Windows 10 version 1903, April 2019 Update
Windows_Next

Windows 10 version 1903, April 2019 Update: All the new features and changes

UPDATED 2/21: Windows 10 version 1903 (April 2019 Update) is expected to rollout sometime during spring 2019, and here are all the new features and changes that Microsoft has added to the new version thus far.

Windows 10 version 1903, April 2019 Update (19H1), will be the seventh major refresh that Microsoft is planning to release sometime in April (or early May) time frame with new features and improvements. 

Also, it’ll be the first of two updates coming in 2019, and while we’re still weeks away from the final release, thanks to the previews available in the Windows Insider Program, we now have a clear idea of the changes that will be coming with the “April 2019 Update” (assuming the name will follow the scheme as we’ve been seeing in previous releases).

In this guide, we’ll highlight the new features and improvements planned for version 1903 as they appear in each test preview. (You can also check all the new changes available with version 1809 (October 2018 Update) here.)

Info: This guide gets updated and republished with features and improvements as they become available through the Windows Insider Program. However, depending on when you’re reading this guide, some features and changes may still missing. If this is case, you can check this section with the latest updates.

What’s new with desktop experience

You can check out this walkthrough video with all the changes included in the most recent Windows 10 Insider Preview builds.

Starting with version 1903, Windows 10 is adding acrylic effect, part of Fluent Design, to the sign-in background. “The translucent texture of this transient surface helps you focus on the sign-in task by moving the actionable controls up in the visual hierarchy while maintaining their accessibility” — Microsoft explains.

Windows 10 build 18237 with acrylic effect on the Sign-in screen
Windows 10 build 18237 with acrylic effect on the Sign-in screen

If you don’t like the new experience, you can disable the acrylic effect on the sign-in screen using a policy in this location: Group Policy Editor under Administrative Templates > System > Logon > “Show clear logon background”.

Start menu

In the Start menu, you won’t find big changes, but now you can right-click on a group name or tile folder, and you’ll now have an option to unpin it.

Start menu with unpin option for group tiles and folders
Start menu with unpin option for group tiles and folders

When you hover over the navigation pane in the Start menu, after a short period it will now automatically expand. Also, when you click the power button, you’ll notice new icons for “Sleep,” “Shut down,” and “Restart.”

Start menu tweaks with Windows 10 build 18290
Start menu tweaks with Windows 10 build 18290

When you click the profile menu, you’ll also see icons for “Change account settings,” “Lock,” and “Sign-out.”

Also, the Start menu is debuting with a new simplified default layout that will appear on new installations and new accounts. According to the company, the new layout has been simplified into a sleek one column design with reduced top-level tiles.

In addition, the Start menu will now appear on its own separate process called: StartMenuExperienceHost.exe to simplify debugging and insulating Start from potential issues impacting other surfaces.

StartMenuExpereinceHost.exe process on Windows 10 version 1903
StartMenuExpereinceHost.exe process on Windows 10 version 1903

Search and Cortana

Starting with the Windows 10 April 2019 update, Microsoft is breaking Cortana and Search into two separate experiences in the taskbar. As a result, when you start a search, you’ll notice an updated landing page with better spacing to show recent activities and most recent apps, adding light theme support with some subtle acrylic effect over all the search filter options.

Search with top apps on version 1903
Search with top apps on version 1903

Then when clicking the Cortana button, you’ll access the experience directly into the voice assistant.

Cortana and Search two different features on Windows 10 version 1903
Cortana and Search two different features on Windows 10 version 1903

In addition, in the Settings app, you’ll now find two pages, one to control the Cortana settings and another page to configure the search experience.

Taskbar

In the taskbar, more specifically in the notifications area, Windows 10 is also including a new “disconnected” icon when there’s not an internet connection on your device. This icon will appear when no connection to the internet is detected for Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Cellular adapters.

Windows 10 taskbar disconnected network icon on build 18252
Windows 10 taskbar disconnected network icon on build 18252

There’s a new microphone icon in the system tray which appears when your microphone is in use, which if hover over with the mouse will also show which app is currently accessing the device. If you have multiple apps accessing the microphone, then you’ll only see the number of apps using the device. Also, if you now double-click the icon, it’ll open the Microphone settings page.

In addition, you’ll see an updated Windows Update icon in the notification area (and in the Start menu power button) with an orange indicator alerting you that a restart is pending.

Microphone icon features on Windows 10 build 18290
Microphone icon features on Windows 10 build 18290

Action Center

Starting with this new version, Action Center adds a new slider to quickly adjust the brightness of the screen.

Action Center brightness slider on Windows 10 build 18277
Action Center brightness slider on Windows 10 build 18277

You can rearrange and add buttons without having to open the Settings app.

If you need to add or remove buttons, right-click a button, select Edit, and then click the unpin button or click the Add button add more buttons.

Also, Action Center now introduces a shadow to match the shadow seen along the borders of other taskbar flyouts.

File Explorer

The File Explorer is getting a new icon with a modern design similar to the design language Microsoft is using for its Office apps icons.

File Explorer new icon
File Explorer new icon

As part of a continuous effort to improve File Explorer, you’ll now find a new default date format, which is called friendly dates to show dates in a conversational format. For example, “5 hours ago,” instead of “12/24/2018 1:15 PM.”

File Explorer with friendly dates
File Explorer with friendly dates

The new format simplifies the date modified column and provides consistency with other views that you see throughout the operating system, apps, and on the web.

The “Downloads” folder now shows the most recent downloaded files at the top to help users to find content faster as most people never spacify a new name of internet files, and then they get lost in the folder.

Also, File Explorer now allows you to rename a file using a dot at the beginning of the name (for example, “.gitignore”).

Clipboard

If you’re using the new clipboard experience on Windows 10, beginning with this new version, the interface is getting updates to optimize the design for text snippets making each entry smaller to see more content.

Clipboard interface for Windows 10 version 1903
Clipboard interface for Windows 10 version 1903

Light theme

Starting with Windows 10 version 1903, there’s a new system light theme that brings lighter colors for the Start menu, Action Center, taskbar, touch keyboard, and other elements that didn’t have a true light color scheme when switching from the dark to light system theme.

Windows 10 19H1 with light theme
Windows 10 April 2019 Update with light theme

The new color scheme is available in Settings > Personalization > Colors and selecting the Light option under “Choose your color” drop-down menu.

Windows 10 19H1 option to enable light theme
Windows 10 April 2019 Update option to enable light theme

Using the drop-down menu, you’ll also find a custom option, which allows you to continue to use a light theme without the new changes.

In addition, this flight introduces a new default desktop wallpaper, which you can use going to Settings > Personalization > Theme and selecting the Windows Light theme.

Printing

As part of this new version, the printing experience now supports the light theme. And you’ll notice that options now include icons, and drop-down menus now show a line of description.

Also, the name of the printer will now use a wrap instead of cutting off the name.

Windows 10 build 18282 printing options
Windows 10 build 18282 printing options

Game bar

On Windows 10 version 1903, the Game bar is getting a new a new gallery to view screenshots and videos without having to leave the game. And there’s an option to share content directly into Twitter.

Game bar with gallery for screenshots and videos
Game bar with gallery for screenshots and videos

Sign-in experience

If you use a Microsoft account linked with your phone number, you can now use an SMS code to sign-in, and continue setting up your account without the need of a password.

Once you’re in your Windows 10 account, you can use Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or a PIN as your primary method of authentication.

When you need to change your PIN, this new version is also updating the reset experience to align with the design you see on the Microsoft web services.

Microsoft account authentication experience
Microsoft account authentication experience

The new changes are also available across the operating system, when an username and password is required, such as when creating a new account.

What’s new with Settings experience

In the update planned for April 2019, the Settings app is also getting a number of refinements. For instance, you’ll find a new way to help users finish their Windows setup and quickly access some of the most frequently used settings.

Inspired by the Microsoft account homepage, the Settings home page now has a header allowing you to take quick actions for things like signing in and managing your Microsoft account. It also gives you an “easy to glance” at system status, such as when updates are available.

Settings app for Windows 10 with header
Settings app for Windows 10 with header

Power & Sleep

In the Power & Sleep page, you’ll now find an slider option to change your system power mode. (This is the same option that was previously available in the power flyout in the taskbar.)

Performance and Energy slider
Performance and Energy slider

Sound

In the “Sound” section, the Devices properties pages for speakers now includes balance controls for Spatial sound.

Sound balance controls on Windows 10
Sound balance controls on Windows 10

Focus assist

In the Focus assist setting page, Windows 10 is adding a new automatic rule to let remove distractions while you’re working on anything full screen. (The option is called “When I’m using an app in full screen mode.”)

Focus assist on Windows 10 19H1
Focus assist on Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Storage

The Storage settings page has been redesigned to see at glance how space is been utilized, instead of having to select each drive to see the same information, which wasn’t very intuitive for many users.

As a result of this change, you’ll no longer find the Storage sense section, but you can still access the settings to enable, disable, and configure the feature by clicking the Configure Storage Sense or run it now link under “Storage.”

Storage settings on Windows 10 19H1
Storage settings on Windows 10 version 1903

Under the “More Storage settings” section, you’ll now find options to access the Optimize Drives settings to use defragmentation, and you’ll find another option to view storage usage on other drives.

Advanced scaling settings

Since the April 2018 Update, Windows 10 includes an option to automatically fix scaling for apps that may look blurry after your display settings change. However, it was an option that you needed to enable manually, but with the April 2019 update, the option is now enabled by default on Settings > System > Display > Advanced scaling settings page.

Printers & Scanners

The Printers & Scanners settings page have been updated with a link, in the right pane, to open the troubleshooter in case you need fix problems with your printer or scanner.

Apps & features

Starting with version 1903, Microsoft is making changes to allow you to uninstall even more built-in apps that you don’t use, including:

  • 3D Viewer.
  • Calculator.
  • Calendar.
  • Groove Music.
  • Mail.
  • Movies & TV.
  • Paint 3D.
  • Snip & Sketch.
  • Sticky Notes.
  • Voice Recorder.

Previously, you were only to able uninstall these:

  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
  • My Office.
  • OneNote.
  • Print 3D.
  • Skype.
  • Tips.
  • Weather.

Sign-in options

On version 1903, Windows 10 is updating the Sign-in options settings page to make it easier for users to set up an authentication method, including Windows Hello Face, Windows Hello Fingerprint, password, and Picture Password. In addition, there’s a new option to set up a security key to authentication with the operating system.

Sign-in options for Windows 10 version 1903
Sign-in options for Windows 10 version 1903

Ethernet 

Inside the properties page to manage Ethernet settings, you can now configure the static IP address and DNS server preferences. (Although this is new to Windows 10 version 1903, you’ve been able to configure these settings for wireless adapters for a long time.)

Windows 10 Ethernet TCP/IP settings
Windows 10 Ethernet TCP/IP settings

In addition, the corresponding Ethernet adapter name will now be listed in the sidebar under the “Ethernet” header so you can easily differentiate Ethernet entries at a glance if there’s more than one.

Colors 

In the Colors page, the options to change your default app mode and enable or disable transparency have moved to the top of the page to make them easier to find.

Colors settings page for Windows 10 19H1
Colors settings page for Windows 10 April 2019 Update

In addition, turning off the  “Transparency effects” toggle switch now disable the translucent acrylic effect in the Sign-in screen background.

Apps & features

The Apps & features page isn’t getting new settings, but the “Choose where to get apps” settings is once again changing the wording for each option to:

  • Anywhere.
  • Anywhere, but let me know if there’s a comparable app in the Microsoft Store.
  • Anywhere, but warm me before installing an app that’s not from the Microsoft Store.
  • The Microsoft Store only (recommended).
Apps & features settings changes
Apps & features settings changes

Fonts

Starting with this major release, the Fonts page now has a drag and drop option to install a font family using a file.

Add Fonts options in the Settings app
Add Fonts options in the Settings app

Date & Time

In the Date & Time settings page, you’ll now find an option to manually synchronize the clock with the time server. This will help in scenarios where you think the clock might be out of sync, or if the time service has been disabled. Also, starting with version 1903, the Settings app will show the last time that time was successfully synced, and the address of your current time server.

Date & Time settings on Windows 10 version 1903

Language

In the Language settings, when adding a new language, Windows 10 will offer separate options for installing the language pack and setting the language as the Windows display language. In addition, you’ll see separate options for installing the “Speech recognition” and “Text-to-speech” features, when these features are available for the language.

Language options on Windows 10 version 1903
Language options on Windows 10 version 1903

Also, there’s a new page that allows you to select the input method to always use as default, and access to adjust language bar options and input language hotkeys.

Input method default options
Input method default options

Speech

In the Speech settings page there’s a new section that shows the current voice packages installed, and you get an option to download additional voices in other languages without having to download language packs using the Narrator Settings and selecting the “Add voices” button.

Speech settings with voice controls
Speech settings with voice controls

Cursor & pointer

In the Cursor & pointer settings page, you’ll now find a new slider to change the size of the mouse pointer, and under the  “Change pointer color” section, you can now select the an option to use a suggested or custom color for the pointer.

Cursor and pointer settings for Windows 10
Cursor and pointer settings for Windows 10

Color filters 

In the Color filters, you won’t new settings, but users now will get a warning about “Night light” affecting the color filter experience, and you’ll find a link to quickly disable Night light.

Color filters with Night light warning
Color filters with Night light warning

Narrator

In the Narrator page, under “Change how much content you hear,” there’s a new Hear advanced information about controls when navigating option that enables you to minimize the amount of conte you hear aloud when navigating the operating system, apps, and even toolpits. (If you must hear the content of a particular tooltip, you need to use the Narrator + 0 command.)

The page also includes a setting to exclude the Narrator Home from the Alt + Tab list, instead of minimizing the experience in the bottom-corner of the screen.

In the “Change what you hear when reading and interacting” section, you’ll now find five new verbosity levels to control the amount of information you hear. Additionally, it’s now possible to cycle through all the levels using the Narrator + V command.

Also, you can have the cursor follow the Narrator cursor enabling the the Move my cursor with the Narrator cursor as Narrator reads text option.

Searching Windows 

Starting with version 1903, the Settings app introduces a new page in the Cortana section called “Searching Windows,” which you can now use to manage search indexing settings.

Technically, Windows 10 is making available the indexing settings already available in Control Panel in the Settings app, but with additional features. For example, now you can select the Enhanced mode, which is a new feature that enables the operating system to search all your folders and drives, instead of only your documents, pictures, videos, and desktop.

You can also exclude folders that you don’t want participating in search, and there links to customize additional advanced search settings and fix common problems with the feature.

Searching Windows settings on Windows 10 build 18267

Microphone

The Microphone settings page has been updated to show which apps are using the microphone with a “Currently in use label.”

Microphone "Currently in use"
Microphone “Currently in use”

Camera

The Camera settings page has been updated to show which apps are currently using the camera with a “Currently in use label.”

Troubleshoot

In the Troubleshoot page, you’ll find a new “Recommended troubleshooting” section, which is part of a new feature that allows Windows 10 to fix many critical problems on your device automatically. For example, the operating system may automatically restore default settings for critical services, adjust feature settings to match your hardware configuration, or make other specific changes required for Windows to operate normally. Critical troubleshooting happens automatically and can’t be turned off.

Recommended Troubleshooting settings
Recommended Troubleshooting settings

Windows 10 will also recommend troubleshooting for other problems that aren’t critical to normal operation, but might be impacting your experience. For example, the operating system may recommend disabling a setting that sometimes causes an app or feature to crash unexpectedly until an update is available.

Also, you will see notifications when there is a recommended troubleshooter available for your device. If you click the notification, the Settings app will open in the Troubleshoot page, where you can choose whether to run the recommended troubleshooter or ignore it.

If you want to see the problems that Windows 10 fixed on your behalf, you click the View history link.

Although you can’t disable this feature, you can click the Recommended troubleshooting settings link to jump to the Diagnostic & feedback page, where you can change the behavior. 

These are the available settings:

  • Ask me before fixing problems.
  • Tell me when problems get fixed.
  • Fix problems for me without asking. 
Recommended Troubleshooting settings on version 1903
Recommended Troubleshooting settings on version 1903

Windows Update 

In the Windows Update settings page, the new available options are not longer links, and now, they buttons with icon and descriptions. Also, you’ll now find the option to “Pause updates”, and when disabling automatic updates, you can now set the number of days that you want to delay updates.

Windows 10 update settings on build 18282
Windows 10 update settings on build 18282

While you can already configure Active Hours to prevent your device rebooting when you’re actively using it, starting with version 1903, there’s a new option that allows Windows 10 to automatically adjust active hours based on your computer activity. The new option is called “Automatically adjust active hours for me based on my daily usage,” and it’s available on Settings > Windows Update > Change active hours.

Automatic Active Hours settings on Windows 10
Automatic Active Hours settings on Windows 10

Finally, if you need to configure this feature, you’ll need to click the Change active hours button, and then click the Change link.

Delivery Optimization

Windows 10 version 1903 now adds supports LEDBAT in uploads to Delivery Optimization peers on the same LAN (behind the same NAT). This feature should prevent congestion on the local network and allow peer-to-peer upload traffic to back off instantly when the network is utilized for higher priority traffic.

Windows Insider Program

This version also includes a new simplified Windows Insider Program page in the Settings app, which aims to remove clutter and move elements around to make it easier to understand and configure.

Windows Insider Program settings page on Windows 10 version 1903
Windows Insider Program settings page on Windows 10 version 1903

For example, it’s now easier to see which ring your device is enrolled. When you need to switch rings, simply click your current enrollment, and then select Fast, Slow, or Release Preview. 

In addition, if you want to opt-out of the program, it’s now as easy as turning off the toggle switch under “Stop getting preview builds.” Once you opted out of the program, your device will stop getting previews after the next version of Windows 10 releases.

What’s new with input experience

Language

This new feature update also introduces the Windows Ebrima font to read your ADLaM documents and websites.

Windows 10 with Ebrima font
Windows 10 with Ebrima font

In addition, the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, version 1903, now includes keyboard support for ADLaM and Osage. ADLaM script is used to write Pular/Fulfulde, the language of the Fulani people of West Africa. Osage script is used to write the Osage language spoken by the Osage Nation in Oklahoma.

Narrator

Narrator gets updated to work better with Google Chrome. Starting with Windows 10 (19H1), you can use the up and down arrows, and on a slider, the left and right arrows will decrease and increase the slider in scan mode. You can navigate using the tab keys. You can use the continuous reading commands, and you can navigate by headings and links.

BRLTTY version 5.6 is now available with USB support for Inceptor and Orbit 20 displays. In addition, the BrailleNote Touch is recognized when using USB. Baum displays can now use B9 and B10 interchangeably. Liblouis binaries and tables have been updated to version 3.7.0.

The UI for Automation framework now includes support for IAccessible2 information from Google Chrome, which supports IAccessible2 rather than UI Automation. This enables UI Automation clients to receive the IAccessible2 information through the UI Automation client interfaces.

Narrator now includes “Read by Sentence,” which allows you to read next, current, and previous sentences with Narrator. The new feature is available with the keyboard and with touch. (Move by sentence doesn’t yet work for Braille.)

  • Caps + Ctrl + Period (.): Reads next sentence.
  • Caps + Ctrl + Comma (,): Reads current sentence.
  • Caps + Ctrl + M: Reads previous sentence.

Sentence is now a new Narrator view and can be reached using the Caps + Page Up or Caps + Page Down keyboard shortcut, and then, you can navigate with Caps + Left arrow for move by previous sentence and Caps + Right arrow for move by next sentence.

Moving forward Narrator will alert you when you’re accidentally typing with Caps Lock turned on. The setting is enabled by default. To adjust this setting, open the Narrator Settings (Ctrl + Win + N), then navigate to the “Change how much content you hear” heading and review the combo box for “Change when you receive Caps Lock warnings while typing”.

You can now use the text reading commands to scan the window. It’s also possible to use “read by sentence” command with a braille display hitting the dots 2-3-4 or 2-3-4-7 in command input mode. The view options are now more consistent, and you’ll hear control information more consistently. 

Character phonetic reading will no longer announce the phonetic information (“a Alpha,” “b Bravo,” c “Charlie”) automatically. If you need the phonetic information to disambiguate characters, you can issue a command to hear the phonetics. Use the keyboard command of Narrator key + Comma twice quickly.

Also, with version 1903, the experience includes a new “Narrator Home,” which will launch every time that you start Narrator with everything you need to start using the experience.

When using a web browser, you can use the Narrator + 0 command to read the complete URL aloud.

It’s now possible to use capitalization for all reading modes. (You can use the Narrator + 4 command to turn it on or off.) 

The text-reading commands are now available to read an entire window, and you can have Narrator read groups of keyboard keys when pressed. You can independently select Hear letters, numbers, and punctuation as you type, Hear function keys as you type, Hear arrow, Tab, and other navigation keys as you type, Hear when toggle keys like Caps lock and Num lock are turned on or off, and Hear Shift, Alt, and other modifier keys as you type.

When viewing a website, the reading and navigation commands now stay in the page on supported web browsers, and when reading emails with Outlook or the Mail apps.

Starting with this new version of Windows 10, Narrator will stop announcing non-selected in a table when the aria-selected isn’t set on Microsoft Edge, when navigating to a nested table, and when you leave and re-enter a table when reading a single table continuously.

In addition, Narrator now recognizes combo edit controls and will speak them as “combo edit” instead of just “edit.” And if you forget your PIN or password, Narrator will stay on the whole time while you reset it.

The Read Current character phonetics adds Narrator + 5 twice command to render current character phonetics.

When Scan Mode is enabled and Narrator is on a slider, the left and right arrows will decrease and increase the slider. Up and down arrows will continue to navigate to the previous or next paragraph or item. Home and End will move the slider to the beginning or the end.

Also, Narrator now announces the state of hardware buttons such as volume keys.

Input

If you write in Vietnamese, Windows 10 now includes Vietnamese Telex and Number-key based (VNI) keyboards for the touch-based keyboard.

As part of the input improvements, you can now access even more symbols and special characters from the touch keyboard. Once in the number and symbols view (&123) on the touch keyboard, just tap the new ‘Ω ‘ key and you’ll now see a number of tabs with lists of symbols.

New symbols for touch keyboard on Windows 10
New symbols for touch keyboard on Windows 10

In addition to the Indic Traditional INSCRIPT keyboards already available, with this new version, Windows 10 is adding Indic Phonetic keyboards for Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Odia, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

“How does a phonetic keyboard work? Basically, it’s a convenient way of typing that leverages the English QWERTY keyboard – as you type, we use transliteration to suggest possible Indic text candidates. For example, if you typed “namaste” using the Hindi Phonetic keyboard we would suggest नमस्ते.” — Microsoft explains.

Windows 10 version 1903 now adds a notification, which will appear the very first time you press Left Alt + Shift to explains that the hotkey triggers an input language change, and includes a direct link to the settings where the hotkey can be disabled, if pressing it was unintentional.

Touch keyboard

If you use the touch keyboard, you’ll now be able to type faster more accurately. Starting with this flight, Windows 10 will detect your typing behavior and dynamically adjust the hit target of each key, based on prediction of what letter most likely will be typed next.

Touch keyboard key press prediction (mockup)
Touch keyboard key press prediction (mockup)

Also, Windows 10 is making some changes to reduce the number of times in tablet mode where the touch keyboard ends up occluding the text field when docked.

SwitfKey

The SwitfKey feature that provides more accurate autocorrections and predictions when using the touch keyboard experience is now expanding to more languages, including:

  • English (Canada) – en-CA
  • English (India) – en-IN
  • French (Canada) – fr-CA
  • French (Belgium) – fr-BE
  • French (Switzerland) – fr-CH
  • Portuguese (Portugal) – pt-PT
  • German (Switzerland) – de-CH
  • Spanish (United States) – es-US

If you’re using a hardware keyboard, text suggestions are also supported with the above languages.

In this version, Windows 10 is updating the Japanese IME by redesigning how it works with applications, and the candidate window interface has been updated to be cleaner and more polished.

As part of this work, all your Japanese IME settings have now been fully integrated into Settings. If you would like to see them, the fastest way there is to right-click the IME mode indicator in the taskbar and select Settings.

Japanese IME settings on Windows 10
Japanese IME settings on Windows 10

Emoji panel

Starting with the April 2019 Update, when you press Windows key + (period) or Windows key + (semicolon), in addition to emoji the picker that appears will now include symbols and kaomoji too.

As part of the symbols, you’ll find sections for punctuation, currency, geometric, math, Latin, and language symbols. As you pick them, your most commonly used symbols, the most recently used tab will populate with them, so it will be even easier to select them next time.

Also, this version ships with emoji 12.

Emoji 12 for Windows 10 19H1
Emoji 12 for Windows 10 April 2019 Update

What’s new with system experience

As part of the 19H1 development, Microsoft is also introducing a new group policy for prevent the use of security questions for local accounts. This can be found under Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Credential User Interface.

Reserved Storage

Starting with Windows 10 version 1903, April 2019 Update, Microsoft is introducing “Reserved Storage,” which is a new feature that sets aside part of your device available storage to reduce problems upgrading to a new version or installing updates as a result of not enough space.

Reserved Storage will set aside around 7GB of storage for updates, temporary files, system cache, and apps. When a new update is available, Windows 10 will delete the files located in the reserved storage automatically to make room to install the update.

Reserved Storage on Windows 10
Reserved Storage on Windows 10

If the space isn’t enough, then system will clean up other unnecessary files to make the space needed. In the case, the available space still not enough, then you’ll be advised to free space manually or connect another external storage, such as USB flash drive, which the system can use as temporary storage.

Over time, depending on how you use the device and based on diagnostic data, the amount of reserved space may increase in the future.

Users won’t be able to delete the reserved storage, but you’ll be able to adjust the amount of storage the system can set aside by removing optional features or languages installed on your device.

The feature will be enabled automatically on devices that come pre-installed with Windows 10 version 1903, or after performing a clean installation of the operating system. If you want to enable Reserved Storage on an existing installation, you can trigger a request using these steps.

Fiber Local Storage (FLS)

Also, in this new version, Windows 10 is increasing per-process Fiber Local Storage slot allocation. This change will positively impact any application that dynamically loads hundreds or thousands of unique DLLs that have statically-linked Visual C++ runtimes, or otherwise allocate FLS slots.

Reset this PC

If you use the Reset this PC feature, after installing version 1903, you’ll find a new experience to reinstall Windows 10 with a new interface that is more consistent across devices with different configurations, and it now requires fewer steps to complete.

Registry

In the Registry, when pressing the F4 key, you’ll see a caret at the end of the address bar, expanding the autocomplete drop-down.

Brightness

In this major update, Windows 10 is also modifying the brightness behavior to prevent the display becoming brighter when moving from a battery charger to battery power.

“If a person adjusts their display brightness, that brightness will now be remembered as their preferred brightness whether they are on battery or connected to a charger.”

Windows Console

Ctrl + Mouse Wheel Scroll to zoom in text is now supported in Command Prompt, PowerShell and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

In addition, when using dark system theme, the scrollbars for Command Prompt, PowerShell and WSL will now become dark as well.

Command Prompt and PowerShell with dark scrollbar
Command Prompt and PowerShell with dark scrollbar

The Windows 10 April 2019 update is also updating the properties page for consoles by adding a new “Terminal” tab introducing new settings, such as cursor shape and colors, terminal colors, and more.

Terminal settings for consoles on Windows 10 version 1903
Terminal settings for consoles on Windows 10 version 1903

Windows Subsystem for Linux

Starting with the first major release of 2019, the Windows Subsystem for Linux introduces new functionalities and new options to make management easier:

  • Consolidated command line options – The command line tool now includes options to manage your Linux distros that are included in the wslconfig command line tool.
  • Import a distro for easy sideloading including to non-system drives – Use the –import option to imports a tar file as a new distribution. You can specify the distribution registry to the location of your choice including non-system drives.
  • Export your WSL distribution for simpler environment management – Use the -export option to export a distribution to a tar file. Your distro will export to your default downloads location.

In addition, if you use Linux on Windows 10, you can now access the Linux files part of the Windows Subsystem for Linux environment.

The new files are accessible using command line or File Explorer. In order to access the files, you need to navigate to \\wsl$\distro_name, or see a list of running distributions by navigating to \\wsl$.

Also, the April 2019 Update introduces improvements for the wsl.exe command line interface. For instance, you can now import and export distros, and you can now consolidate existing features from wslconfig.exe, such as list distros and setting defaults.

Task Manager

Windows 10 version 1903 is also updating Task Manager with a new option to set your preferred tab when opening Task Manager using the Options menu.

Task Manager on Windows 10 version 1903
Task Manager on Windows 10 version 1903

Windows Mixed Reality

In this update, Windows 10 adds the ability to launch Desktop (Win32) applications (such as Spotify, Paint.NET, and Visual Studio Code) in Windows Mixed Reality.

What’s new with built-in apps

Here are the changes for built-in apps on Windows 10:

Notepad

In addition, this build includes a new option to save files in UTF-8 without a Byte Order Mark and making this the default for new files. UTF-8 without a Byte Order Mark is backwards-compatible with ASCII and will provide better interoperability with the web, where UTF-8 has become the default encoding. Additionally, Microsoft has added a column to the status bar that displays the encoding of the document.

Notepad improvements for Windows 10 19h1
Notepad improvements for Windows 10 April 2019 Update

If you’re typing a text document with unsaved changes, you’ll now notice an asterisk (*) in the title bar.

Also, you can now send feedback about Notepad from the Help menu and clicking the Send Feedback option. Notepad can now open and save files with a path that is longer than 260 characters, also known as MAX_PATH. And there are new keyboard shortcuts, including:

  • Ctrl + Shift + N — opens a new Notepad window.
  • Ctrl + Shift + S — opens the Save as… dialog.
  • Ctrl + W — closes the current Notepad window.

Windows Sandbox

In this update, Windows Sandbox is a new feature designed to safely run untrusted applications in an isolated environment without harming your device.

The feature uses hardware virtualization and the Microsoft Hypervisor technology to create a lightweight environment (using around 100MB of space) to install and run an untrusted application. It’s a virtualized environment, but you don’t need to create a virtual machine manually.

Windows Sandbox
Windows Sandbox

According to the company Windows Sandbox works very efficient using integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual graphics.

The Windows Sandbox experience also includes the ability captures hotkeys in full screen, and supports configuration files. Using these files allows you to configure some aspects of the experience, including vGPU, networking and shared folders.

Once you finish using the app, closing the session will delete everything automatically.

The new feature will be available for Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise, and it can be enabled using the Turn Windows Features On or Off experience, and enabling the Windows Sandbox option.

Windows Security 

The Windows 10 April 2019 Update ships with several changes for Windows Security, which includes a new “Protection history” experience.

Windows Security with new Protection history
Windows Security with new Protection history

The new experience will continue to show Windows Defender Antivirus detections, but it’ll now give you more and easier to understand information. In addition, you can now see information about Controlled folder access, along with any information which are made through organizational configuration of Attack Surface Reduction Rules.

If you use the Windows Defender Offline scanning tool, any detections it makes will now show in your history. Additionally, if there are any pending recommendations, you’ll see them with a red or yellow state across the experience in the history list.

Also, Windows Security is adding a Tamper Protection setting for Windows Defender Antivirus, which when enabled, it provides additional protection against changes to key security features, including limiting changes which are not made directly through the Windows Security app. You can find this setting under Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection > Virus & Threat Protection Settings.

Tamper protection settings for Windows Defender
Tamper protection settings for Windows Defender

Windows Defender Application Guard

Windows 10 version 1903 also includes an updated version of Windows Security, which introduces new Windows Defender Application Guard options that allows you to manage access to your camera and microphone while browsing using this security feature for Microsoft Edge.

If you’re using a device manage by your company, you can check the settings that have been configured. For this to be turned on in Application Guard for Microsoft Edge, the camera and microphone setting must already be turned on for the device in Settings > Privacy > Microphone & Settings > Privacy > Camera.

Windows Defender Application Guard for Windows 10 19H1
Windows Defender Application Guard for Windows 10 April 2019 Update

Snip & Sketch

In the new experience to take screenshots on Windows 10, you’ll find a few additions, including:

  • Option to add a border to your screenshots.
  • Button in the toolbar so you can print directly from the app.
  • If you have unsaved changes and go to close a window or open a file that will now pop a confirmation.
  • File name now includes a timestamp.
  • You can now save images as jpg and gif.
Snip & Sketch printing option
Snip & Sketch printing option

In addition with version 10.1809.2964.0, Snip & Sketch now has a settings page that replaces the old About page. In this new page, you’ll find the option to add a border, an option for updates made to your snip to copy automatically to your clipboard, and more.

If you use the snipping tool on Windows 10, starting with this preview, you’ll find a new option to take a screenshot of windows.

Snipping tools with option to take window screenshot
Snipping tools with option to take window screenshot

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes is also getting some additional improvements, including:

Sticky Notes in dark mode
Sticky Notes in dark mode

RAW image format support

Beginning with this new feature, Windows 10 will now include improved native support of RAW image file formats with a new Microsoft Store maintained extension, which will bring new features, such as image thumbnails, previews, and camera metadata of previously unsupported raw files right in File Explorer.

In addition, you can also view raw images in full resolution using apps, such as Photos or any other Windows app that uses Windows Imaging Component framework.

Windows 10 Setup

The next version of Windows 10 will also introduce a new setup interface design using lighter instead of the dark purple colors when running the experience from an ISO file.

Windows 10 ISO setup experience with lighter color interface
Windows 10 ISO setup experience with lighter color interface

In addition, if you’re performing a clean install of Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, the Cortana voice-over will be disabled by default.

Also, the installation process will be updated as in old setup didn’t offer easy to understand information when a compatibility issue was detected. In the new experience, if there’s a known compatibility problem with an app or driver, Windows 10 will display a screen with friendly information and the action you need to take to successfully upgrade your device.

Windows 10 Setup on version 1903 (image source: Microsoft)
Windows 10 Setup on version 1903 (image source: Microsoft)

Starting with the April 2019 Update, the setup will provide users with more details and actionable features:

  • There is a place where users can go to learn more about their issue.
  • Ensure the associated KB is linked to the “Learn More” link.
  • Enabling users the ability to install or upgrade an application (if applicable).

Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 18342. It should be noted that this guide focuses on features for consumers, as Microsoft is also adding other features aimed for enterprises, which aren’t included here. (This guide was originally published on September 4, 2018, and last updated on February 21, 2019.)