Search and Cortana: Now just friends

Windows 10 has always included a search bar by default on the Windows 10 taskbar, but that search bar was tied into its Cortana virtual assistant. With Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Search and Cortana have officially split up, each getting their own location on the taskbar. You can of course customize that as well, and remove one or both if you’d like.

The new search has a landing page which quickly shows you recent files and top applications, so you can even use it as a condensed version of the Start Menu. Search has become an integral part of Windows since Windows Vista, when Microsoft started indexing applications and files for quick access by clicking Start and typing Notepad, as an example. The new Search offers more of that previous experience, while still offering web search for terms.

Cortana is still around, and is being integrated into Microsoft To-Do with this update. It seems like a more logical fit for it to be in a separate app than the default search, and it’s doubtful most desktop users will be upset by this change.

Search is also getting some a new settings page where you can see the current indexing status, as well as set up what folders you want to index, what folders you’d like to include, and more. This is part of Microsoft still trying to move the myriad of settings away from the older control panel style into the modern Windows 10 settings, where they work better with multiple input types. You can still access the old indexer options here as well, if you need to change something that you can’t do in the modern settings yet.

Signing In: Now with less passwords

Passwords are evil, and passwords have been proven again and again to not be a great way to secure things, so it’s great to see Microsoft offering a way to sign-in to Windows with a password-less account starting with the May 2019 update.

If you already have a Microsoft account, you can go to and sign in and then add your phone number to your account. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create a new one based on your phone number.

Once your phone number is added, you can select your phone number when logging in and you’ll get a one-time SMS code on your phone which will let you log into the machine. Once logged in, you can set up Windows Hello with a PIN or PIN and facial recognition, and you’ll never need to enter a password to log in.

The Sign-In screen has also gotten some Fluent Design added to it, with an acrylic effect added when going to log in to focus your attention on the login box itself. It looks great.

Light Theme and Start Menu Changes High DPI Updates


View All Comments

  • willis936 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    That sandbox is really exciting. It opens up a lot of room for creative applications. Remember that linus tech tips project where one huge machine ran like 5 gaming VMs? I’m sure the sandbox is more stable and performant than virtualbox. Reply
  • TheWereCat - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    The sandbox is quite limited vs CM. You can also run only one instance of it Reply
  • prophet001 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Wow this sandbox looks really sweet. Reply
  • SkyDiver - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    The UI is ugly - flat and boring. I'm glad that I didn't update to it until now. Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link


    was wanting/needing this to be THE update (prior to this years hot new CPU-GPU stuff) to "set it right" sounds like it just might be that "the new Windows 7 Ultimate"

    Windows 10 likely is NOW ready for 99% of people (including me) just in time for Ryzen 2 and Navi 2019

    YAY....why the hell did they not just do Windows 7 and update its "core" to make into Win 10, instead of #%^#%^# metro, live tiles and all that crpa most people HATE

    NOW yay......Thanks MSFT, does this mean you are ACTUALLY paying attention to Win 10 going forward,, not rush launch patch crap?

    as well, ability to NOT force update is such awesome, to "act" like is a new novel feature is crap, at least now they "wised up" and made for ALL users regardless of version can disable/turn off a good chunk of the "crap" to make it


    stupid....but thank you....about damn time...3 year+ later?


    here you go....
  • Wardrop - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    I swear half the emails in my spam folder were written by you. Reply
  • Agent Smith - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    I thought a child who’d just discovered CAPS-LOCK had just entered the room. Reply
  • GlossGhost - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    God bless. Reply
  • mobutu - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    "Arguably the biggest feature that most people will see is the new Light Theme."

    "giving some control back to users on how updates get pushed out. Windows 10 Home now supports up to seven days of delay for an update."

    really? a theme and seven days max. delay for updates?
    these are some of the major points for this update?

  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    It's not seven days max, it's seven days at a time. I don't recall what the total is, but it's decent for Home. If you really have an issue installing updates, get Pro and you can delay them longer, or take control yourself. Realistically this change will be good enough for 99% of normal users, without risking the never-updater scenarios we saw constantly with malware-infected Win7 and older installs. It's a compromise to make sure people are semi-current without rushing updates. My time spent as tech support for friends and relatives has been cut down to almost zero since they've all got Win10 now. Reply

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