Windows 10 boost: Why Microsoft’s next PC update could be its biggest in years

Windows 10 boost: Why Microsoft’s next PC update could be its biggest in years

- in Technology

In case you weren’t aware, usually releases two major upgrades for every year. Last year, these arrived in May and November respectively and introduced a host of radical new features to the PC operating system. Next up is Windows 10 20H1, or Windows 10 version 2004 as it’s also referred to. This new upgrade is expected to land sometime in the first-half of next year, but, assuming Microsoft sticks with its typical release schedule, could release as early as April.

The features included in new Windows 10 updates are rarely surprising. That’s because Microsoft openly shows off new functionality in its operating system in Windows 10 preview builds that are made available to members of its Insider programme. In a nutshell, Windows 10 Insiders are beta testers for new Windows 10 builds that will roll out to all users.

Microsoft has been releasing preview editions of Windows 10 20H1 for some time now, giving us a pretty good idea of what to expect from the upgrade. Because 20H1 is shaping up to be one of the biggest Windows 10 updates in years, has put together a list of the best features you can expect when it lands in the coming months.

So without further ado, here’s everything we’re excited for in Windows 10 20H1…

Microsoft usually releases two major upgrades for Windows 10 every year (Image: Getty • Microsoft)

A major upgrade for 2-in-1 devices

Microsoft has announced Windows 10 20H1 will introduce a “new tablet experience” designed from the ground-up for covertable PCs. In a nutshell, the feature better accommodates the form factor of a laptop that has folded over itself to deliver a tablet-esque look and feel.

After a user has converted their PC to its tablet mode, they’ll be able to switch on the new experience that’ll increase spacing between Taskbar icons, collapse the search box on the task bar into an icon and even provide quick access to a touch keyboard.

Discussing the new feature, Microsoft said: “This new experience allows users entering tablet posture to stay in the familiar desktop experience without interruption, plus a few key touch improvements.”

Windows 10 update

Microsoft has announced Windows 10 20H1 will introduce a ‘new tablet experience’ (Image: Microsoft)

The File Explorer improvements you’ve been waiting for

The Windows 10 File Explorer has suffered from a number of bugs in recent months, the most heinous of which appeared to cease its functionality entirely. Things are looking more positive in Windows 10 20H1 though – Microsoft has said File Explorer will be treated to a new search experience in 20H1 that should integrate OneDrive content. The design of the tool has also been revamped.

Discussing the feature in Windows 10 preview build 18894, Microsoft stated: “We’ve heard your feedback asking for increased consistency, and to make it easier to find your files. Over the next few days we’ll be starting to roll out a new File Explorer search experience – now powered by Windows Search. This change will help integrate your OneDrive content online with the traditional indexed results.

“What does that mean for you? Once you have the new experience, as you type in File Explorer’s search box, you’ll now see a dropdown populated with suggested files at your fingertips that you can pick from.

“These improved results can be launched directly by clicking the entry in the new suggestions box, or if you want to open the file location, just right-click the entry and there’ll be an option to do so. If you need to use commands or dig deeper into non-indexed locations, you can still press enter and populate the view with the traditional search results.

“We’ve also updated the design, so now as soon as you click the search box in File Explorer (or press CTRL+E to set focus to it), you’ll see the dropdown list with your search history.”

Going passwordless

Microsoft is pushing users to go passwordless with Windows 10 20H1. As the name suggests, the functionality is intended to ditch traditional combinations formed of letters, numbers and symbols in favour of Windows Hello Face, a fingerprint, or a numerical PIN.

Microsoft claims this should improve security and deliver a “seamless sign-in experience” for users.

The tech giant explained: “For improved security and a more seamless sign-in experience, you can now enable passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on your Windows 10 device by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, and selecting ‘On’ under ‘Make your device passwordless’.

“This will strengthen your device sign-in by switching all Microsoft accounts on your device to modern multifactor authentication with Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or PIN, and eliminating passwords from Windows.”

Windows 10 update

Windows 10 20H1 will introduce a ‘new Cortana experience’ (Image: Microsoft)

Cortana without voice commands

Windows 10 20H1 will introduce a “new Cortana experience” that introduces the ability to type or speak “natural language queries” to the chatty assistant.

In a nutshell, that means users can ask more questions than ever before, either by using their voice or their keyboard.

Better still, Cortana now supports both light and dark themes in Windows 10 and should deliver “significantly improved performance”.

Of course, those are just some of the exciting new features in Windows 10 20H1. You can find a full list of changes from Microsoft here.

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