It has been eight months since the last update of Windows 10 got rolled out by Microsoft. Each feature update of Windows 10 comes with lots of improvements and great visual changes. In May 2019, Microsoft has released another major update bringing a host of new features to devices running Windows 10.
This update is popularly known as the Windows 10 May 2019 update and changes the build number to Windows 10 1903. The May 2019 update is not a huge update but it still comes with certain new visual changes and improvements over the previous versions. Microsoft is trying to keep things simple by not making huge UI changes to the OS thereby making it easier for users to adapt with the new update.
So, without much further ado, let’s dive right in:
THE START MENU, ACTION CENTER, TASKBAR
The Windows shell which includes the Start Menu, Taskbar, Action Center and touches keyboard, context menu’s, etc. are given a brand new “light” theme that now changes the Windows Shell from darker to a much lighter theme. This gives Windows 10 a new and modern look compared to the old one.
Microsoft has indeed done a fantastic job with the new theme change. The light theme is more consistent across the board with only some areas left behind like Cortana and MyPeople which still haven’t got the light theme upgrade.
However, the light theme is still under maintenance and have some flaws with it. Let’s just hope that Microsoft fixes it with new updates. Some of the fluent design effects like the reveal effects don’t work as well in the start menu than I thought.
On a positive note, Microsoft has added drop shadows to the context menus. The start menu, taskbar and modern areas of the OS have been changed to the new Fluent design which means they now feature new blur effects, reveal effects and drop shadows. This makes the context menus look modern, cleaner and much simple.
Another major change with the design is that Microsoft has reduced the number of tiles appearing in the start menu when you turn ON a PC that comes with the May 2019 update for the first time.
All the third-party promotions apps are now in a single group, which is perfect in my opinion because Microsoft has also added an option to remove a group with one click. So, this basically means that you can simply remove all promotional app offers in the start menu with just a single click.
Coming to the Action Center, Microsoft has finally added a brightness slider in the quick action area. This is a featured user’s have been wanting and asking for a while when it was removed from the Windows 10 release. Microsoft has also added a new way to edit quick actions – you can now do it directly from the Action Center without having to open the Settings window for that purpose.
CORTANA AND SEARCH
Microsoft made some major changes with Cortana and Search bar in the May 2019 Update. Yes, Microsoft has separated the Search bar from the Cortana. Users will never see the presence of Cortana in the Search. Instead, you will see the Cortana button as a separate icon in the taskbar.
The new Cortana experience isn’t as new as it sounds, it’s the same good old Cortana which now resides in a separate area in the taskbar and not inside the search bar. Cortana was really bad during the time it was first introduced. But after Microsoft have started rolling several updates for it, it turned out to be much more useful than I though.
What’s disappointing is that you can’t type to interact with Cortana like you used to do. All that the taskbar Cortana button does is to invoke the Cortana listening, there’s no box for typing as it’s the search bar that kept this alive.
Even if on the first appearance, Cortana and Search Bar looks different from under the hood they are still together. This basically means that even if the search bar is now integrated with the new Search UI, you can still interact with Cortana from the search bar. This questions Microsoft’s decision of placing a Cortana button on the taskbar and it’s really confusing. I mean, why would you place a button in the taskbar if it already can be interacted from the search UI? Seems like utter nonsense to me.
I think Microsoft decided to move Cortana to a different place so that it can focus on each item independently. But this is far from over in my opinion. As the both Cortana and Search UI is still buggy and don’t coexist with each other.
THE ALL-NEW SANDBOX FEATURE
One of the most major changes from this build is the instruction of the new Sandbox feature from Microsoft. But this major feature is available for Pro or Enterprise users and not for Home users.
If you have used a decent Antivirus software, you might be familiar with the term Sandbox. This means that you can run a program or file in an isolated environment using an only certain amount of memory and storage from the system and is fully restricted to access other files or processes running on the system.
Microsoft has decided to adopt this feature in their latest update release, allowing users to safely run suspicious files inside the computer without having to install and Antivirus or other software for the task.
Sandbox is a feature useful only for power users and may not be useful for other home users. Moreover, it’s disabled by default in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise having the May 2019 update.
FILE MANAGER IMPROVEMENTS
The May 2019 update also does some visual changes with the File Explorer, all done to make using it much more user-friendly. Microsoft changed the view style for Download folder, putting more recent stuff on the very top and moreover it’s categorized under date tabs. This has been available in Windows for a long time but the dated tabs were introduced only with the new May 2019.
This allows for a much better way of organizing your downloads. Earlier, the downloads were sorted alphabetically this meant that you would have to hunt for a file you want in the Downloads folder. That’s fixed with the new May 2019 update!
Microsoft has also updated the File Explorer icon with a warmer color so that it doesn’t interfere with the new light theme. You wouldn’t notice this much unless you compare them side by side with the dark and light theme.
Another major change with the May 2019 update, is the new burred login screen. You wouldn’t notice it that easily unless it was told by someone to you. Yes, the lock screen will turn into a blur when you move towards the credential’s entry screen. It’s also nice and modern and another notable fact that Microsoft is focusing more on Fluent Design UI.
Microsoft is focusing more on privacy with the May 2019 update. You can see a Microphone icon in your notification area whenever an app or software is using your Microphone. Like if you open Skype, you will see Mic icon in the notification area. Microsoft also claims that it made Start Menu more reliable, but we can only take their word for that!
Common in almost all Windows Updates, Microsoft managed to add some new options in the Settings app of May 2019 update. Microsoft updated the Security options of Windows 10 Settings app, to clean up the UI and make it more organized. You can now see more options on the “Set up your account” screen including things like Windows Hello facial recognition, fingerprint login or iris scanning. There are some new options like setting up a physical security key for logging in or the usual picture password back from Windows 8.
This UI is much cleaner than before but it still it shows option like IR based face unlock even when the device doesn’t support such features thus wasting space. I had preferred that option not available on a PC was never shown at all.
Microsoft also made Focus Assist to turn ON automatically whenever you enter full screen mode within an app. So, suppose if you are binge watching on Netflix on full screen mode, Windows will automatically turn on Focus Assist for you, so that you can watch your favorite shows uninterrupted.
Here again, Microsoft have made some big changes with the Windows Update. Starting from this month, Microsoft will no longer force Windows Updates to install on your PC unless you click on the install button willingly. Security updates and driver patches will be installed automatically but big feature updates won’t be installed without your consent.
This doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t alert you of feature updates. Microsoft introduced orange stickers that stay in your System tray and start menu to alert you that an update is pending install. I find it pretty useful since its one of the easiest ways to tell if my PC needs a restart.
You might be wishing that Microsoft added an option to delay Windows 10 security and driver updates…well it did exactly that. While quality updates will only be installed when you click Install now, you can now also delay the security and driver updates for 35 days 😊. This is new for Home users, who were unable to do this previously.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE MAY 2019 UPDATE:
So, do you think it’s time to install Windows 10 May 2019 update for your PC? Microsoft started rolling out the update to all devices running Windows 10 using their Neural Intelligence systems. If your PC still didn’t get the Update, you can either wait it out or manually install.
We tried manually installing May 2019 update on a PC that runs Windows 10 1803, the installation went successfully. We tested it on a PC with Intel Core i5 8250U,8GB of RAM , Nvidia MX150 GFX card. But we ran into some blue screen issues after using the PC for some time.
Upon diagnosing, our team found out that it’s a graphics driver issue and the driver was causing problems with Windows 10 1903 update a.k.a May 2019 update.
So, I recommend users to install the May 2019 update officially via Windows Update and not manually. Microsoft has promised to roll out the update to all PC’s before November of this year.
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