Outside of the weekly security patches and minor updates that are released each Tuesday, Microsoft releases larger feature updates to Windows 10 twice a year—each spring and fall. This spring’s update, which Microsoft calls the May 2019 Update (version 1903) now widely available. This release was slightly delayed for more extensive testing due to recent issues with these feature releases.
So what’s new?
Though the list of changes is long, there are only a few things we see as improving the Windows experience or overall security:
- Removable Apps – Windows will (unfortunately) always ship with many built-in apps that you won’t use, but in this version, many more of them will be easily removable. This list includes rarely used programs like 3D Viewer, Groove Music, and Voice Recorder.
- Search and Cortana – These two services have been separated. Now, search will be snappier and more tied directly to the files on your device and your installed apps, rather than also connecting to Microsoft’s virtual assistant. If you use Cortana, it can now be activated by a button to the right of the search bar.
- Update Improvements – Feature Updates, which are those published each spring and fall, will now be presented and installed separately from all other security and stability updates. This allows users better control and understanding of how and when these major updates are applied.
How should my business handle these releases?
As we have noted in the past and as evidenced by the delays in these releases, feature updates have serious potential to cause problems. EVAN recommends delaying their installation by configuring your Windows Update settings to best fit your office environment and to wait several weeks to install major updates. This allows time for the early issues to be corrected.
These instructions apply to versions 1709, 1803, and 1809:
- Click and type “Windows Update”
- Click “Advanced options”
- Select a “Choose when updates are installed” option:
- Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) – Only recommended for small offices with modern hardware (see #4).
- Semi-Annual Channel – Recommended for larger businesses and any that have no immediate need for the improved features. This will automatically delay these feature updates for about three months.
- If you select “Targeted” above, we recommend setting the delay option to 21 days. This will provide Window’s newest features quickly while avoiding issues that are typically discovered immediately after major update releases.
These changes will not prevent you from receiving weekly security and device driver updates.
Please contact us if you need any further explanation or assistance configuring these settings. If you would like immediate access to the newest features, you can visit Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update site to force an immediate upgrade.