Windows 10 May 2020 update brings WSL 2, revamped Cortana assistant, and “Your Phone” calls to ARM devices


per StatCounter, Windows commands a market share of 76.5%, meaning that every three out of four computers in the world run on Windows. While Windows did admittedly lose its dominant status as the OS across platforms to Android, it still presented itself as the go-to desktop option for many, many users. The latest version of Windows, Windows 10, is now receiving the May 2020 stable update, which brings several key features such as Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2, a revamped Cortana experience, Your Phone feature for Windows on ARM, and more.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 was first announced during Microsoft Build 2019, and is now being rolled out to all users under the stable Windows 10 branch. This update brings a full Linux kernel to the stable branch. As part of this update, WSL 2 is also now updateable through Windows Update, so users no longer need to rely on the command line only to update the kernel.

Microsoft did announce GPU acceleration and Linux GUI app support for WSL 2, at Microsoft Build 2020. But, these features are not yet available even for Windows Insiders, so there is bound to be further waiting for users on the stable branch.

Chat-based UI for Cortana

Another highlight of this Windows 10 version update is the new Cortana experience, which now takes the form of a chat with the digital assistant.

Users can now interact with Microsoft’s digital assistant in a chat-based user interface, via either text or by voice in natural language. You can resize, move, and dock the app window on your desktop to accommodate your preferred workflow. Cortana will be able to help you access information quicker, connect with people faster, and help you stay on track of your schedule. Specific tasks that Cortana can accomplish include calendar and schedule assistance, helping join meetings in Microsoft Teams, find out about people in the organization, make lists and set reminders, open apps and settings pages, get definitions and quick answers and get weather and news updates.

Your Phone on Windows 10 on ARM

The May 2020 update to Windows 10 brings the Your Phone app’s calling feature to ARM supported PCs. The Your Phone app lets you place, receive, or text reply to incoming phone calls from your PC. Previously, this feature only worked if you had a supported Android device and an x86/x86-64 Windows 10 PC. However, with the May 2020 update to Windows 10, Microsoft is now enabling this functionality in the desktop Your Phone app for Windows 10 on ARM devices, like the Microsoft Surface Pro X and Samsung Galaxy Book S.

Other features

Other smaller features in this update include:

  • Faster Bluetooth pairing – devices can now be paired straight from the quick settings in notifications rather than opening Settings.
  • More kaomoji available within the Windows emoji keyboard.
  • Virtual desktops can now be named.
  • The Xbox Game Bar now supports third-party widgets, letting you customize the overlay experience to fit with the way you game.
  • Memory improvements in Microsoft Edge by taking advantage of segment heap capabilities.
  • The Calculator app can now float on top of other windows.
  • The Notepad app  is getting updated with wrap-around find/replace, quick text zooming, and the ability to show when the file has unsaved changes by displaying an asterisk in the title bar.

Windows 10 May 2020 update is rolling out to desktops, though Microsoft is initially limiting availability to those devices running versions 1903 and 1909 who seek the update via Windows Update. If you wish to install the update, navigate to the Windows Update settings pane (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update), and select Check for updates. Once the update appears, you can choose to Download and Install. Note that the update may not be visible immediately as Microsoft will be ramping up roll out gradually.

Source: Windows Blog

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