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 https://account.microsoft.com/account 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
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  • bill44 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Been waiting since Creators Update for -well, creators update- a proper systemwide colour management that also supports wide colour gamut natively. 3D LUT support would be nice too.

    Never happened, never will. Lots of cosmetic and game focused updates, but nothing substantial. Like an SSD focused file system (only available in the Workstation version of Windows I think)..
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Most of their work was under the hood, yet as typical most people only see the cosmetic changes.

    Their work on implementing Retpoline and Fast Import was a pretty massive undertaking, read their detailed technical articles on the subject.

    https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-Ker...

    The changes to how they manage updates are pretty nice too. I'm not talking about the superficial "you can delay on Home more", but rather the underlying systems were overhauled so more update work can be performed while the system is still up. They also manage Windows/App updates better, so as to not hurt performance when in use.
    Reply
  • bill44 - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Thanks Alexvrb
    Interesting and useful. Under hood changes are nice, but it’s time to do something more substantial a user can see and use every day. It’s nearly 2020 and we still forced to use sRGB on our desktops, in a world, where we have P3, Adobe RGB, HDR etc.
    We can take photos in P3, game in HDR, but no seamless way of handling this in Windows. Each app has to do it’s own thing.

    A system wide Rec.2020 support is needed, that can constrain the gamut to sRGB when needed. Calibration should be done once, and all applications should/must take advantage of it.

    I’m all for under the hood updates (visible or not to the user) that benefits us all, but there has to be a time for windows to catch up to the 21st century visuals.
    Reply
  • valkyrie743 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    was waiting for over a year for tabs in the explorer but i guess that's not happening anymore. not happy Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Install Clover. Reply
  • Alien88 - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Damn, didn't know about Clover, installed it and it is great, thanks for the heads-up! Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    Interesting. This puts the `docker run microsoft/windowsservercore` back into perspective. I wonder if the work they did on that directly contributed to this version. Reply
  • wolfesteinabhi - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    why would they run out of numbers after 2100!!? ..they would still have 14 more years after it to get their shit together!! Reply
  • Brett Howse - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Fair point! Reply
  • beisat - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    First decent update ever for w10 I think - love the sandbox idea. Can it also be persistent? I basically want docker / containers for windows but for GUI software to isolate some installs Reply

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