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  • Review: May 2020 Update delivers little tweaks that add up to... well, not a lot
    Time: May. 22, 2020

    It’s been a year since the last major update to Windows 10, the first time in Windows 10 history that Microsoft has gone that long between significant updates.

    (The last so-called feature update for Windows 10, released six months ago and known as the November 2019 Update or version 1909, was little more than a service pack.)

     

    So what’s the news in Windows 10 version 2004 — has Microsoft gone big and introduced a host of new features, or has it stayed the course with a loose collection 、

    of minor tweaks? I've been putting the upgrade through its paces for quite some time as it made its way through development, and here's what I've found.

     

    Hey, Cortana... Where'd you go?


    A year ago, in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Cortana was separated from Windows Search. No longer could you type in a question for Cortana in the search box

    on the taskbar. Instead, you had to say “Hey, Cortana” and speak your search, click the Cortana icon to the right of the search box and speak, or press the Windows

    key + C and speak. All other searches were done by Windows Search.


    That trial separation between Cortana and Windows Search has turned into a full-blown divorce. Now Cortana is an entirely separate app that runs in its own resizable

    window like any other app. Previously, it displayed results as a pane just above the search box, in the same way that Windows Search did. Now you do the search in the

    app, and the results show up in the app.

     

    Windows Search gets tweaked


    As I mentioned, Cortana and Windows Search were joined at the hip until their partial breakup in the Windows 10 May 2019 update. The idea behind the breakup was

    that each could be improved independently of the other’s needs.

     

    So what’s new in Windows Search a year later? Not much. Perhaps the most useful change is under the hood, so you won’t see it, although you might feel it. In order

    to deliver fast, useful search results, Search indexes your hard drive. That’s useful, but the indexing can slow down your PC. With this upgrade, the indexing only takes

    place when your computer isn’t too busy, which should theoretically make your PC faster. I can’t say that I noticed a difference in my PC’s performance, but your

    mileage may differ.

     

    That’s largely it. Microsoft has touted two other changes to Search, but those “changes” also now appear in Windows 10 1909, the version previous to this one. When

    you put your cursor into the Search box, three buttons appear at the bottom of the screen: Weather, Top news, and Today in history. Click any button to get the information

    you want. You won’t find that feature only in Windows 10 2004 — you’ll also find it in the latest updates to version 1909.

     

     

     

    Another “new” feature according to Microsoft is the ability to do Windows searches from File Explorer. Do a search in the Search box towards the upper right of the screen,

    and you’ll get a suggested list of files as you type, as you do in Windows Search. It also searches online files in OneDrive, not just files on your PC. However, those features

    were baked into Windows in version 1909 and so are hardly new.

     

    The upshot of this? The Windows Search you see today on your PC is largely the Windows Search you’ll see in this update. If you liked it before, you’ll like it now. If you

    hated it before... well, you’ll hate it now.

     

    New tools for Task Manager

     

    Those who geek out using the Task Manager to find every bit of information about Windows status and performance will find two new nerd tools. The Task Manager's Performance

    tab now displays your disk type. Previously, it showed you disk performance information, but not the type of hard disk you have.

     

     

     

     

    Also on the Performance tab, it will show you the temperature of your GPU. There are a few caveats, though. First, you’ll need a graphics card with a new driver that supports the

    WDDM 2.4 driver model. And second, it only does this if you have a dedicated graphics card, not an integrated one or an onboard GPU.