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New features: Windows 10 May 2020 update

Windows 10

Despite the fact that Windows 10 was released in 2015, it has received a steady stream of updates since then.

Microsoft adds new features to its software twice a year, in addition to monthly security patches and the occasional bug fix. With the last update in November 2019, a new version is expected, and the company has confirmed that it is ready for release. 

With members of the Windows Insider Program ready to test the software imminently, many of the new features have already been revealed to some degree. Here is everything you need to know about the Windows 10 May 2020 update, known as 20H1.

When will the Windows 10 update be released?

Given the name, we can be almost certain that the update will be available sometime in May 2020. 

Windows 10 updates are now adhering to the monthly security update schedule, which is released on what’s known as “Patch Tuesday.” 

This normally refers to the second Tuesday of each month, which means that May 12 would be a logical release date. However, Windows Latest is reporting that this will be delayed, discovering a possible bug in the latest version of the software.

Microsoft will make sure this issue is patched before releasing it to consumers, meaning May 28 is a more likely release date. The company has not confirmed a release date at any time, so this is only an estimate.

What new updates will we see in the Windows 10 update?

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The 20H1 update will be modest by Microsoft standards, but several key updates are still planned for the user experience.

Cortana review

It has lagged behind Google and Alexa assistants in recent years, and even Microsoft has confirmed that Cortana is no longer competing to be the best virtual assistant. 

With that in mind, it was removed from the start menu in the May 2019 update. However, Cortana remains an important part of the Windows 10 experience, and the May 2020 update will offer its services in a separate app. 

However, as Microsoft reported in an official blog post, Cortana will also get much smarter. Some of the more notable improvements include integration with more Microsoft applications and a clear emphasis on productivity. 

Cortana can still tell a joke or answer trivia using Bing, but its most useful features will come from links to Calendar, To-Do, and Microsoft Office applications. 

As was the case with the mobile app, Cortana will also be much more conversational. You’ll be able to type commands in addition to using your voice, while the window can be moved around the screen to suit your workflow. 

File Explorer Updated

File Explorer is also slated for a long-overdue review, though that’s not expected in the May update. Instead, we will have some notable changes. The corners of the window have been rounded and the search function has been improved. 

There have also been many glitches in the past few months, which Microsoft will attempt to fix to make the user experience more intuitive. 

Switch to tablet mode

With Microsoft’s own Surface line at the fore when it comes to 2-in-1 laptops, it’s perhaps understandable that Windows 10 continues to tweak its tablet mode. 

The update will make it less intrusive, no longer asking you to switch to a tablet as soon as you unplug a keyboard. Instead, it will offer a more intuitive touch experience, with more spaced icons and an easier-to-touch version of File Explorer.

The return of PowerToys

This is one for the Windows fans of the Olympics. Power Toys was last seen in Windows 95, and allows users to streamline their work with a series of tools and keyboard shortcuts. 

These include the ability to rename files and resize images en masse, along with a number of additional keyboard shortcuts. If applied correctly, they can be a great time saver. 

What devices will the Windows 10 update be available on?

If your PC or laptop already has Windows 10, chances are the May update will be available to you. 

Microsoft has not yet confirmed this, but says on its website that “Windows 10 is designed to offer updates for the life of the device.”

The company would normally announce the end of device support well in advance of a major release, so we don’t expect compatibility to change compared to the November 2019 update. 

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