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What to expect in Microsoft's new Windows 10 20H1 release, due soon

What to expect in Microsoft's new Windows 10 20H1 release, due soon

There's far more to talk about than there was in recent prior releases.

Credit: Dan Masaoka/IDG

But the poor thing went a bit too far, so that Microsoft is now dialing back the search indexer’s ability to scour your hard drive, waiting for times when the PC is less busy. Some of the other improvements that Microsoft scheduled for 20H1 actually appear in some stable builds now, including the four “quick searches” buttons that appear at the bottom of the Windows Search box: “Weather,” “Top News,” “Today in history,” and “New movies.” 

Windows Search will also feature new, compact previews of webpages when you perform a web search.

Your Phone: More functions, more devices

Microsoft seems to be working hard to detach as many apps and functionalities as it can from Windows 10 itself, in order to give them their own unique, independent upgrade path. (Microsoft’s new Edge browser is a good example.) Your Phone has been on its own journey, with new features migrating from the Windows 10 Insider channels to the stable version of Windows 10. We looked at the updated Your Phone experience last November, noting what you’d need to enable photos, SMS messages, interactions with your phone’s screen, and even the ability to place calls. At the time, Your Phone worked best with a PC configured with the Windows 10 Insider program.

Microsoft already has several of these features enabled for the stable version of Windows 10. On a OnePlus 6T and a Surface Laptop 3 running the stable version of Windows 10, I can view photos, send texts, place calls, and receive notifications. I can’t interact with the phone’s screen, though, and photos are limited to just 25 images. We’re hoping to see more of this functionality extended to a broader range of devices.

Under the hood: The good stuff

Some of the best features of Windows 10 aren’t explicitly called out, and won’t be discovered unless you poke around in the nooks and crannies of Windows 10. Based on the Insider previews Microsoft has published, we’re looking forward to trying out these new features:

More kaomoji! Emoji 12!

About a year ago, Windows 10's May 2019 Update added kaomoji as an upgrade to its existing emoji keyboard. We expect the next version will offer additional ways to pep up your email, chat, and social networking apps.

A new tablet experience

If you detested the “tile” interface of Windows 8 but the “desktop” interface was too cluttered for your fat fingers, Microsoft may have the answer. Everything’s spaced out a little wider in this new mode, specifically designed for the Surface Pro 7 and other Windows tablets.

A redesigned Network status page in Settings

The current Network & Internet > Data usage Settings page is being folded into the Network Status page to provide more of a data dashboard. A small change, but a welcome one.

GPU temperature and SSD type in Task Manager

Okay, it’s geeky. But we hate digging out the SSD type from the Device Manager, and it's handy to have a small indicator telling you what the GPU temp is, even if third-party utilities monitor it anyway.

Of course, that’s not all of the new features we expect to see in Windows 10's spring update. We’ve even held back one or two of our potential favorites, just to see if we’re right. We’ll continue to poke and prod Windows 10 20H1 in the weeks leading up to a formal release. Stay tuned for our review!


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