Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903 — codenamed 19H1 — is the seventh major refresh of the OS (after its original release), and it’s the first semi-annual update of 2019. This new update delivers a new set of features and enhancements to improve performance, security, and it’ll help users be more productive.
Windows 10 version 1903 release date: Microsoft kicked off the May 2019 Update on April 8, 2019, with Windows 10 build 18362.30 in the Release Preview ring, and on April 18, the official ISO file was made available in the MSDN website, but the final version is expected to arrive to everyone in late May.
Getting the Windows 10 version 1903: If your device is compatible, you’ll receive a notification to download and install the feature update automatically through Windows Update. Alternatively, you’ll also be able install the update using the Media Creation Tool to do a clean or in-place upgrade, Update Assistant, or you can also download the ISO file to create a USB bootable media.
To prepare for a successful upgrade without problems, you can follow this guide. If you’re not ready to upgrade, you can use this guide to prevent Windows 10 from installing the May 2019 Update on your device. Also, check out the best features coming to version 1903, and the hidden features you have yet to discover.
- What’s new with desktop experience
- What’s new with Settings experience
- What’s new with input experience
- What’s new with system experience
- What’s new with built-in apps
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 an acrylic effect, part of Fluent Design, to the sign-in background. The translucent texture helps you focus on the login task by moving the actionable controls up in the visual hierarchy while maintaining their accessibility.
If you don’t like the new experience, you can disable the acrylic effect on the Sign-in screen using the Group Policy Editor, on Administrative Templates > System > Logon > “Show clear logon background”. Alternatively, you can also disable the system transparency effects to remove the effect from the Sign-in screen.
The Start menu is debuting with a new simplified default layout that will appear on new installations and new accounts, which according to the company, it has been simplified into a sleek one column design with reduced top-level tiles.
You can right-click on a group header or tile folder to find an option to unpin the group or folder.
(Feature isn’t available to everyone) When you hover over the navigation pane in the Start menu, after a short period it will now automatically expand.
You’ll find new icons for the “Sleep,” “Shut down,” and “Restart” options in the power menu, and new icons for the “Change account settings,” “Lock,” and “Sign-out” options in the profile menu.
In addition, the Start menu will now appear on its own separate StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process to simplify debugging and isolating the experience from potential issues impacting other services.
Search and Cortana
Starting with the Windows 10 May 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.
Then when clicking the Cortana button, you’ll access the experience directly into the voice assistant.
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.
In the taskbar, more specifically in the notification 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, or Cellular adapters.
There’s a new microphone icon in the notification area which appears when your microphone is in use, and hovering over the icon 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.
Starting with this new version, Action Center adds a new slider to quickly adjust the brightness of the screen using any level, instead of the button that only allows you to select between four levels of brightness.
You can now rearrange, add, and remove 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 effect to match the shadow seen along the borders of other taskbar flyouts.
The File Explorer experience is getting a new icon with a modern design similar to the design language Microsoft is using for its Office apps icons.
(Feature removed from final version) As part of a continuous effort to improve File Explorer, you’ll now find a new default date format, which is called “friendly dates” that shows dates in a conversational format. For instance, “5 hours ago,” instead of “4/12/2019 1:15 PM.”
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 specify a new name of internet files, and then they get lost in the folder.
Finally, File Explorer now allows you to rename a file using a dot at the beginning of the name (for example, “.gitignore”). (In the past, this action will result in an error.)
If you use 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.
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.
The new color scheme is available in Settings > Personalization > Colors and selecting the Light option under “Choose your color” drop-down menu.
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, the May 2019 Update (formerly April 2019 Update) also introduces a new default desktop wallpaper, which you can use going to Settings > Personalization > Theme and selecting the Windows Light theme.
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.
On Windows 10 version 1903, the Game bar is getting 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.
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.
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 finish the 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.
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 May 2019 Update, the option is now enabled by default on Settings > System > Display > Advanced scaling settings page.
Notifications & actions
Starting with version 1903, the Notifications & actions page no longer includes the options to manage Quick actions buttons, because now it’s a task that you can perform with Action Center.
In the Focus assist settings page, Windows 10 is adding a new automatic rule to let remove distractions while you’re working on anything in full screen. (The option is called “When I’m using an app in full screen mode.”)
Power & Sleep
In the Power & Sleep page, you’ll now find a slider option to change your system power mode. (This is the same option that was previously available in the power flyout in the taskbar.)
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.”
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.
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 to fix problems with your printer or scanner.
In this new version, the Typing page includes a new “Make my keyboard focus easier to see” link in the “More keyboard settings” section that takes you to the “Cursor & pointer” page.
Inside the properties page to manage Ethernet settings, you can now configure the static an 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.)
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 adapter.
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.
In addition, turning off the “Transparency effects” toggle switch now disables the translucent acrylic effect in the Sign-in screen background.
The Themes page doesn’t introduce new settings, but it includes a new theme called “Windows (light),” which activates the new system light theme.
Starting with this major release, the Fonts page now has a drag and drop option to install a font family using a file.
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, 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).
Also, starting with version 1903, Microsoft is making changes to allow you to uninstall even more inbox apps that you don’t use, including:
- 3D Viewer.
- Groove Music.
- Movies & TV.
- Paint 3D.
- Snip & Sketch.
- Sticky Notes.
- Voice Recorder.
Previously, you were only to able uninstall these:
- Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
- My Office.
- Print 3D.
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 authenticate with the operating system.
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 the time was successfully synced, and the address of your current time server.
In the Language settings page, when adding a new language, Windows 10 will offer separate options to install a language package and setting up 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.
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.
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.
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 change the pointer color using one of the suggested colors, or you can use the picker to create a custom color.
In the Color filters, you won’t find 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.”
In the Narrator page, under “Change how much content you hear,” the Use Narrator section has been simplified with a single option to launch the experience, and the “Learn Narrator basics with QuickStart” option has been renamed to “Open Narrator Home.”
The “Choose when to start Narrator” section has been renamed to “Start-up options,” and now includes the previous options, the Allow the shortcut key to start Narrator option, and two new options, including Show Narrator Home when Narrator starts and Minimize Narrator Home to the System tray, which are enabled by default.
In the “Personalize Narrator’s voice” section no longer includes the Emphasize formatted text or Turn on information pauses options. Also, the Learn how to add more voices has been replaced with the Add more voices link, which opens the Speech settings to install additional voices without the need to install the entire language pack.
The “Change how much content you hear” section has been renamed to “Change what you hear reading and interacting,” and 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, there’s a new Hear advanced information about controls when navigating option that enables you to minimize the amount of content that you hear aloud when navigating the operating system, apps, and even tooltips. (If you must hear the content of a particular tooltip, you need to use the Narrator + 0 command.)
In addition, in the “Change what you hear reading and interacting” section is where you’ll now find the Have Narrator’s voice emphasize formatted text option. You’ll also find the Hear phonetics as you read by character option. Also, there a new Hear advanced detail, like help text, on buttons and other controls option, which enables you to minimize the amount of content that you hear aloud when navigating the operating system, apps, and even tooltips. (If you must hear the content of a particular tooltip, you need to use the Narrator + 0 command.)
The Hear hints on how to interact with controls and buttons option has been renamed to Hear hints to how to interact with buttons and other controls, and you’ll find a new Hear Narrator announce why an action can’t be perform option.
On Windows 10 version 1903, the Narrator page also introduces a new Change what you hear when typing section, which includes these options:
- Hear letters, numbers, and punctuation as you type.
- Hear words 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.
- Hear Shift, Alt, and other modifier keys as you type.
Also, Narrator will now alert you when you’re accidentally typing with the Caps Lock turned on. The setting is enabled by default, and you can change this setting, under the “Change what you hear when typing” section and disabling the Change when you receive Caps Lock warnings while typing option.
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.
Under the Use Narrator cursor the Show the Narrator cursor on the screen option has been renamed to Show the Narrator cursor, and the Have the text insertion point follow the Narrator cursor when on editable text option has been renamed to Move my cursor wit the Narrator cursor as Narrator reads text.
Additional Narrator improvements
The May 2019 Update also includes a number of Narrator improvements. For example, in this new version, Narrator ships with an updated “Narrator Home” experience that includes quick access to all the information you need to know to get started.
Also, if you forget your PIN or password to access your account, Narrator will stay on the whole time while you reset it.
The experience has also been updated to use capitalization for all reading modes. (You can enable or disable this feature with the Narrator key + 4 command.)
As of the reading experience, Narrator now detects combo edits, and you’ll now hear them as Combo Edit, not just Edit.
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.
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.
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 the Narrator key + Comma twice quickly command to hear the phonetics.
The Read Current character phonetics adds Narrator + 5 twice command to render current character phonetics. Also, Narrator now announces the state of hardware buttons such as volume keys.
On the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (formerly April 2019 Update), 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.
- Caps + Ctrl + Period (.): Reads next sentence.
- Caps + Ctrl + Comma (,): Reads current sentence.
- Caps + Ctrl + M: Reads previous sentence.
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.
As part of the improvements for Narrator in the browser, in this new version, the experience ships with changes to enhance support with Google Chrome. When using Scan Mode, 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.
In addition, the framework for UI Automation now includes support for translating IAccessible2 information while in Google Chrome.
On Microsoft Edge, Narrator will stop announcing non-selected cells in a table when the aria-selected isn’t set. Also, you’ll no longer hear when you leave and re-enter a table when reading a single table continuously or nested table.
Furthermore, the experience can now read the entire link aloud using the Narrator + 0 command. 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 app.
Finally, 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.
Starting with version 1903, the Settings app introduces a new Search section 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.
The new section has three pages, including a new Searching Windows page, which allows you to manage indexing settings.
The Indexing Status section shows the items that have been indexed, and the pending items yet to be indexed.
The Find My Files section, you can now 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.
The new sections includes the “Permissions & History” and “More details” pages previously available in the Cortana section.
In this new version, you’re not getting new features or significant improvements on Cortana. Instead, starting with version 1903, you’ll notice that a lot of the settings have been banished from Windows 10. For example, the Talk to Cortana page removes the settings to change the name that Cortana uses to call you.
A lot of the settings found in the Permissions page are now relocated to the Permissions & History page in the Search section, and the Cortana across my devices page have been completed removed from the Settings app.
The Camera settings page has been updated to show which apps are currently using the camera with a “Currently in use label.”
The Microphone settings page has been updated to show which apps are using the microphone with a “Currently in use label.”
The Voice activation page is new to the Settings app, and it includes the settings to manage which applications can listen to voice keywords and continue listening after the keyword is detected.
The Phone calls page is also a new, and it allows you to manage which apps can make phone calls from your computer. If users can make calls, Windows 10 will use the cellular connection of the phone paired to the device to complete the call.
In the Windows Update settings page, the available options are not longer links, they are buttons with new icons and descriptions. Also, you’ll now find the option to “Pause updates” within the main page, and when disabling automatic updates, you can now set the number of days that you want to delay updates. In addition, the ability to pause update up to 35 days is now also available for devices running Windows 10 Home.
In the Advanced options page, you can still find the option to disable update, but unlike the option in the main page, you can now specify the number of days that you want to prevent your device from downloading and installing updates automatically.
While you can already configure Active Hours to prevent your device from rebooting when you’re actively using it to apply updates, 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.
If you need to configure this feature manually, you’ll need to click the Change active hours button, disable the automatic settings, and then click the Change link.
Starting with version 1903, Windows 10 will be capable of removing updates automatically if your device can’t boot correctly after the installation. The new feature works automatically when none of the troubleshooting steps are able to fix the problem.
Also, after the update has been removed, you’ll receive a “We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure” notification, and the system will even block the problematic update from installing again automatically for the next 30 days, which should be enough time until the next patch releases with a fix for the issue.
Finally, and perhaps more significant, starting with the May 2019 Update, Windows 10 will no longer force upgrades on devices. Instead, users will receive a notification confirming the new version is ready, and in the Windows Update settings page, you’ll have the choice to initiate the upgrade to the latest version manually or ignore it to continue using your current version without missing maintenance and security updates.
However, when your version of windows 10 is getting close to the end of service, Windows Update will download and install the feature update automatically to keep your device supported, just like before.
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.
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.
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 can 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.
In the Recovery page, 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.
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.
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
This new feature update also introduces the Windows Ebrima font to read your ADLaM documents and websites.
In addition, the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, now includes keyboard support for ADLaM and Osage. ADLaM script is used to write in Pular/Fulfulde, the language of the Fulani people of West Africa. Osage script is used to write in the Osage language spoken by the Osage Nation in Oklahoma.
If you write in Vietnamese, Windows 10 now includes Vietnamese Telex and Number-key based (VNI) keyboards for the touch-based keyboard.
(Feature no longer available) 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.
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 explain that the hotkey triggers an input language change, and includes a direct link to the settings where the hotkey can be disabled, if the press was unintentional.
If you use the touch keyboard, you’ll now be able to type faster more accurately. Starting with this new version, 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.
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.
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.
Starting with the May 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.
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.
Starting with Windows 10 version 1903, May 2019 Update (formerly 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.
If the space isn’t enough, then system will clean up other unnecessary files to make the space needed. In the case that 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.
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.
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. This means that when someone adjusts the display brightness, that brightness will now be remembered as the preferred setting whether you’re on battery or connected to a power source.
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.
The Windows 10 May 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.
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, including:
- 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
Also, the May 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.
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.
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.
Windows 10 hardware requirements
Starting with the May 2019 Update, Windows 10 is increasing the minimum storage requirement from 20GB to 32GB of space for 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Here’s a list with the new hardware requirements to install Windows 10 according to the Microsoft support documentation:
- Processor: 1GHz or faster CPU or System on a Chip (SoC)
- Memory: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit
- Hard drive space: 32GB for 64-bit or 32-bit
- Graphics: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 800×600
What’s new with built-in apps
Here are the changes for built-in apps on Windows 10:
In addition, this new version 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. Also, Microsoft has added a column to the status bar that displays the encoding of the document.
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 (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.
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.
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 to 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.
In addition, this experience includes microphone and audio input support. You can use Shift + Alt + PrintScreen keyboard shortcut to activate the ease of access dialog for enabling high contrast mode. And you can use the Ctrl + Alt + Break keyboard shortcut in Windows Sandbox to enter and exit full screen mode.
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.
The Windows 10 May 2019 Update ships with several changes for Windows Security, which includes a new “Protection history” experience.
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’ll provide 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.
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.
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.
In addition, 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.
RAW image format support
Beginning with this new feature update, Windows 10 will now include improved native support of RAW image file formats with a new extension, which will bring new features, such as image thumbnails, previews, and camera metadata of previously unsupported raw files 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 the Windows Imaging Component framework.
Windows 10 Setup
The next version of Windows 10 will also introduce a new setup interface design using a lighter instead of the dark purple color when running the experience from an ISO file.
If you’re performing a clean installation 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.
Starting with the May 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).
Windows 10 May 2019 Update score
Overall the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is a significant feature update with many welcome and interesting additions, such as a new proper light theme, Reserved storage, Windows Sandbox, separation of Cortana and Search, quick access to symbols, automatic active hours, and recommended troubleshooting. However, it’s more like an incremental update, because Windows 10 is already a mature OS, and all the main features are already included.
During the time testing the new update, performance and memory usage seem at the same level of previous releases, but your experience may vary depending on your applications and hardware configuration.
It hasn’t been going really well for Microsoft pushing feature updates, and as a result, this time around the company will be more careful pushing the update by letting users decide when to install new feature updates, such as version 1903.
Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 18362.116. 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 May 20, 2019.)