UPDATE: The official name for the release is the Windows 10 May 2020 Update
Microsoft have just about completed development of the latest update to Windows 10 which will probably be called the Windows 10 April 2020 Update. During the development Microsoft’s internal name for the development was 20H1 and the version number is 2004 which indicates the release date of April 2020. In previous years Microsoft have used March as the date for the first half year updates eg 1903 but for the 20H1 update Microsoft have not used 2003 to avoid confusion with Windows Server 2003. I am not sure how people could mix up Windows 10 for 2020 with an old version OS from 2003 but Microsoft have aired on the side of caution!
The first build of 20H1 were released to Windows Insiders back in February 2019 so it has a longer development phase than previous updates. The reasoning behind this isn’t the update is packed with new features but that Microsoft changed their internal release timing to link in with Azure development.
So what is new in the Window 10 April 2020 Update?
Despite the amount of time spent on development there aren’t a massive amount of changes, but the changes Microsoft have included are effective and useful. Here are some of my top picks:
Microsoft’s focus on Cortana has changed since the launch of Window 10. Microsoft are going away from having Cortana as a rival to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and making Cortana a tool for productivity. So Cortana moves away from being a voice assistant to being a text based new app. You can type into the app and ask Cortana to check your calendar or compose an email. Gone are some of the trial features like “tell me a joke” and in come productivity tools like calendar and Microsoft Todo integration.
At the moment it US only which is disappointing, hopefully it will be available in more regions by the time this update is public.
With the removal of Cortana the search screen has been updated, many of changes have been introduced to the previous update of Windows 10 depending on your region and I like the look of the improved UI. Searching in Windows Explorer has been improved, it now has OneDrive including along with regular searches. Also the engine that indexes your system has been improved so it can detect when the system is busy so it can work during off peak times reducing it’s impact on the system.
More Kaomoji (●’◡’●)
Microsoft added Iadded kamoji to Windows in the 1903 update and in the latest update there are new kamoji’s. You can try it via the Windows and period key if that is your kind of thing!
Xbox game bar
For games the Xbox game bar has been improved with an FPS counter and achievement overlay.
Virtual desktop renaming
If you use virtual desktops you will like the new renaming feature. You can rename virtual desktops and call them whatever you want. I must admit I don’t use this feature but I know lots of people that do and I should probably give it a try.
The new cloud recovery feature enables you to reset your PC with files downloaded from Microsoft rather than the installation files stored on your local PC. Depending on your bandwidth downloading from the cloud can be faster than the PC having to re-assemble the installation files from your machine, also if you have corrupt media on your machine getting a fresh download is a better option. Check out my video of Cloud Recovery in action.
New tablet view for convertibles
Tablet mode has been pretty neglected in Windows 10 with Microsoft maybe focusing on Windows 10 X but in 20H1 there is a tweaked mode for convertible PCs. When you go into tablet mode there is increased spacing between the icons, a collapsed search box, File Explorer has been optimised for touch and there is an auto invoking touch keyboard when you enter a text field.
Disk type in task manager
In task manager it now shows you what kind of disks you have on your machines. It shows whether it’s an SSD drive or an old style spinning drive. Also shown is the temperature of your GPU (if you have one).
Improved optional features page
With the update Microsoft have improved the optional features page. You can select move than one feature to install, it provides you more information and its easier to navigate around.
New network status page
The network status page in Settings shows you whether your connected to the internet and how much data you have used. You can also see what applications are using the data and set a limit on the amount of data they can access.
When a notification arrives in Windows you can hover over it and click on the setting icon so you can adjust its settings. Microsoft have also redesign the layout of the notification window.
WSL 2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2) is is a big step forward from WSL 1. It uses a real Linux kernel which has improved performance and improved compatibility over WSL1 and has full system call compatibly. If you want to try WSL 2 checkout my video of how to install WSL 2 on Window 10.
You now have the option to throttle bandwidth as an absolute value so you can limit how much bandwidth gets users for app and system updates.
Also in this release is improved Bluetooth pairing, Windows Hello PIN in safe mode, control over restarting apps and Calculator is always on top. The Language setting has been improved so it’s simpler to see your setup and how to change them.
Windows Sandbox now supports the microphone, audio devices and some new shortcut keys. I am sure there are more that I have missed so I will update the post when you let me know!
In this video I look at the changes to Windows 10 in the April 2020 Update: