Windows 10 May 2019 Update release date, news and features

Windows 10 May 2019 Update
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The Windows 10 May 2019 Update is finally ready to download, and it's the first – and possibly only – major update for Microsoft's constantly-evolving Windows 10 operating system this year.

Also known as Windows 10 version 1903 or 19H1, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is yet another part of Microsoft’s plan of releasing major free tentpole updates that bring new features, tools and apps to Windows 10.

This update follows in the footsteps of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. Last year's update brought a number of new features (and bugs) to Windows 10 – even having trouble convincing users to update

In this arrticle, we've gathered together everything you need to know about the WIndows 10 May 2019 Update.

Make sure you check out our guide on how to download and install the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

We also have a guide on how to fix Windows 10 May 2019 Update problems if you encounter any issues.

From what we've seen already, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update looks like quite the upgrade. Not only is there a ton of new features coming, like a system-wide Light Mode and the ability to pause updates, but we’ve seen rumors that the new Windows 10 build should be able to play native Xbox One games

Windows 10 May 2019 Update has begun to roll out on May 22, as its name suggests, avoiding some of the awkward problems of the last update. 

With the launch of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update now official, you should soon see the update waiting for you to download.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next major update for Windows 10
  • When is it out? Rollout began May 22
  • What does it cost? As with previous major Windows 10 updates, it is free

Windows 10 May 2019 Update release date

We thought that Microsoft would be cutting it close with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update release date, and that turned out to be correct, with it launching right at the end of May – the 22nd to be precise.

However, not everyone will get it straight away, with Microsoft saying that it is "a throttled approach to the rollout," so people will be getting it in waves.

The idea is to make it installable for the computers least likely to have any problems, and slowly increase the level of availability, while monitoring feedback from users and taking care that no major stumbling blocks are encountered. 

While it's frustraiting to have to wait, it's a good idea because it means any issues can be identified and fixed before millions of people install the software.

If you want to force your PC to wait a while before it installed the update, then you can delay installing the Windows 10 May 2019 update for up to 35 days.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update name

Previously known as the 'Windows 10 April 2019 Update', Microsoft revised that to 'May 2019', and officially it's referred to as 'Windows 10 version 1903' or by its codename Windows 19H1.

The 19H1 codename gave us a clue to the release date and possible name, as it suggests the update will be released in the first half of 2019.

Rumours had been swirling that Microsoft would choose 'April 2019 Update' as the name, following on from its April 2018 Update last year.

Microsoft was apparently running a bit behind schedule, however, and the final name has been revealed to be the 'Windows 10 May 2019 Update'.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update features

Here are some of our favorite features in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

A new Light theme

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: Microsoft (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Windows 10 May 2019 Update will bring a new Light desktop theme, making a nice contrast to the Dark theme that we're used to with Windows 10.

Not only does it make the taskbar and Start Menu lighter, but new icons have been created that better suits the new Light theme.

Best of all, you can mix and match parts of the Light and Dark theme to get a look that best suits your tastes.

A better Start menu

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: Microsoft (Image credit: TechRadar)

Microsoft has continued to tweak the Start Menu, and the changes it's made in the Windows 10 May 2019 are definitely welcome.

First of all, the Start menu when you first use the update is much less cluttered, with tiles and shortcuts for pre-installed apps not taking up as much space.

However, there are still a number of apps and games that come pre-installed, and there are probably some that you don't want to use. With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, you can now uninstall more pre-installed apps that you used to.

Another notable change comes in the form of switching the Start menu to have its own dedicated process – StartMenuExperienceHost.exe rather than it being hosted by ShellExperienceHost.exe.

That might sound like a complex change under the bonnet, but the only noticeable ramification for the user will be that the Start menu runs more smoothly, and is protected from potential issues which might be caused by other areas of the OS.

The end result is a more reliable Start menu, according to Microsoft, and a more responsive one too, because Start doesn’t suspend itself any longer, so that makes for a slightly quicker launch time.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: TechRadar

Chromium-based Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has been struggling to gain a foothold for years now, and the Windows 10 May 2019 Update has a solution. Microsoft’s native browser will now be Chromium-based, which means it will be open sourced, and will have more compatibility with popular websites and plugins.

But, this is more than just a simple port of Chrome, Microsoft Edge has some new features to offer. The biggest of these is the “Internet Explorer Mode.” There’s little love for Internet Explorer, but the fact is that there are plenty of websites out there that are incompatible with modern browsers – this Internet Explorer mode fixes that problem.

There are also new privacy features, a new “Fluid Framework” for developers to create better interactive experiences enhanced by AI and a Collections feature that will let people collect, organize and share content from across the web. 

Cortana is no longer integrated into the search box

Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Image Credit: Microsoft

In the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Cortana will be separated from the search box in the taskbar.

As well as splitting search and Cortana on the taskbar, settings for these two have also been split up in Windows 10, along with group policies. 

So now when you click search, you get a straightforward operating system search. And if you want to summon Cortana, you have to use her separate icon. 

Cortana gets smarter 

Microsoft has been working with recent acquisition Semantic Machines, building a new and improved conversational AI technology into Cortana. This tech will help Cortana be more helpful, providing more sophisticated answers rather than unhelpful canned answers to your queries.

If, for example, you’re planning a trip to attend an event, Cortana will reference previous information in order to better suggest flights, hotels, restaurants and more. 

You can now pause updates

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: Microsoft

The Windows 10 May 2019 Update will allow people using Windows 10 Home edition to pause Windows updates for a set number of days.

This is a very handy feature that allows you a bit of breathing room when an update is released. It gives you time to check out to make sure that the update is working correctly, and if there are issues, you can pause the update until they've been fixed.

In a perfect world, a new Windows update would arrive without any problems, but as we've seen in the past, that rarely happens. This features has been available to Enterprise and professional Windows 10 users, so it's good to see it come to the Home version as well.

Reserved space for updates

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: Microsoft

One of the more controversial features that the Windows 10 May 2019 Update brings is that it will now reserve 7GB of space on your hard drive which will be used to store temporary files.

While some people may not like Windows 10 helping itself to yet more storage space on your hard drive, the idea is that this will make downloading Windows 10 updates easier in the future, and will prevent people experiencing an error where an update fails to install due to lack of space.

Windows Sandbox lets you experiment

If you're running Windows 10 Professional, then the new Windows Sandbox tool could be of interest. It allows you to easily run a virtualized version of Windows 10 in a window, allowing you to run software and test out settings and code without it affecting your main Windows 10 installation.

This is only a taste of the new features that are coming to Windows 10 with the May 2019 Update. We'll continue to update this list as we discover more.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Image Credit: TechRadar

Helpful error messages 

The Blue Screen of Death is infamous at this point, popping up whenever Windows runs into a critical error, but they’ve never been very useful to average users. But, it looks like that might be changing with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

Microsoft is finally changing error messages to be more helpful – they’ll now tell you how to fix the problems. The error message will pop up when a problem is encountered, and users should see options to try and fix it. The error messages will also have a link to a knowledge base, rather than forcing users to rely on Google for answers. 

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.