Windows 10 – The latest iteration.
For those that are unaware, Microsoft that Windows 10 would be the final version of Windows. Rather then issuing a fresh release every 3 years, as per their old product cycle, Microsoft will concentrate on making Windows 10 more stable via heavy updates. These updates are also pushing closer to integrating the Linux open source software, meaning higher support from developers and more bespoke features. This could enable Microsoft to carry on dominating for the next 10 + years.
The next iteration of Windows 10, known as the ‘May 2019 update’ has been rolled out to users on the Windows Insider Program for testing for a while, and should soon start dripping out to the masses.
Here are some key features that the update brings;
- Android Mirroring: The October 2018 update brought with it an app called Your Phone, which allowed Android phones to link with your PC. This allows you to send & receive SMS messages, and view your photo library directly from your desktop. This feature has now been developed further in the May 2019 update to allow PC’s that support Bluetooth LE, to implement screen mirroring and the running of apps in a separate window on your desktop. Unfortunately, this feature is currently limited to the most recent Samsung Models, but this will grow. Apple users will not be able to take advantage of this feature due to their security protocols.
- Sand boxing: For those that understand it, and know how to use it, this is probably the best new feature. Simply put, it enables you to test un-trusted downloads or other suspicious items in a safe environment. When you run Windows Sandbox from the start menu, it uses a Hyper-V subsystem to creates a virtual copy of your operating system, presenting you with a clean Windows 10 desktop. You can now drag and drop files into this environment, to examine and launch them without harming your existing system setup. Once you close the Sandbox window, everything is erased and returned to normal. This feature will be available to Professional, Education and Enterprise editions (64bit).
- Updates: You will now have more control over the way that your system updates, so you’re your system does not do/request a sudden reset in the middle of that important piece of work. Previous updates to the Windows system have set options so that Windows will only update during pre-set hours and allows of many updates to download and update in the background. With the 2019 release, you will receive notifications of when updates are available, and you can then download them when it is suitable. Security updates will automatically download and install as and when they are released. Home users can also postpone updates for as much as a week. The new version of Windows will also reserve disk space, so that you will never need to free up storage space to run updates again – but it does mean that you will have less use-able disk space.
- Lite: This is not the locked down version of Windows known as Windows 10S or a new iteration of Windows RT. It is a version of Windows 10 designed for the emerging area of fold-able/hinged devices such as the concept dual-screen Courier concept displayed in 2008. It will provide a stripped down, ‘always-on’ version of Windows that would be ideal for tablets and provide competition to Chrome OS and iOS Tablet Edition. At this stage, no more information has been confirmed.
- Visual Refresh with Light mode: You no longer have to be on the Darkside. Although only a minor change, tweaks have been made to translucency and shading. There is also the option of a ‘True’ light mode. In the colour settings, you can now choose Light and Windows will display a light grey theme, including the dark task-bar that we have grown used too. A custom mode also allows for the personalising of various elements. The way data is displayed, in association with file access, now mirrors the Apple systems, so rather than displaying a date and time, it will state ‘last accessed 4 hours ago’ or similar. There are brightness sliders in the Action Centre and a microphone pops up in the notification centre to alert you when a program is accessing your microphone.
- Speed Increase: The discovery of Meltdown and Spectre CPU security vulnerabilities forced Microsoft to issue some urgent update which affected system performance. The May 2019 update should restore performance back to that of around 18 months ago.
- Cortana gets a new home: The Cortana Icon has now been replaced with a magnifying glass to represent search, with Cortana receiving its own dedicated icon to launch the voice activated assistant.
- Linux file Access: If you are a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) user, you can now browse and edit Linux files without them becoming lost or corrupted. All the directories are easily accessible via Windows Explorer. You can also run commands as other users, and import/export commands from the command line, setting up multiple environments for test and development.