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The shiny new features of Windows 10 – May 2019 Update

Also known as Windows 10 1903 update where 19 stands for 2019 and 03 stands for the month. Although May 2019 Update (1903) is released in May, but it still carries 03 (March) version number, most likely because the code was finalized in March and since then it has been under extensive testing.

Unlike the previous two versions, 1809 and 1803 which both carried major issues of its own. Windows 10 May 2019 Update went through rigorous extended testing till late May.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update is not a significant update by any means, however, I personally feel it is important and Microsoft did the right thing by releasing focusing on minor features and majorly working on quality, fit and finish. This kind of Update I have been asking for a long time from Microsoft, and its finally here.

It’s finally here, and let’s go through its major bells and whistlers.

Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox

A heaven for Windows developers and power users, Windows Sandbox is a virtual (temporary) machine of Windows 10, where a user can test applications that they sourced from unknown sources and need to isolate it from the their main/production machines. They can run the executable and test the app, even it’s a virus, no problem, just close Windows Sandbox and the virus goes away with it.

For this feature to run, your hardware needs to support virtualization (to activate it via BIOS). Since it is targeted towards power users, Sandbox is available on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions only.

The new Light theme

Light Theme

A subtle but important visual change to Windows 10 since the release of Windows 10 in 2015. All throughout Windows 10 has been donning dark theme until May 2019 Update.

I have been using May 2019 Update for a while now and I personally like the Light/White theme. It feels more consistent with rest of the Operating System, unlike its Dark theme which in some areas wasn’t really dark. With it also comes a new shiny Windows 10 wallpaper which complements the new light theme.

You can activate Light theme under Settings>Personalisation>Colors

Cortana and Search divorced

In Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Microsoft has decoupled Cortana and Search box, and for good reasons.

You can now enter text queries (WIN+Q) in the new Search box while Cortana remains your Voice activated not so efficient personal assistant. All proactive task reminders, time to leave for home will be covered by Cortana just like before while Search box handles your local and web search results using Bing.

Personally, I feel Search could have been improved further in this version. It does the job in most cases, but there are times it does not return desired returns. I am actually waiting for Microsoft Search which was announced sometime last year. With Microsoft Search, it will be searching locally on Windows, Office and OneDrive.

Other updates

Cleaner Start Menu – With fresh Windows 10 May 2019 Update, the Start Menu will be much cleaner than in the past. It will no longer Pin forced apps by default. Instead it is grouping them all into one, so you can just Unpin the group and all goes away.

Brightness Slider – A subtle change but a welcoming one. The new version now has a Slider for brightness which is sitting under Notification area.

Pausing Feature Updates – And yes, you can now pause Feature Updates until current version’s end of service is near, which I believe is 18 months (correct me if am wrong). You can however keep getting and installing all security patches and cumulative updates while your newer version of Windows 10 sits and waits for your instructions.

However, when your current version is nearing end of service, Windows 10 will automatically initiate download and install the latest version when it detects the computer is not in use.

Signing into Windows 10 using your Phone Number – So now, you can actually – like literally use your phone number as the username and Microsoft will send you a code to your phone. You use the code to initially login to Windows 10, thereafter you can setup Windows Hello (biometric/Iris) or setup PIN without ever needing to enter a password. Microsoft is trying to reduce the use of passwords with 1903. Pretty neat.

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