The latest feature update to Windows 10 will probably be called “The Windows 10 April 2019 Update”, and has a version number 1903. During its development it was coded named 19H1 and is due this spring (probably April). Compared to previous Windows 10 updates there are fewer major changes to the OS, but what changes there are really improve Windows 10. While there are many changes, I want to focus on my favourite improvements to the OS.
My favourite new feature in 19H1 is light mode. Window already had a dark mode but now there is a new light mode, which lifts the look of the OS. With light mode the start menu, task bar and notification centre all have the new light colour look. Light mode looks especially good in tablet mode. So now you have the choice between light and dark mode, I only wish you could have Windows change automatically between the modes depending on the time of day.
Search and Cortana
With 19H1 Microsoft have split Search and Cortana into their own dedicated experiences. Many Windows 10 users complained about having Cortana pop up when all they really wanted to do was search for a file or launch an app. Now Search shows frequently used apps and recent used files, web pages and apps. Cortana has been shunted off to is own app which I have to say is pretty basic and just for voice control.
Windows Mixed Reality
One of the biggest changes with this release is the many improvements to Windows Mixed Reality Microsoft’s virtual reality platform. Microsoft have changed the start menu, added the ability to run apps while in apps and run desktop / Win32 apps from Windows Mixed Reality.
New Start Menu
Microsoft have redesigned the start menu with a 3D layered look. It has a curved card style to the UI with the icons and text floating about the card.
New UI elements
There new elements that make it easier to grab and re-size objects and Windows as well as a new follow me icon that un-pins an object and it stays in your focus as you move around.
Win32 / Desktop apps in Windows Mixed Reality
A big change with this release is desktop / Win32 apps can now run in mixed reality. The feature is currently in beta and I could only get traditional desktop apps like Excel to work but Microsoft are continue to develop the feature. They work just like store apps and you can place them anywhere in your environment. So you could create a virtual office or development centre all within mixed reality.
Apps within immersive apps
When hit the Windows button in an immersive app it brings up the new style start menu where you can launch other apps. With the October 2018 update Microsoft created a new small menu which is brought up when you hit the Window button while in an imerssive app, in the menu you can go back the Cliff House to launch an app, take or photo or record a video. With the new option hitting the Windows button brings up the mixed reality start menu where you can launch another app, so you could have Twitter running while still in your immersive app.
All the changes Microsoft have made to Windows Mixed Reality make it much more productive and WMR looks better. It is great to see how Microsoft are improved Windows Mixed Reality with every release.
Windows Sandbox is a new virtual environment designed so you can run apps in isolation. It like having a virtual PC that resets each time you start it up. It is part of Windows 10 Pro / Enterprise and you do not need to create or download any Windows images.
Settings has had a number of changes, including a new settings start page, which shows the current system status. Microsoft has simplified the Windows Insider settings:
The Font page has changed; you can now drag and drop fonts into setting to install them.
There are many minor tweaks to the UI. There is a new brightness slider replacing the old brightness button:
Friendly Dates in File Explorer:
There is a new modern printing layout
Other changes included a blurred login screen, and an updated Cloud Clipboard
Reserved Storage Space
Even found you can’t complete a Windows 10 Upgrade due to lack of disk space? With Reserved Storage Space Windows will keep about 7GB of your devices storage so that Windows 10 can use it for updates in the future. This feature is only enabled on clean installs of the OS, or via a registry setting (see my guide).
There are many other changes to the OS, little things like you can now see which app is using your microphone. There is improved RAW image support, a new PIN experience and many others.
Microsoft actually have a complete list of changes if you want to delve deeper.
How do you get the Windows 10 1903 (19H1) Update
As with other Windows feature updates Microsoft will publish it via Windows Update once it is ready. Microsoft start by only offering only if your machine is able to run the update and then when you check for updates in Windows settings it will download and install the update. Then over time Microsoft make it an automatic update if your machine is compatible with it.
Now that 1903 is done, focus switches to 19H2, which will probably arrive October 2019. Microsoft have already released the first 20H1 built to Windows Insiders, We do not known that Microsoft’s plans are for the update yet.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.