Over the past week, Microsoft has been rolling out its latest edition of Windows 10 -- one of the most popular operating systems (OS) on the planet. As part of its normal upgrade cycle, Microsoft releases frequent updates to the OS that touch on everything from security, to the interface, and even ease of use. Now, the newest Windows 10 update promises to help users manage (and pause) future updates more efficiently -- ditching the mandatory update model that's existed since the platform's release.
We've touched on the risks that come with updating to the newest version of Windows. But for those who are interested or those who want to stay current, the latest edition offers some major changes that make an already solid operating system even more easy to use and master.
Windows is constantly evolving, but are these new features worth upgrading for in spite of early-release glitches and bugs? We'll break down the changes for you, as well as our take on whether you should make the jump.
What's new in Windows 10
The Windows 10 May 2019 update (also known as Windows 10 version 1903) has been making itself available to users via the update panel in settings. If your device is set for automatic updates, this new system should install itself per your scheduled update times. Otherwise, it's as simple as visiting Settings by clicking on the Windows/Start icon, then Update & Security, then Windows Update.
Here are some of the features found in the update:
- Light Mode: Version 1903 contains a brighter, cleaner aesthetic in its so-called "light mode," which hearkens back to the old-days of grey taskbars in Windows 95 through 2000. This time, however, everything is rendered in high definition, making it easy to read and smooth to behold. If you prefer the darkness, you can switch back to dark mode in settings.
- New search: For those who are tired of Microsoft's incessant "Cortana" assistant popping up every time you almost click on the start menu, good news: Cortana and search are now separated. The search box is now its own entity, with space to type your queries without turning your microphone on. In case you miss Cortana at all, for some reason, you can access her function by clicking on the button to the right of the search bar.
- Biometrics: Expect this feature to play a bigger role going forward. The new facial recognition features of Windows Hello can now be used as a means to log in to websites or access your passwords. As the World Wide Web Consortium adopts more biometric security features on websites, you can be sure that Microsoft will be ready on the cutting edge.
- Remove built-in applications: Microsoft now gives you the ability to remove a good deal of bundled applications like Paint 3D, Calendar, and Sticky Notes. If you prefer your system starting cleaner, this might be appealing for you.
- Change cursor: If you are visually impaired or have trouble with losing your cursor on the screen, Microsoft gives you the option to adjust its color and size for easy viewing. This is supremely important for people who rely on Windows daily but get stumped at navigating their system.
- Updates: This is the single most important part of the latest version of Windows: how the system handles updates. We've previously reported about issues that some early-adopters have had with version 1903, but Microsoft appears to have been listening to feedback. Not only are you able to pause automatic updates at your convenience, but the system actively filters, blocks, and removes updates that are problematic -- preventing users from downloading potentially faulty software. Not bad, Microsoft. Not bad at all.
- Security settings: Windows now allows you to enable what's called "Tamper Protection," which locks down and encrypts the security settings of your operating system (such as virus protection, firewall, and network security.) This makes it so malware can't change your defense settings without your permission -- or at all for that matter.
Is it worth upgrading to version 1903?
While we've advised users to wait on updating due to reports of malfunctioning software, the new update adjustments by Microsoft have given us room for pause. The fact that Windows is automatically able to remove flagged updates from your queue is a game changer and a feature that will help many people avoid breaking their systems going forward.
While it can't be ignored that Microsoft has had multiple high-profile quality control issues in the past, taking accountability for its own mistakes is a commendable step. By blocking and removing bad updates, users won't be forced to download software that prevents them from working or doing the things they love online. That, alone, makes this update worth downloading.
That being said, continue to use caution. Make sure your data is properly backed up and saved in the event of a crash or worse. Alternatively, if you still aren't 100% on board, it might be worth waiting a little bit longer to see what users are saying about version 1903.
Now that it's out of beta and in the hands of the public, you can expect any major flaws to be picked apart on social media in short order -- something that's sure to keep Microsoft on its toes until the next update comes around.
Microsoft releases Windows emergency security patch to combat fast-spreading malware
Updating your operating system can be a major pain in the neck. This time, however, you might want to look into fixing your system. A major security threat has been identified by Microsoft, one that potentially targets Windows computers with out-of-date software. This vulnerability can spell disaster for personal data and, if left untouched, could spread malware rapidly across the internet.