Anyone that’s followed Windows 10 closely is already aware that Microsoft isn’t releasing new versions of Windows like it used to. Instead of giving its operating system (OS) an overhaul every few years, Microsoft created Windows 10, released as a platform that gets smaller yet tangible semi-annual free updates.
Windows 10 news
This new approach is working out perfectly. Windows 10 has taken Windows 7’s mantle as the most popular OS, even exceeding 800 million users (and getting closer to reaching the one billion mark with every passing day). This is thanks in large part to the continual updates, the most recent of which is the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.
However, Windows 10 is much more than just the sum of its updates. Currently, the OS has several different versions, each of which is specially crafted for different hardware and users. For example, Windows 10 S Mode locks down the OS, with only Microsoft Store apps permitted to be installed. It’s restrictive, to be sure, but it’s also the best option for low-end hardware and inexperienced users.
There's also the previously-rumored Windows 10x, which Microsoft announced at the October 2 event, that's slated to come out next year and will be specifically built for dual-screen devices or foldable devices.
On top of that, there are rumors that Microsoft is putting together an even more barebones version of the OS – Windows 10 Lean Mode.
System Reqs and Versions
This review pertains to the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10. For detailed Windows 10 system requirements and the various versions, check out the Microsoft website.
All of these spin-offs and updates have aided in making Windows 10 the most modern OS out there – bringing in new features and support that go far beyond the traditional PC.
If this seems like it’s up your alley, and you want to pick up a Windows 10 license for your PC, you can grab the Home Edition for $139 (£119, AU$199) and Windows 10 Pro for $199 (£219, AU$330). Downloads of Windows 10 Home Edition can be found for just $99 in the US, if you look hard enough.
If you haven’t jumped on the Windows 10 bandwagon yet, in this piece, we’ll help you decide if it is worth your time, money and hard drive space. But first, let’s dig into all the major beats of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.
Windows 10 May 2019 Update
With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update release comes some notable new features and improvements – as well as minor yet still welcome additions – to make your desktop environment even more secure as well as more efficient, giving users an experience that’s even more seamless.
There are also a couple of features that Microsoft is phasing out and a handful that Microsoft may completely remove from a future update. But, what’s worth noting here are the best new features in this latest update.
We get it, and Microsoft gets it too. When running a new .exe file from the web, particularly if it’s not from a well-known software company, there’s always a risk. Users who are more careful about their security would typically use a virtual machine so as to prevent harm to their computer if the file happens to be infected or corrupt. The millions of users who just have no idea how to set up this virtual machine, however, would probably just take the risk.
With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, they won’t have to use a virtual machine anymore. Everyone can simply take advantage of this neat Windows Sandbox feature, as it essentially constructs a temporary and disposable desktop environment in which they can run that .exe file and test the app they’re installing. Doing so isolates it – and any possible harm that comes with it.
Keep in mind though that Windows Sandbox is only available in Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise.
May 2019 Update Issues
Experiencing issues with the latest version of Windows 10 you just can't figure out? Check out our guide on the top Windows 10 May 2019 Update problems and how to fix them!
Removing built-in apps
The Windows 10 May 2019 Update also includes more on the list of built-in apps you can uninstall, freeing up storage space – or at the very least, letting you squeeze out every ounce of extra room you can get, if you don’t want to spend more on a bigger hard drive or solid state drive.
The apps added to the list include Mail and Calendar, Movies & TV, Groove Music, Calculator, Paint 3D and 3D Viewer.
Decoupling Cortana and search
Microsoft Search still has a long way to go, but thanks to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, at least you won’t have to suffer through Cortana when you’re doing a search in the Windows 10 taskbar, if you’re not a huge fan of the feature. This lets you perform text searches for your most commonly used apps, files and documents, and most recent activities separately from voice queries, allowing you the option to choose the approach you would prefer and to stick with it.
New kaomoji face characters
Emoji fans will be excited to know that the Windows 10 May 2019 Update also comes with a handful of adorable kaomoji face characters, accessible via the emoji shortcut, so that Windows 10 users won’t need to create them manually when sending cute messages to their family, friends and colleagues.
Microsoft is giving control back to its users, as far as its updates are concerned. Windows 10 users no longer are required to sit through lengthy updates, especially if their attention is needed elsewhere, as well as choose when and what they want to update. With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users can now pause updates, choose when to install the new update and even opt out of it, if they so desire.
In addition, Microsoft is now setting aside about 7GB of storage space just for Windows Updates. This way, Windows 10 users will no longer have to scramble to free up storage in order to download the most recent updates.
Less cluttered Start Menu
One of the most frustrating aspects – not that there’s a lot – about Windows 10 in general is the amount of clutter it has. Good thing Microsoft is cleaning up its act, at least when it comes to its Start Menu. With this update, all the bloatware will be collected under one section, fundamentally cutting down the number of pinned apps you’ll see in the Start Menu and giving it a cleaner look.
Unfortunately, this new menu design is only available to new user accounts and newly set up Windows 10 computers. At least with this update.
On top of these six major changes, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update touts minor ones that users might also welcome. That includes a fresh brightness slider, better Windows Mixed Reality VR support, a passwordless Microsoft Account and Windows 10 login.
First reviewed: July 2015
Images Credit: Microsoft
Gabe Carey, Bill Thomas and Michelle Rae Uy have also contributed to this review