Our Verdict

With the May 2019 updates, Windows 10 is more secure, reliable and efficient than ever, introducing features that could genuinely save you time and frustration as well as keep your computer protected. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but Windows 10 is now better than ever and still continues to evolve with a slew of constant updates.

For

  • Start menu improvements
  • Action Center, Cortana are useful
  • Edge continues to improve
  • Windows Hello faster, easier
  • Timeline genuinely useful

Against

  • OneDrive needs work
  • Improvements also cause issues
  • Some changes are incomplete

Anyone that’s followed Windows 10 closely already knows 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, which was released as a platform where smaller, tangible semi-annual free updates have become the norm.

Windows 10 news

Windows 10 20H1 is on the horizon and we're tracking the biggest changes

Windows 10 gets Arch Linux, one of the trickiest distros around 

This new approach is working out beautifully. Windows 10 has taken Windows 7’s mantle as the most popular OS, even exceeding 800 million users (and getting closer to that 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 specifically designed for different hardware and users. For example, Windows 10 S Mode locks down the OS, with only Microsoft Store apps allowed to be installed. It’s restrictive, to be sure, but it’s also the best option for low-end hardware and inexperienced users. Another example is Windows 10 Lite, which may be Microsoft’s early effort to compete with the best Chromebooks and the ChromeOS.

There are rumblings that Microsoft is putting together an even more barebones version of the OS – Windows 10 Lean Mode. We’ve also seen rumors of Windows 10 for foldable devices.

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 helped make Windows 10 the most modern OS out there – bringing in new features and support that go far beyond the traditional PC. 

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, and you want to pick up a Windows 10 license for your PC, you can get 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.

In this piece, we’ll help you decide if Windows 10 is worth your time, money and hard drive space. But first, let’s dive into all the major beats of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

The Windows 10 May 2019 Update just arrived, and with it comes some impressive new features and improvements – not to mention, minor yet completely welcome additions – that make your desktop environment even safer as well as more efficient, giving users an experience that’s even more seamless. 

Keep in mind that there are also a couple of features that Microsoft is removing and a handful that Microsoft may completely take out from a future update. However, what’s worth noting here are the best new features of this latest update.

Windows Sandbox
We get it, and Microsoft gets it too. There’s always a risk when running a new .exe file from the web, especially if it’s not from a reputable software company. Users who are more discerning about their security would generally use a virtual machine so as to prevent damage 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 go with the risk.

Well, with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, they won’t have to do this anymore. Everyone can simply take advantage of this nifty Windows Sandbox feature, which basically creates 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 potential harm that comes with it.

With this update, 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 is also including more on the list of built-in apps you can remove, freeing up storage space – or at the very least, letting you squeeze out every ounce of extra space you can get, if you don’t want to shell out for a bigger hard drive or solid state drive. 

The apps added to the roster 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 big fan of the feature. This allows you to perform text searches for your most commonly used apps, files and documents, and most recent activities separately from voice queries, giving you the option to choose the approach you’re prefer and to stick with it.

New kaomoji face characters
Emoji fans will be thrilled 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 have to create them manually when sending cute messages to their family, friends and colleagues.

Pausing updates
Microsoft is giving control back to its users, where updates are concerned. Windows 10 users no longer have to sit through lengthy updates, especially if their attention is required 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 want to.

In addition, Microsoft is now setting aside about 7GB of storage space specifically for Windows Updates. This way, Windows 10 users will no longer have to scramble to free up storage in order to get 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. The good news is that Microsoft is starting to clean up its act, at least when it comes to its Start Menu. With this update, all the bloatware will be grouped in one section, fundamentally cutting down the number of pinned apps you’ll see in the Start Menu and giving it a cleaner look.

The bad news is that this new menu design will only be available to new user accounts and newly set up Windows 10 computers.

Minor changes
On top of these six major changes, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update boasts minor ones that users might also appreciate. 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