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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  • abufrejoval - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Perhaps it is because I was already an adult when the Personal Computer launched in 1981 and a programmer, who’d been using Fortran and Cobol before and trying to find out what BASIC on a PC could do for me.

    PCs were very expensive tools, about the same price as a brand-new premium car: I got myself lots of bleeding edge PCs over the decades, because they were the base of my career. Never bought a new car in my life.

    My PCs were and are my shop, my studio, my office. I depend on them, so I keep them in the best possible state: The notion that somebody else might be managing parts of that space, other than by a very conscious act of delegation, is anywhere from unacceptable to abhorrent.

    So imagine my horror, when I saw Candy Crush tiles flipping on the screen after upgrading a Windows 7 system: This is blasphemy, rape, war, ad-extortion!

    Classic Shell came to the rescue and eventually I learned how to tame even Windows 10 to the point where it wouldn’t phone home on every click or tock. Unfortunately, the wonderful, wonderful person who developed and maintained it for years, eventually changed priorities, but so far, it just continues to work as it should, giving a Windows 7 like experience to whatever Microsoft wrongly believed they could do better afterwards.

    I read reports lately, that you could actually hijack tiles on the start menu, because of a combination of an “Internet first” design and gross negligence by Microsoft…. Why does that not surprise me?

    Designing an “operating system” as a theme park is an Apple invention, and I only wish Steve Jobs were still alive to enforce nobody duplicating that nonsense on Personal Computers.

    The 1903 update gave me a scare, because it reported that an “administrative guideline” had blocked the Classic Shell reconfiguration. Now, who but me is the administrator on my Personal Computers and I certainly didn’t block Classic Shell from taking over!

    Re-ran the command in an Admin shell and that spooky message went away. But somehow I think that the 1909 release will finish off Classic Shell for once and forever… I don’t know what I’ll do, but Candy Crunch is enough of a threat to get out the big guns: Been testing Linux desktops since Linus started shaving and Proton is getting better: Yes, I do *also* game on my PCs. I even watch movies or “streams”.

    It still doesn’t mean I mistake them for Disney Land or that anyone but me should be God on them.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    That's a big wall of text to just say "I'm a stodgey pre-internet drama queen". :P You know you can uninstall pretty much anything on there. What games do you play... Solitaire? You can still download the classic solitaire that released in the early days of Windows, relax. I love old hardware as much as the next aging nerd (mostly consoles to be honest) but that doesn't mean I want them to go backwards. Windows 7 now feels downright old and clunky, if I want nostalgia I'll just install ReactOS. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    "drama queen", well that's a first.

    "wall of text": I use an original IBM PS/2 keyboard from March 1990 these days, a Steinway in a world of e-pianos or less: Had to replace the AT-style keyboards I really liked best, because I needed the curly braces for C/C++ and those were hard to come by on the AT keyboard in German.

    These keyboards did cost more than a good laptop these days, but they make text just roll off your fingers... Guess it shows and I sure couldn't do it with one of these newer and lesser variants or squinting and dabbling on a mobile screen.

    Uninstall: Why should I have to kill rats in a brand new house? Good thing the company is paying for the MSDN because if it was my bucks for the OS, I'd truly rant.

    Games: ARK Survial Evolved mostly, on a GTX 2080ti at 42" 4K screen using an 18-Core Xeon with 128GB of DDR4 ECC RAM: Really old style, I'll admit.

    Also Doom and testing both with Steam/Proton on CentOS and Ubuntu, but also via KVM GPU pass-through on a Window 10 VM with the Linux host.

    ReactOS is all wrong: Who would want an NT undercarriage, when Linux delivers so much more horsepower? It's the Windows applications that make Windows attractive as a platform, not the OS itself: That's a pile of crap, ever since David Cutler got sidelined.
    Reply
  • Agent Smith - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    There’s a huge difference between ‘posting a comment’ people will actually read and your version, ‘Post a Book’. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Started to run the update on the dozen or so Windows machines I have running, for work and for fun.

    A brand new Lenovo S730 i7 with 1TB of NVMe, took hours to go from 1803 to 1809, but only one hour to take the next step to 1903.

    But that's were things started going down hill: Most other machines just took a lot of time, certainly hours, to run the upgrade: Mind you, nothing around here still runs the OS on spinning rust, below quad logical cores or three full Gigahertz... yet, single threaded and painfully slow it went... if in fact it did: So far two systems failed somewhere beyond the 90% mark and went "much ado about nothing" or back to 1809.

    Couldn't tell you what kept them at that stage, because they really are rather similar, because I try to make that so (honestly, quite a few of them actualy started off as clones, because that works so well and so much faster these days. Turns out, that Microsoft itself has elevated cloning to the default installation method, but they like to take it s l o w l y).
    Reply
  • Korguz - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    " spinning rust " sorry.. but that is the dumbest term i have ever seen to refer to a mechanical hard drive.. Reply
  • Axiomatic - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    MSDN Sub here, I've used 1903 for about a week now and I really like it. Also being a gamer I can attest that 1903 has not introduced any issues for gaming that I know of. Reply
  • Kougar - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    I actually wanted to update, but it looks like my desktop isn't being offered the May 2019 update yet. Wish MS would actually notify users the specific reason(s) why major version updates are being withheld as this is becoming a common trend with my rigs. Reply
  • TheWereCat - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    just get the ms update tool? Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    They've actually got a pretty good known issues page now that would give you some insight as to what major bugs they may have encountered with certain hardware/configs that could lead to a blocking bug, and the status of them

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-i...

    But with that being said what you're experiencing is more than likely just the effect of a gradual rollout, which is noted at the top of that page as well. Try again in a few days, or as TheWereCat said get the Windows 10 Update Assistant.
    Reply

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