The goal is to make the latest downloaded files immediately visible without having to rummage through the folder each time. However, this is a change that could have been made manually with just a few clicks. The application icon is also updated, with now slightly darker shades (almost imperceptible) so as to be more visible with the clear theme.

Other minor news and conclusions

There are other minor changes in the May update, which are more difficult to see if you are not careful. For example, the background of the lock screen will progressively blur as soon as you log in, and there are news regarding privacy, such as a small microphone icon in the application bar that appears whenever an app appears is using the microphone. Clicking on the icon will open a Settings screen that allows you to manage the apps that can have access to the microphone. The function of the Clipboard History is also improved, with the interface being smaller and more natural when used with mouse and keyboard. The function is still disabled by default, as was the case on October 2018 Update, basically for reasons related to privacy (the notes are saved in the cloud). The Start Menu should also be more “reliable”, with the opening that – according to Microsoft’s guarantees – is now faster and more certain following the click.

Ultimately, is it worth installing Windows 10 May 2019 Update? The answer is a timid yes, also because once inside the Windows 10 experience it is good to keep the system constantly updated with the new features. Is it an update that will change your life? Certainly not, but there are some very interesting new features that give the user more control: first of all the possibility of finally managing system upgrades, both small and large ones, while the stylistic innovations are quite substantial with the Light Theme (active by default) which can appeal to those who prefer a less “dark” work environment. Microsoft continues with the work to make the “modern” interface of Windows 10 more and more coherent and complete, and even if there are still decided inconsistencies between the “legacy” elements and the updated ones, some very small steps forward have been made.

When will we receive the update? Windows 10 May 2019 Update is already available on Windows Update, but only for systems considered suitable. It is possible to install it in a very simple way, however, through the alternative tools provided by Microsoft. We have already described the three possible procedures in the article on how to install Windows 10 May 2019 Update. Will there be problems after the debut? In theory this time Microsoft seems to have adopted an approach that is even too prudent: Windows 10 May 2019 Update has already been around since the beginning of April and there have been no reports of major problems, even if you can’t be sure of any system in circulation worldwide.

Anyone who can’t afford to have problems would still be better off waiting for the first few weeks from the official debut before installing it on their PC, checking the situation on specialized news sites.

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