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What to expect in the Windows 10 May update

Depending on which side of the transaction you sit, the annual Microsoft Windows 10 update is either an IT support nightmare or seamless transition between versions. Well it’s that time again as Microsoft has released the May Update to the world. Some businesses will update right away while others will wait to see how it works. Either way, let’s have a look at what’s in store.

As IT support experts, New Jersey Computer Help would not recommend updating your business machines to this new version of Windows 10 just yet. After the last couple of releases and everything that went wrong, we think it sensible to wait a week or two to make sure this release works properly before risking your productivity on the unknown.

Windows 10 May update key features

The Windows 10 May update is all about refining the experience, speeding things up and making what we have more usable and more palatable. There are no huge new features or tools to play around with. It’s more a bunch of fixes and improvements than a new suite of tools.

That’s fine with us. After the October Update debacle, our IT support team could do with a rest. And as one of the new elements in the Windows 10 May update is Spectre speed improvements, everyone should be working faster soon anyway.

So what’s in the Windows 10 May update?

Spectre fixes

The main feature of the update is a fix for the slowdowns we have all had to experience over the past few months thanks to the Spectre exploit. Thanks to temporary fixes put in place by Microsoft, everyone’s PC will have slowed down or began suffering stuttering when saving, opening documents or performing some computer tasks. Once you install the May update, that should be a thing of the past.

Microsoft were working on two fixes, reptoline and import customization. Both of which will still protect against vulnerabilities but will remove the performance impact of those temporary fixes. Having tried the update, I must say there is a noticeable difference in performance.

Update to Windows Update

Windows Update itself changes with the Windows 10 May update. You will now have more control over how and when your computers updates. You can even stop them altogether which is great news for enterprise computer support teams. From this update on, you can wait a whole 18 months between updates giving IT support and QA teams enough time to test and verify before going live.

Larger updates like this one will also no longer automatically download in the background. Instead, you will see a notification with the option to download rather than be told after the fact.

New light desktop theme

A new light desktop theme also makes an appearance. It actually looks really good and though I tend to like my desktop dark, I have switched to the new theme. It’s a small but very pleasing new feature that changes everything. You can switch between Windows Mode which changes the entire desktop experience or App Mode which allows a different theme for apps.

Reserved Storage

A not-so welcome feature in the Windows 10 May update is Reserved Storage. This reserves a whole 7GB of your hard drive for Windows own use. That’s a big chunk of your drive that takes over from the more bitty way Windows used to reserve drive space for its own use. While it may be up front about why it is reserving this space, you have no choice about it taking it.

If you regularly run low on disk space on your boot drive, you may want to free up some of it before updating. Otherwise it’s a drive upgrade!

Windows Sandbox

Sandboxes are well-established mechanisms for securely using apps within a host system without risking that host. They isolate the app or program so whatever happens to it won’t impact the host. Most business users will never use Windows Sandbox but IT support teams will. It enables us to run isolated programs, test apps or programs and simulate a virtual machine within a single Windows computer.

It’s a little thing that could have a big impact for IT support and development.

More control over apps

Another useful feature is more control over apps. Where most Windows 10 installations would make you retain certain apps and automatically reinstall them if you removed them, you can now remove more apps than before.

As usual, Microsoft only allows you to control certain apps and not others but it’s better than nothing. If you never use Groove Music or Paint 3D then you can remove them to save disk space.

Cortana splitting from search

Cortana being part of search has always been a bugbear of PC support techs. If one didn’t work, the other wouldn’t work either. If you didn’t want voice commands, you had to leave Cortana in place otherwise search wouldn’t work at all. Now the two have been amicably separated and you can use them individually or not at all depending on your needs.

Other features of the Windows 10 May update

A few other features of the Windows 10 May update include zoom mode, better troubleshooting apps, a new system tray icon for Windows Updates, logging in without passwords, a tidier Start menu, the ability for Start menu to search files and documents, better notepad, more emoji, better crash handling for games and a bunch of other improvements.

As I said, this update is not about headline grabbing features but about making the entire Windows 10 experience easier, faster and more stable. I have installed it on a machine here in the office and so far at least, it seems to be working fine.

If you have issues with the Windows 10 May update and need onsite help, contact New Jersey Computer Help today. We’re the experts to call!

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