Anyone that’s followed Windows 10 closely already knows that Microsoft just isn’t releasing new versions of Windows like it used to. Instead of overhauling its operating system (OS) every few years, Microsoft created Windows 10, released as a platform that receives more minor yet tangible semi-annual free updates.
Windows 10 news
This new approach seems to be 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 hitting the one billion mark with every passing day). This is thanks in large part to the frequent updates, the most recent of which is the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.
Still, Windows 10 is much more than just the sum of its updates. Currently, the OS comes in several different versions, each of which is specifically crafted 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.
There's also the previously-rumored Windows 10x, which Microsoft announced at the October 2 event, that's scheduled to be released next year and will be specially made for dual-screen devices or foldable devices.
On top of that, there are rumors that Microsoft is building 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 helped in making Windows 10 the most modern OS available – bringing in new features and support that reach far beyond the traditional PC.
If this looks to be 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 search hard enough.
If you have not jumped on the Windows 10 bandwagon yet, in this piece, we’ll help you choose if it 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
With the Windows 10 May 2019 Update release comes some noteworthy new features and advances – as well as minor yet still appreciated additions – to make your desktop environment even more secure as well as more efficient, giving users an experience that’s even smoother.
There are also a few features that Microsoft is starting to phase out and a handful that Microsoft might completely remove from a future update. But, what’s worth noting now 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, especially if it’s not from a well-known software company, you’re always taking a risk. Users who are more vigilant about their security would typically use a virtual machine so as to prevent harm to their computer if the file turns out to be infected or corrupt. The millions of users who don’t have any 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 need to rely on a virtual machine anymore. Everyone can just take advantage of this nifty Windows Sandbox feature, as it basically 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 potential harm that comes with it.
Bear 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 expands on the list of built-in apps you’re able to uninstall, 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 pay 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 quite a way to go, but thanks to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, at least you won’t need 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 would prefer and sticking with it.
New kaomoji face characters
Emoji fans will be excited to hear that the Windows 10 May 2019 Update also comes with a collection of adorable kaomoji face characters, accessible via the emoji shortcut, so that Windows 10 users will not need to make them manually when sending cute messages to their family, friends and colleagues.
Microsoft is shifting control back to its users, where its updates are concerned. Windows 10 users no longer have to sit through lengthy updates, particularly 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 choose.
Additionally, Microsoft is now putting aside about 7GB of storage space just for Windows Updates. That way, Windows 10 users will no longer need to scramble to free up storage just to download the most recent updates.
Less cluttered Start Menu
One of the most trying 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 in one section, essentially cutting down the number of pinned apps you’ll see in the Start Menu and giving it a cleaner look.
Sadly, 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 sports minor ones that users may also welcome. This 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