Hidden gems

Windows 10 version 1903, May 2019 Update: 10 Hidden new features

These are the most interesting features coming with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, which you probably didn't know.

Windows 10 version 1903 hidden features

The May 2019 Update for Windows 10 is expected to arrive on May 21, 2019, and along with the biggest improvements, the first semi-annual release of 2019 also includes a number of hidden features and changes.

You can also check the best features coming with the Windows 10 version 1903 here.

In this guide, we’ll get a closer look at the most interesting features that you probably didn’t know are coming with the May 2019 Update.

1. Reserved Storage

Reserved Storage is a new feature meant to set aside part of the available storage to use as temporary storage to reduce problems installing updates.

Usually, this new feature will reserve a percentage of the available storage for updates, temporary files, system cache, and apps. Then, 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 successfully.

Reserved Storage on Windows 10
Reserved Storage on Windows 10

This hidden gem 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.

2. Quick brightness control

Starting with version 1903, instead of using the Settings app to adjust the screen brightness, Action Center now includes a 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

Although, the new brightness option is easy to find, the feature makes it into the top hidden features, because it’s easy to miss if you have the Quick Action buttons in collapse mode.

3. Sync time manually

Another hidden feature built into the May 2019 Update is the ability 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.

Synchronize clock on Windows 10
Synchronize clock on Windows 10

4. Automatic active hours

Windows 10 includes the Active Hours feature to help prevent sudden restarts to apply updates. However, remembering to reconfigure your settings as your schedule changes presents another challenge, and as a result, starting with the May 2019 Update, version 1903, Windows 10 includes a new feature that allows the system to adjust your active hours based on your device activity automatically.

Automatic active hours settings on Windows 10 version 1903
Automatic active hours settings on Windows 10 version 1903

This new option must be enabled manually from the Windows Update settings page before you can benefit from it.

5. Quick access to symbols

If you ever wrote a document or email, you know how inconvenient can be to remember the “Alt” key codes or having to search online to insert symbols (such as em dash, more than and less than, arrows, etc.) into your text.

Starting with Windows 10 version 1903, the emoji panel (Windows key + ;) features a new option to quickly find and insert symbols and even kaomoji (face characters).

Emoji panel with symbols on WIndows 10
Emoji panel with symbols on WIndows 10

This new hidden feature includes symbols for punctuation, currency, geometric, math, Latin, and language symbols. In addition, as you pick them, the most commonly used symbols, the recently used tab will populate with them, so it’ll be even easier to select them next time.

6. Automatic remove of problematic updates

Updates are important to keep your PC and files safe and secure and improve the overall experience, but it’s also true that sometimes updates can fail because of compatibility, bugs, and other problems.

Starting with version 1903, if your device is unable to start after an update and the automatic repair mechanism can’t recover your system, now Windows 10 will try to fix this problem by uninstalling the problematic update automatically.

In addition, once the update has been removed, you’ll receive a “We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure” notification letting you know of the automatic action. Furthermore, Windows 10 will also 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.

7. Support for dot at the beginning of file

If you’re a web developer or use another operating system (such as Linux), it’s not uncommon to work with configuration files that use a dot at the beginning of the name, which is not supported on Windows 10.

However, starting with version 1903, File Explorer finally brings support to rename files using a dot at the beginning of the name (for example, “.htaccess”).

8. Task manager open default tab

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

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

The new option using the Set default tab submenu, hidden in the “Options” menu.

9. Set static IP address for Ethernet

The Settings app included the ability to configure a static IP address for a long time, but it was only available for wireless adapters.

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

Starting with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, the properties for an Ethernet adapter hides an option to set a static IP address for a wired connection.

10. Custom color for mouse pointer

Another hidden feature available with version 1903 is the ability to customize the pointer with any color.

The new settings are available in the “Cursor & pointer” page, and if the color isn’t listed, you can click the Pick a custom pointer color button to select the color that you want to use.

Mouse pointer color settings on Windows 10 version 1903
Mouse pointer color settings on Windows 10 version 1903

These are the best hidden features you’ll find with version 1903 for Windows 10. Which feature do you find the most interesting? Let us know in the comments.

Update May 21, 2019: This guide was originally published in February 2019, and it’s been updated in May 2019.