The first major Windows 10 update of 2020, the Windows 10 20H1 is just around the corner. As a full Windows 10 upgrade, it’s expected to bring in a whole lot of fresh features and performance refinements to Microsoft’s popular operating system.
Thanks to builds of Windows 10 20H1 that have been made available to Fast Ring Insider testers since early 2019, we already know some of the details behind the new features and changes this update is bringing to the table. Those include a more efficient algorithm for Windows Search, improved Cortana experience and even more kaomojis, to start.
Also known as Windows 10 version 2004, the Windows 10 20H1 update still hasn’t gotten an official release date. However, based on its name, we already know that it should roll around the first half of 2020, possibly sometime in April or May. So, we thought we’d lay out all of the most exciting, interesting and generally useful features that are coming with the Windows 10 20H1.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Windows 10 20H1 is next major version of Windows
- When is it out? Windows 10 20H1 is expected in the first half of 2020
- How much does it cost? Windows 10 20H1 will be free for all users
Windows 10 20H1 release date
While we’re still not sure when the Windows 10 20H1 release date will be, the name ’20H1′ does mean that we’ll be getting it in the first half of 2020.
In the past, major Windows 10 updates that are released in the first half of the year are usually released in April, such as the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, though last year we saw the Windows 10 May 2019 Update due to delays. So, the smart money would be on an April or May 2020 release.
Still, Microsoft could always surprise us. According to Windows Latest, in Build 19041, which has all cumulative updates installed, Windows Powershell’s “Get-VMHostSupportedVersion” command lists the Windows 10 May 2020 Update/Server 2004 as one of the results. This could be a strong indication that we won’t see the update until May 2020.
Windows 10 20H1 name
At the moment, this major Windows 10 update is going by a few names: Windows 10 20H1 and Windows 10 build 2004, but neither of those will be the final name. If it does get a May 2020 release date, then it follows that the Windows 10 20H1 will officially be called the May 2020 Update.
That is, if Micrisoft does stick with its naming convention of previous Windows 10 updates and name it after the time it’s released, for example Windows 10 April 2020 update, or Windows 10 Spring 2020 update – although that latter name might be confusing to people living in the Southern Hemisphere.
Of course Microsoft could change tack again. Perhaps it will name the update after the kind of features it’s introducing, like the Windows 10 Creators Update, which was released in 2017. Still, Creators Update focused more on features for creators, as opposed to users, so this is unlikely.
Windows 10 20H1 features
Regardless of the release date and name, the Windows 10 20H1 update will likely bring a load of new features to Windows 10 – certainly more than the relatively low-key Windows 10 November 2019 Update, anyway.
So, here are all the new Windows 10 20H1 features that we know of.
Windows 10 20H1 brings a new look
We’ve seen more than one hint that Version 20H1 could be making a move toward a more rounded design instead of the sharp angles seen currently in Windows 10. This would extend from windows and buttons to sliders and pop-up dialog boxes.
This would work to provide some more consistency between the desktop user interface and apps, as well as aligning it more with modern web and app style. This change isn’t certain though, but has been hinted at more than once.
Windows 10 20H1 brings new virtual desktop names
When you make virtual desktops in Windows 10 right now, they get rather unhelpful, numbered names: Desktop 1, Desktop 2, etc.
Version 20H1 should introduce the option to create custom names for each virtual desktop. So, if you use virtual desktops to separate work and play or various projects, you can make sure each is clearly labeled for which project each is dedicated to.
And, as Windows Central notes, the custom virtual desktops can be saved so they aren’t reset after each reboot.
Windows 10 20H1 brings commitment to Windows Hello
Many computers are now built with fingerprint scanners or advanced cameras that provide facial recognition to work with Windows Hello. This lets you sign on without a password, but Windows still requires a password for the account even if you don’t have to use it to sign on every time.
The 20H1 update may include an option to make your device password-less, letting it exclusively rely on Windows Hello for signing into your Microsoft account, Windows Central reports.
In addition, the update is also adding Windows Hello PIN sign-in to Safe mode, so Windows 10 S mode users won’t have to rely on their password when troubleshooting their laptops.
Windows 10 20H1 will improve Cortana
It seems like Microsoft isn’t giving up on Cortana, its voice assistant, any time soon. Windows 10 20H1 will bring improvements, with a better conversational experience that will make it feel more natural to ‘chat’ with Cortana.
More importantly, Cortana will be evolving from just a lowly digital assistant to a “personal productivity assistant.” In other words, it will have even more productivity skills to help you manage your tasks and time, as well as connect with people, in the Microsoft 365 apps.
Cortana will also have its own app, rather than being built into Windows 10, so we can expect more regular updates in the future – rather than having to wait for Microsoft to release major Windows updates.
Windows 10 20H1 has a better Windows Search
This new update will introduce at least a couple of changes to the Windows Search function. Windows 10 20H1 will bring in a new algorithm for Windows Search that will have a more efficient disk usage. This new algorithm should reduce excessive disk and CPU usage.
Other Windows Search features to come with this major update include the Enhanced search mode feature, which allows users to easily expand search across all folders and drivers, as well as Windows Search integration into File Explorer for more consistent results.
Windows 10 20H1 improves video playback performance
Also according to Windows Latest, Windows 10 20H1 will bring in Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.7, which has been designed to improve users’ overall gaming performance as well as video output and the refresh rate on multi-monitor setups.
There will be support for hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling that should allow video cards to manage their video memory, and result in reduced latency and improved average FPS for smoother video playbacks.
Plus, this update will finally fix reported multi-monitor and sing monitor stutter issues with better refresh rates support.
Windows 10 20H1 makes it easier to reset Windows 10
Another welcome addition is that Windows 10 20H1 will make it easier to reset Windows 10 to how it was when you first installed it, or when you first bought your device.
It include the Cloud Download feature, reinstalling Windows 10 from an updated version that’s held online, and should make resetting or reinstalling Windows 10 even easier.
Windows 10 20H1 brings in more kaomojis
Fans of kaomojis will be happy to know that the Windows 10 20H1 update will bring in even more kaomojis for everyone to enjoy. If you don’t know what kaomojis are, they’re basically old school emojis – instead of individual graphical pictures, you have a bunch of symbols and characters to represent characters and facial expressions.
These are just some of the new kaomojis Windows 10 20H1 is adding to the list.
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Michelle Rae Uy also contributed to this article.