This week, Microsoft officially rolled out the Windows 10 May 2019 Update to the world. However, due to some recurring issues over the last couple of updates, the company is thankfully taking a very measured approach this time. An approach which will hopefully mitigate some of the update issues that always seem to arise when a major system update comes to software that runs under an almost infinite number of configurations.

With the May 2019 update comes new features, alongside with the usual updates to Windows 10’s look and feel. Today we’ll be going through some of the more important updates in more detail. Windows 10 is now almost four years old though, so the days of feature updates packing in a large number of new ideas are mostly behind us. With Microsoft still committing to updating Windows 10 twice per calendar year, likely everyone would be happy to see these updates be a bit smaller, a bit quicker to install, and a bit less jarring on the other end. Luckily, Windows 10 May 2019 Update seems to fit the bill nicely. The update is quick, and the big changes are going to be mostly cosmetic for most people, although there are a couple of great additions with this rollout as well.

Officially the update is the May 2019 Update, which is as unambiguous as you can get, and hats off to Microsoft for continuing down the road of having to name their updates like they did with the Anniversary Update, the Creators Update, or the Fall Creators Update. May 2019 Update is a perfect name. Internally, this build continues down Microsoft’s path of a build number of the year and month, so the May 2019 Update is Windows 10 1903, meaning the build would have been more or less locked down by March, with only bug fixes after that. This naming scheme of course has the downside that they are going to run out of digits when the year 2100 rolls around, but I suppose they’ll cross that bridge when they get there.

Likely the biggest headline feature for this update is a refreshed look and feel, Microsoft is now offering a new Light theme, which compliments well with the already included dark theme. Although it may seem minor, keeping Windows looking fresh and modern is important, so it’s nice to see that attention is still being paid here. In addition, there’s some new iconography to go along with the new theme.

Once of the most interesting features for this update is Windows Sandbox, which is a Windows OS in a container for testing and running applications. This feature is not available on Windows 10 Home, so developers that think this might be useful will have to ensure they have at least Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 Version History
Version Version Number Release Date
Windows 10 Original Release 1507 July 29, 2015
November Update 1511 November 10, 2015
Anniversary Update 1607 August 2, 2016
Creators Update 1703 April 5, 2017
Fall Creators Update 1709 October 17, 2017
April 2018 Update 1803 April 30, 2018
October 2018 Update 1809 October 2, 2018
May 2019 Update 1903 May 21, 2019

Microsoft is also walking back on a few things they’ve done which were done with good intentions, but not executed well enough to not cause pain with users. Cortana is no longer tied to the Windows 10 search. Updates can now be paused for up to seven days even for Windows 10 Home users, and more default applications can be uninstalled.

Let’s dig in.

Light Theme and Start Menu Changes
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  • Drazick - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    No, it is not the AV only.
    Again, have a look at Phoronix. They disable the AV and many other things before testing and still the IO and Filesystem of Windows is way slower than Linux.

    I think it even gets funnier as VM of Windows on Linux has better IO / File System performance than Windows.
  • Ratman6161 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Are you sure you aren't actually encountering a hardware limitation? I.e. filling up the drive's SLC cache so it reverts back to its native performance? this is particularly problematic on cheap drives and especially on cheap drives that are approaching full.
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    No, Phoronx, a well respected blogger, has pointed out these differences often.
  • CheapSushi - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    For example Phoronix just recently posted: "Linux Still Yields Better Multi-Threaded Performance On AMD Threadripper Against Windows 10 May 2019 Update"
  • USGroup1 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    More modular Windows <> Reducing memory consumption
  • mikeztm - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Linux file system is a mess. ZFS have license issue and BRTFS is way not finished.

    Even crappy APFS has better position now.
  • Gigaplex - Sunday, May 26, 2019 - link

    ZFS is a Unix file system, not a Linux one (though there is a port).
  • PeachNCream - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Instead of waiting around for Win10 to get more Linux-like capabilities, why not just use Linux? I do for pretty much everything I haven't gotten around to doing on a phone these days except for a couple of games for which I keep a Win10 laptop around.
  • Drazick - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Because there are many things I like about Windows:
    1. Visual Studio for Code Development and compilation (IDE).
    2. Adobe Photoshop.
    3. PortableApps stack.

    Windows is great.
    Microsoft just need to make it leaner and faster.
  • HStewart - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Agree on this - and think Microsoft should build a lean mode with minimal extra systems in that is completely configurable on reboot.

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