Windows 10 version 2003, 20H1 update
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Windows 10 version 2003 (20H1) spring 2020 update: All the new features and changes

UPDATED 7/11: Windows 10 version 2003 (20H1) is expected to rollout during spring 2020, and here are all the new features and changes that Microsoft has added to the new version thus far.

Windows 10 version 2003 will be the ninth major refresh since the original release that Microsoft is planning to release sometime in spring 2020 with new features and improvements. 

Also, codenamed “20H1,” this will be the first of two developments coming in 2020, and while we’re still a month away from the final release, thanks to the previews available in the Windows Insider Program, we’re now slowly starting to see the changes that will be available with this new update.

In this guide, we’ll highlight the new features and improvements planned for version 2003 as they appear in each test preview. (It’s unclear if the Microsoft will use the “May 2020 Update,” “April 2020 Update,” or another name for this feature update.)

What happened with Windows 10 19H2? According to the company, the 19H2 update is in the works, but some of the features planned for the 20H1 update need a longer leap time, which is the reason why we’re seeing previews of the next year feature update so early.

Info: This guide will get 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 be missing. If this is the case, you can check this section with the latest updates.

What’s new with desktop experience on Windows 10 20H1

Start menu

Beginning with the 20H1 update, when opening the Start menu, you’ll notice a new list called “Start typing to search” with quick access to search for online results, apps, and documents, which should make it clear that users can simply start typing to search without the need to actually open the Search experience from the taskbar.

Start typing to search options on Windows 10 20H1
Start typing to search options on Windows 10 20H1

Also, the “Start typing to search” title sometimes changes to “Search for,” which is a different title aimed to lure users to select a search type from the list.

Taskbar 

If you use the Time & date flyout in the taskbar to view upcoming events, with this new version, you’ll also find a new option to to create quick calendar events with time, location, and more, without the need to open the Calendar app.

Quick event option taskbar on Windows 10 20H1
Quick event option taskbar on Windows 10 20H1

File Explorer

Starting with Windows 10 version 2003, the search box in File Explorer is now controlled by Windows Search. This also means that the search box in File Explorer will integrate with OneDrive content online, just like when using search from the taskbar.

File Explorer search on Windows 10 build 18894
File Explorer search on Windows 10 version 2003

Also, the File Explorer app has been updated with a drop-down list with your search history when you click the search box (or when using the CTRL + E shortcut to set focus to it). And the search experience has been updated to be dark when using the dark system mode.

Task Manager

In this update, you’ll even find an updated Task Manager “Performance” tab, which now shows the drive type (for example, SSD), which should come in handy on devices with multiple hard drives.

Task Manager with drive type in the Performance tab
Task Manager with drive type in the Performance tab

Action center

Windows 10 20H1 also includes new refinements for the notification settings. For example, now Notification toast now include an inline option to turn off notifications for that app or open the app’s notification settings.

Toast notifications settings on WIndows 10 20H1
Toast notifications settings on WIndows 10 20H1

A new direct link has been added at the top of the Action Center to manage notifications. (In order to accommodate this change, Windows 10 moved the “no notifications” text down to the middle of the Action Center.)

Notifications in Action center on WIndows 10 20H1
Notifications in Action center on WIndows 10 20H1

Windows Ink Workspace

In addition, this new 20H1 update, when opening the Windows Ink Workspace, you’ll notice a new interface, which is significantly smaller, and Windows 10 is now converging the whiteboarding experiences with a new direct link to the Microsoft Whiteboard app.

Windows Ink Workspace for Windows 10 20H1
Windows Ink Workspace for Windows 10 20H1

What’s new with Settings experience on Windows 10 20H1

Sounds

Starting with version 2003, the App Volume and devices preferences in the Settings app is getting interface tweaks to make the experience a little more usable.

App volume and device preferences on Windows 10 20H1
App volume and device preferences on Windows 10 20H1

Notifications & actions

In the Notifications & actions page, Windows 10 is adding some new changes, including an option to mute all notifications with a new top-level option in “Notifications” section, and you can now sort the list by which apps most recently sent notifications to quickly find the apps and change its settings.

Notification sorting on Windows 10 20H1
Notification sorting on Windows 10 20H1

In the app’s notification settings, you’ll find pictures to help understand the impact of the settings.

Notification settings on Windows 10 20H1
Notification settings on Windows 10 20H1

Sign-in options

In the Sign-in options settings page, Windows 10 is introducing a new Make your device passwordless option, which when enabled will switch your Microsoft accounts (those configured on your device) to modern authentication with Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or PIN.

Passwordless option on Windows 10 20H1
Passwordless option on Windows 10 20H1

Language

Starting with this new version, the Language settings page is getting revamped to make it easier to understand your current settings.

In the page, you’ll now see an overview section lets you quickly know which languages are configured as default for their Windows display, Apps & websites, Regional format, Keyboard, and Speech.

Furthermore, each icon is actionable, which means that if something doesn’t look correct, you can click the settings to change it.

Language settings on Windows 10 20H1
Language settings on Windows 10 20H1

Also, when installing a new language, you’ll notice that features are a bit clear to understand, and you can hover over each feature to get a tooltip that will appear with a description.

Language install improvements with tooltip on Windows 10 20H1
Language install improvements with tooltip on Windows 10 20H1

Delivery Optimization

After installing the 20H1 update, you’ll also notice that the Delivery Optimization settings page now includes new settings to throttle the bandwidth as an absolute value. You can set this separately for Foreground downloads or background downloads.

Delivery Optimization for Windows 10 20H1
Delivery Optimization for Windows 10 20H1

Narrator

The 20H1 update for Windows 10 also introduces Narrator improvements, including:

  • Table reading: Narrator is now more efficient when reading tables. Only the deltas are read when navigating. Entering and exiting tables is also less verbose.
  • Web page summary: There’s a new command in Narrator to give a webpage summary (Narrator + S).
  • Data Table Reading Improvements: Narrator is now able to read the header data first, followed by the cell data, followed by the row and column position for that particular cell. In addition, it only reads the headers when the headers have changed allowing you to focus on the content of the cell.
  • Search: Narrator search mode will now reset scoping to all elements each time it is opened.

Also, the Narrator will now automatically start reading web pages and emails. When the feature detects a webpage or email, it’ll start reading at the main landmark, or will fall back to a reasonable paragraph. And the assistive technology will now start automatically reading emails when they are opened in Outlook and the inbox Mail applications.

Magnifier

Magnifier can now keep the text cursor in the center of the screen making it easier and smoother to type. (Centered on the screen is on by default and can be changed in the Magnifier settings.) 

Also, the Magnifier now includes dark theme support has been added in addition to text sizing options.

Magnifier dark theme on Windows 10 20H1
Magnifier dark theme on Windows 10 20H1

Eye Control

Starting with Windows 10 20H1, Eye Control (the feature that helps users with disability to control their device with their eyes) introduces several new features:

Drag-and-drop

You can now perform drag-and-drop with Eye Control. When the feature is enabled from the settings screen, the precise mouse control tool now allows mouse drag operations, as well as the ability to combine clicks and drags with Shift and Ctrl modifier keys.

Pause

Selecting the pause button now hides the launchpad. When dismissed, the launchpad reappears when you briefly close your eyes or look away from the screen. Also, it allows eye gaze enabled applications to be used without triggering Eye Control features.

Switch support

Using the dwell method now allows perform a switch method. In this method, dwell is used to select the target, but clicking a button is done with switch. Currently switches on joysticks, or devices emulating joysticks, are supported.

System

Developers can now create custom gaze enabled applications using the open source Gaze Interaction Library in the Windows Community Toolkit.

Settings

Eye Control settings page has been updated. Some of the changes include enabling some of the new features and more fine control of the numeric values that change how responsive the system is to eye movements.

Eye Control settings on Windows 10 20H1
Eye Control settings on Windows 10 20H1

What’s new with input experience on Windows 10 20H1

SwiftKey

Microsoft SwiftKey technology that gives you more accurate autocorrections and predictions by learning your writing behavior using the touch and hardware keyboard is expanding to 39 additional languages.

Dictation

Microsoft dictation technology is expanding to 12 additional languages.

Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME)

If you write in Japanese, this new version of Windows 10 ships with an updated IME experience, which is more secure, more stable, and improves game compatibility. 

In the case that you type in Chinese, the operating system introduces new versions of the Chinese Simplified IMEs (Pinyin and Wubi), as well as the Chinese Traditional IMEs (Bopomofo, ChangJie and Quick).

Microsoft has improved the security and reliability of the experience. Starting with the 20H1 update, you’ll also notice a cleaner interface for the candidate window and settings pages. (The new settings of the Microsoft Input Method Editors are available within the Settings app.)

Also, Windows 10 adds a tip to the Bopomofo IME settings that Ctrl + Space can be used for toggling conversation mode, and updates the Chinese Pinyin IME settings to now refer to Default mode, rather than Input mode. 

What’s new with system experience on Windows 10 20H1

The out-of-box experience (OOBE) now includes a lock icon for private networks.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

Starting with version 2003, Windows 10 ships with Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, which is a new version of the feature that runs ELF64 Linux binaries.

This new architecture uses a real Linux kernel, and as a result it changes the way that Linux binaries interact with Windows 10 and the hardware while maintaining the same experience like in the previous version.

Microsoft says that this new version delivers a much faster file system performance and full system call compatibility, which lets you run more applications like Docker.

You can learn more about WSL version 2 in this Microsoft website.

Searching Windows

In this new version, to improve system performance while compiling and syncing large code bases in the default indexed location, Windows 10 is updating the indexing behavior to exclude common developer folders, such as .git, .hg, .svn, .Nuget, and more by default.

Sync settings engine

Starting with build 18932, Microsoft begins the upgrade for the settings sync engine to a better and more reliable engine, and as a result, this feature may not work as expected until the changes are fully made in the cloud.

What’s new with apps experience on Windows 10 20H1

Notepad

Starting with version 2003, Notepad  introduces the ability to restore unsaved content after installing an update.

Feedback Hub

Windows 10 20H1 also ships with an updated version of the Feedback Hub app with a new feature called “Find similar feedback.” The new feature looks at your feedback for similar existing feedback as you type.

Feedback Hub similar feedback feature
Feedback Hub similar feedback feature

If there’s a similar feedback, you can add your comment to existing feedback, or you can create a new one.

Editor’s note: This guide includes features and improvements that appeared until Windows 10 build 18936. 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 April 15, 2019, and last updated on July 11, 2019.)