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, Windows 10 was released as a platform, where smaller, tangible semi-annual free updates have become the custom.
Windows 10 news
This new approach is working out beautifully. Windows 10 has taken Windows 7’s mantle as the most popular OS. It’s exceeded 800 million users, and getting closer to that one billion mark with every passing day, thanks in large part to the continual updates, the most recent of which is the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.
However, Windows 10 is way more than the sum of its updates these days. Right now, the OS is mutating into several different spin-offs, each of which specifically target a different type of hardware and user. For example, Windows 10 S Mode locks down the OS, only allowing Microsoft Store apps 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 attempt to compete with the best Chromebooks and the ChromeOS.
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 to make Windows 10 the most modern OS out there – bringing in features and support that go way 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). You can also find downloads of Windows 10 Home Edition 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 is here, and with it are a few impressive new features and improvements – not to mention, minor yet completely welcome additions – that make your desktop environment even more secure as well as more efficient, giving users an even more seamless experience.
Bear in mind that there are also a couple of features that Microsoft is doing away with and a handful of features that Microsoft may completely remove from a future update. However, what’s worth noting here are the best new features of this latest update.
We get it, and Microsoft gets it too. There’s always that uncertainty of running a new .exe file from the web, especially if it’s not from a well-known software company. Users who are very particular about their security would typically use a virtual machine so as to prevent damage to their computer if the file is in fact infected or corrupt. The millions of users who have absolutely no idea how to set up this virtual machine, however, would probably just risk it.
Well, with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, they won’t have to any longer. Everyone can simply utilize this nifty Windows Sandbox feature, which essentially 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 it might cause.
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 adding more to the list of built-in apps you can remove, freeing up space in your storage – 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 suffer Cortana when your 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 most comfortable with and stick with it.
New kaomoji face characters
Emoji fans will be giddy 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.
Microsoft is giving control back to its users, as far as updates are concerned. Windows 10 users no longer have to endure 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 allocating about 7GB of storage space specifically for Windows Updates. This way, Windows 10 users will no longer have to scramble to free up space in order to get the most recent updates.
Less cluttered Start Menu
One of the most frustrating – not that there’s a lot – about the 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 are grouped in one section, fundamentally cutting 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.
In addition to 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, and 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