It looks like the new version of windows 10 will be making its way to your computer on or after May 10th, 2019.
I have compiled the information below from several sources—blogs and release notes of windows insider builds. I am showcasing the new features that will be of interest to most people. I am also focusing on those features that either make windows easier to use, or offer an accessibility benefit. All right! Let’s dive in!
A simplified Start layout
Windows 10 will now include a simplified default Start layout for new user accounts, new devices, and clean installs. This will have a sleek one column design with less top-level tiles. The same start layout will also be available to IT admins, as well as commercial and education customers.
This should help locate items of interest quicker in the start window.
Notification area improvements
There are new disconnected network icons within the notification area down near the clock.
Windows 10 will now replace the disconnected network icons in the notification area. A new Not Connected icon will appear for all types of networks whether it is Wi-Fi, Cellular, or Ethernet. This new visual icon should help you quickly recognize network problems so that you can take action to resolve them. Up until this new version of windows, you used to see either a red cross or yellow exclamation mark for the same.
Another item of interest is a new icon for the notification area. A microphone icon will be seen in the notification area when you are using a mic.
The Forget options for Wi-Fi profiles will be available for non-admin users. This change will make it easier to reset a network that you have difficulty connecting to.
The Settings home page will now include a header at the top. This will allow you to quickly sign in and manage Microsoft accounts. The header will provide you an easy to find system status, for example, when updates are available.
Sticky Notes 3.0
The Sticky Notes application will receive numerous updates in the next version. This includes significant improvements such as:
- You are able to Sync Sticky Notes 3.0 across different platforms like Android and iOS using your Microsoft account.
- A formatting bar will appear to choose colors for each note, and you’ll have the ability to set Charcoal Note theme.
- Sticky Notes displays a new home that manages notes into the same interface. You also see a search box to help you quickly identify your notes. You will get a dedicated Settings page to customize the Sticky notes experience. The notes will perform now much faster and support High Contrast.
- The interface of the built-in note taking app is now smoother and supports assistive technologies and Narrator. The application allows you to navigate using the keyboard keys, mouse, touch, and pen.
- Dark mode feature is now in the Sticky notes app.
Windows 10 will now support search and tooltips for the Emoji 11 emojis. You can type keywords in the pane and the onscreen keyboard will also populate text predictions.
New features in Emoji 12 Use WINDOWS+. on the onscreen keyboard and open the panel to see them.
- Narrator has a New set of keyboard shortcuts. You will notice a change in Scan Mode and QuickStart. Narrator will start reading automatically when you open the QuickStart guide.
- Narrator now works better with the Google Chrome browser. The browser will support Up and down arrow Keys in scan mode, navigation with tab, continuous reading commands, and navigation by headings.
- Narrator also includes BRLTTY version 5.6 to add USB support for Inceptor and Orbit 20 displays. In addition, USB will identify the BrailleNote Touch. Baum displays have the ability to use B9 and B10.
- You should experience better performance when using Braille command keys.
- Narrator will alert you if you are unknowingly typing with Caps Lock turned on. The setting is on by default but you can disable this if you wish.
- Narrator adds 5 additional verbosity levels that manage the amount of detail you hear about text and other document attributes. Pressing Narrator + V will help to cycle through these options.
- You can now read by sentence’ through a braille display by hitting dots 2-3-4 or 2-3-4-7 in Command Input Mode.
- Narrator Home is a new one-stop-shop for all Narrator settings. It also has the QuickStart guide. Access Narrator Home at any time by pressing WINDOWS+CONTROL+N.
- Narrator now identifies combo edit controls and will read them as “combo edit” in place of simply “edit.”
- Narrator stays on while resetting PIN or password
- If you fail to recall the PIN or password for your Microsoft account, Narrator will continue running while you reset it.
- Users can download more voices without requiring language packs. For this, go to Narrator Settings and choose the Add More Voices link.
- Makes reading of controls better while navigating and editing
- Improves table reading in MS PowerPoint
- Makes interaction with Chrome menu’s and Narrator easier.
- Narrator will declare the state of hardware buttons, for example, volume keys.
- read next, current and previous sentences with Narrator. Read by sentence can be done in the keyboard or touch modes using the following commands:
- CAPS+CONTROL + Period (.) to Read next sentence
- b) Caps + CONTROL + Comma (,) to Read current sentence
- c) Caps + CONTROL + M to Read previous sentence
- You can adjust the navigation mode for Narrator using CAPS + PAGE UP or CAPS+PAGE DOWN. Once you reach sentences navigation mode , you can move by sentence with CAPS+LEFT Arrow to move to previous sentence and CAPS+RIGHT ARROW to move to the next sentence.
- Narrator reads headings at all verbosity levels.
- you will find Narrator’s dialog reading behavior more reliable.
- When you minimize Narrator Home, the focus will be automatically set on the Start menu.
- narrator now reads the value of the Calendar Date picker control when a user switches using Tab or Shift + Tab key.
- Narrator will not read blank tooltips.
- Narrator will no longer speak “not selected” unless multiple selections are possible.
- Narrator refines reading for Chrome and some interaction with controls, for example, combo boxes and expandable buttons.
- Navigating by heading is now more reliable in the Google Chrome browser.
Uninstall additional inbox apps
With every inbox app, Windows 10 will now provide you an option to uninstall them from the Start menu all apps list. The Uninstall option will appear in the context menu of the preinstalled applications for the following –
- 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
- Groove Music
- Movies & TV
- Paint 3D
- Snip & Sketch
- Sticky Notes
- Voice Recorder
Now windows can troubleshoot problems for you automatically. This can be a benefit to you because you will not need to locate a troubleshooter and run it first. Now windows can optionally just detect a problem, then run the appropriate troubleshooter.
You will need to go to: Start => Settings => Privacy => Diagnostics & Feedback => Recommended Troubleshooting.
Once you reach this settings screen you will get the following text:
“Microsoft automatically fixes certain critical problems on your device to keep it running smoothly. We may also recommend troubleshooting for other problems we think will improve your experience. How much do you want Microsoft to help when we find other issues on your device that we might be able to fix?”
- Fix problems for me automatically
- Tell me when problems get fixed
- Ask me before fixing problems
Enhanced Search Indexer
Windows 10 will now include a new Search indexer to find files instantly. The Cortana category in the Settings app adds a section called Search. Within that category is a subsection called Searching Windows which has two options – Classic and Enhanced. Classic will find the files from folders in the Library, such as Document, Picture, Video, and Desktop folders. Enhanced searches all the folders available on your computer hard drive.
Indexing is now also available on Settings app in addition to the classic Control panel. You are also able to add an excluded folder from here. Indexing Status shows the number of Indexed items and as well as pending items.
Focus Assist Settings now include one significant change to help reduce the number of distractions. For Automatic Rules, you can turn on When I’m Using An App In Full Screen. The change will Stop the Notifications when you are working on an Excel sheet, watching a movie, studying or other in full screen mode. Go to Settings => System => Focus Assist and enable When I’m Using An App In Full Screen. Action center will not prompt any warning notifications while you are running an application in full-screen mode.
Windows 10 now has a Light mode in addition to Dark. Previously, when you chose this option, the UI color wouldn’t change. Now you will experience the system color lighter when you select the Light option in Settings => Personalization => Colors => Light. The change will provide the light view for Start menu, Taskbar, Action center, Touch keyboard, System tray, and Cortana and others.
In addition, Windows 10 also features light theme. Go to Settings => Personalization => Themes and choose Windows Light from the right side of the page.
App using mic notification
Windows 10 now shows a mic icon in the notification area on the taskbar that gives you the name of the App that is currently using the microphone. You are able to see the information by just hovering over the icon or arrowing over it.
Notepad now has a few new keyboard commands:
1) CONTROL + Shift + N will launch a new Notepad window.
2) CONTROL + Shift + S will open the Save As… dialog.
3) CONTROL + W will shut the running Notepad window.
The Notepad application is now able to save and open files having a path longer than 260 characters in Windows
Windows 10 features new cursor sizes and colors to make them easier to see. Navigate to Ease of Access Settings (alternatively use the hot key: WINDOWS+U). Under the Vision category, choose Cursor & pointer to see the list of options.
The new version will include 11 more mouse pointer sizes in the Cursor and Pointers settings. There is a total of 15 sizes now.
Windows 10 now features clipboard history that allows you to save multiple clipboard items to use later.
Start reliability changes
ShellExperienceHost.exe process has been hosting the Start in Windows 10 until now. Microsoft is now separating it into its individual process “StartMenuExperienceHost.exe” to offer you the best experience. This insulates Start from potential issues impacting different services. The new version also the Start window should no longer stop responding for long periods of time.
File Explorer Friendly dates
Windows 10 now adds Friendly date formatting to File Explorer. The change simplifies the column for date modified and offers consistency with other columns that you see throughout the Operating System, applications, and on the web. All you need to do is open File Explorer, right-click on Date modified column and select “Friendly dates”.
Change in default downloads folder sorting
Now the Downloads folder shows the latest downloaded file at the top of the list.
We have made it to the end of this short list of new windows features. As I said, this list is not an exhaustive list, just some of the more notable updates and features.
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Anyway, that’s a wrap for now. If you’ve made it this far, you’re a real trooper and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. As always…