When it comes to the PC market, Microsoft Windows rules the roost by a long distance as the entire competition seems to be more or less a one-horse race. With enhanced security and seamless performance, Windows’ latest iteration Windows 10 has ticked off most essential boxes, becoming arguably the first choice for both common users and professionals. In an order to maintain its supremacy, Microsoft regularly releases new features for Windows 10. Sadly, most regular Windows 10 users are not familiar with those features. That’s why, to help our readers, we are going to list out 15 new Windows 10 features that you should know in 2019.
Best New Windows 10 Features You Should Use in 2019
Microsoft updates Windows 10 roughly twice a year. Even though the latest Windows 10 May 2019 update, which happens to be version 1903, is primarily focused on performance improvements and minor refinements, there are quite a few features that are worth taking note of. So, let’s check out what the latest version of Windows 10 has in store for you!
1. Windows Sandbox
Specifically aimed at Pro or Enterprise users, Windows Sandbox is a worthy addition to the Windows 10. What makes it super handy is the ability to let you test software securely in a completely isolated environment even without setting up a time-consuming virtual machine. With the help of XML configuration files, you can disable network access and even be able to expose specific folders from your main Windows system. Moreover, when you close out Sandbox, all the data is automatically wiped out. If you often find yourself dealing with some random or suspicious software, Sandbox would surely become your favorite. That said, note that this feature is only available for Windows 10 Pro users and not Windows 10 Home users.
To use Windows Sandbox, ensure that your computer supports hardware virtualization. The PC must have AMD64 architecture, 4GB of RAM (8GB is recommended) as well as 1GB of HDD space. Also, make sure your device has a minimum of 2 processor cores ( though 4 cores with hyperthreading are preferred). To enable Windows Sandbox, open “Start” and Search for “Turn Windows features on or off”. Then, you need to click the top result to get started with the Windows Features experience. Next, check the “Windows Sandbox” option and click on “OK”. Finally, click on the “Restart now” button. Up next, go through a simple set-up and then start testing any software in a safe environment.
2. Cortana and Search Bar Have Now Been Separated
Microsoft had integrated Cortana with the Search Bar to offer more seamless search results. Unfortunately, the implementation didn’t go down well with many users ( me included) as it seemed to mess up the whole thing and made it slower. Thankfully, Microsoft has now separated the core Windows 10 search and Cortana. Now, when you start typing in the Search Bar, you will see files/applications on your computer and web results. And, Cortana will be responsible for nothing more than voice searches, which appears to be a well-timed change.
3. Enhanced PC Search
One of my favorite features of the latest Windows 10 update is Enhanced searching. At times, I feel the need to search the entire system and not just file libraries and desktop, especially when looking for a file that seems to be missing. With the introduction of Enhanced search, I can search the entire PC and quickly track down something that’s not available at the usual places. If you are also in the same boat, chances are you may appreciate this new feature as well.
To enable Enhanced searching, launch Settings -> Search Windows -> Searching Windows -> Enhanced (It’s under Find My Files section).
4. Pause Security Updates and Opt Out of Major Updates
Windows 10 Pro already had the option to pause security updates. With the May 2019 update, Microsoft has decided to roll it out in Windows 10 Home as well. Now, users can pause security updates for seven days up to five times. Moreover, the latest update also allows Windows users to skip major updates (18 months) as long as the operating system has the support for security updates.
If you want to delay the download and installation of a new Windows update, open Setting -> Update & Security -> Windows Update -> Advanced options. Now, turn on the toggle for Pause Updates.
5. All-New Light Theme
While Windows 10’s Dark Theme may still be one of the most sought-after features of Windows 10, the 1903 update has introduced an all-new light theme that gives Windows a clean look and feel. To activate this theme, click on the Start menu and choose Settings. Now, click on Personalization and select Colors. Under the “Choose your color” section, select the Light theme, Dark, or Custom.
Tip: If you want to have the pie of both dark and light themes, choose Custom. Then, select separate options for apps and windows mode. It will let you set apps in light mode and adorn Windows with the nice-looking dark theme.
6. Uninstall More Default Apps
As much as I have liked using Windows for years, I have never come to terms with the bloatware that eats into plenty of storage space. With the Windows 10 May 2019 update, Microsoft has fulfilled my long wish to a great extent. And I guess, a lot of Windows users are also going to appreciate the option to uninstall many default apps including 3D Viewer, Calculator, Mail, Calendar, Movies & TV, Paint 3D, Snip & Sketch, Sticky Notes, and Voice Recorder.
7. Stream Spotify Music Right from Game Bar
Imagine a situation where you are too engrossed with gaming to even spare a few moments to fine-tune your music. Wouldn’t you find it more convenient had there been an option to control your Spotify music right from Game Bar? Well, that’s exactly what the Windows 1903 update has brought to you. So, from now onwards, you can continue to bash the game boss or decimate your opponents without having to put your favorite music on the back burner. To get started, click on the “menu button” and choose “Spotify”. After that, sign into your Spotify account and then get the most out of Spotify widget to play music and control playback.
8. Log in Without a Password
Who wants to remember passwords and enter them time and time again? Though some of the best password managers do make the sign in process smooth sailing, there is always a desire to embrace a life without passwords. If my own experience holds true, I think no one enjoys dealing with passwords. Windows 10 has offered a better way to let users log in without a password. Now, users can create Microsoft account using their phone number and then use Windows Hello for quick authentication.
9. Sync Copied Items Between PCs
“Cloud Clipboard” has got a couple of pretty neat improvements. You can now save up to 26 most recent items you copied to the history. You can access these items using Windows + V keyboard shortcuts. More significantly, it also lets you sync the copied items to other PCs connected with the same Microsoft account. To make the most of this useful feature, head over Settings -> System -> Clipboard. Now, ensure that the options for Clipboard history and Sync across devices are ideally configured.
10. Smarter Task Manager
Though “Task Manager” has always been a highly efficient tool for keeping a track of what’s happening on your PC and nabbing the culprits that may make your computer sluggish, it’s become even smarter now. The latest Windows 10 update lets you set up the default tab when you launch Task Manager. Additionally, you can also check out whether an app supports DPI settings or not.
11. Reserved Storage
How often have you gone for a software update, only to realize that your system doesn’t have enough space to get the update? Well, it has happened to many of us at some point or the other. But with Windows 1903 update, such an incident is less likely to happen as the operating system will automatically reserve around 7GB of drive space for updates, caches, and temporary files.
To find out how much storage the Windows has reserved on your PC, head over to Settings -> System -> Storage -> Show More Categories -> System & Reserved. Now, check out the storage under the Reserved storage section.
12. Automatic Focus Assist
Times when you are creating big projects or designing something amazing, “Focus Assist” becomes really important Now, it’s become even more helpful in letting you fully concentrate on your task by putting random notifications or alerts at bay. To put this feature into action, open Settings -> System -> Focus assist. Under Automatic rules, make sure the switch for When I’m using an app in full screen mode is turned on. Going forward, whenever you open an app in full screen, Focus Assist will turn on automatically, thereby putting all the distractions away.
13. Clock Sync
Granted, Clock sync may not be a big deal for many. But believe me, I have wanted to have an instantaneous option to correct the time on a PC, which I haven’t used for a while. And guess what? The newest Window update has offered a much better way to set the time on a PC. Now, when you head over to Settings ->Time & Language, you will see the last synchronized time. Besides, there will also be an option called “Sync now”. Click on it and the right time will be set!
14. Install Fonts Faster
Until now, when you right-clicked on a font file in File Explorer and selected Install, you had to enter an admin credential and the font would be installed for all users. Long story short, the process wasn’t straightforward at all. But with the arrival of the latest Windows version, you will just need to drag the font file from Explorer to the Settings -> Font page and it will install it right away.
15. Unpin Group from Start
Despite being an iconic feature of Windows for several years, the Start menu never had a pristine and clutter-free appearance. However, things seem to have changed for the better. The default Start menu now sports a single column and looks a lot cleaner than ever before. Better yet, you will now be able to unpin default group of tiles more conveniently. Simply right click on the group of tiles and choose “Unpin Group From Start”. It’s a much better implementation than getting rid of each unnecessary tile one by one, isn’t it?
Bonus: Smart Touch Keyboard
If you are using Windows tablets, the new predictive feature can go a long way in accelerating your typing on the touch keyboard. Based on your typing style, it will automatically adjust the hit target for the keys and slightly increase the key size of the ones you are likely to touch. Thus, you will be able to type both faster and more conveniently. Having used Windows phone back in the day, I can tell, for sure, that it’s a pretty good take and can play a vital role in making typing more convenient.
Make the Most of All-New Windows 10 Features
Rather than just adding a plethora of new features, Microsoft has put more emphasis on enhancing performance and boosting the security of Windows 10. Though I’m always up for cool features, what I appreciate more is the improved and seamless performance as it plays a significant role in bolstering productivity. What about you? What’s your take on the latest version (1903) of Windows 10? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below.