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5 Things To Know About The Windows 10 May 2020 Update

The next major version update for Windows 10 includes numerous enhancements for IT pros and new features for users.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the availability of the next major version update for its Windows 10 operating system.

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update, also known as Windows 10 version 2004, is debuting with numerous enhancements for IT professionals and solution providers as well as additional features for users.

[Related: 5 Key Microsoft 365 Announcements At Build 2020]

"The latest update from Microsoft for Windows 10, Version 2004, contains a plethora of exciting enhancements to increase both productivity and security," said Miguel Zamarripa, CIO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Simpleworks IT, in an email to CRN.

What follows are five key things to know about Microsoft's Windows 10 May 2020 Update.

Improvements For IT Pros And Solution Providers

For IT professionals and solution providers, Windows 10 version 2004 includes a number of enhancements around configuration, servicing and deployment, according to Microsoft.

One update is around controls for reserved storage. Version 2004 includes new commands and APIs for Deployment Image Servicing and Management. That means IT pros "can enable and disable reserved storage on demand, including reserved storage for Windows 10 devices that were not shipped with Windows 10, version 1903 and higher," wrote Joe Lurie, a senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, in a blog post.

Other improved controls are available with the Windows Setup tool, Lurie said. These include the ability to "search, download, and install Dynamic Updates, but exclude the latest quality update and/or driver updates," he wrote. IT pros can also now reduce offline time for users by instructing Windows Setup "to start update operations on the down-level OS without initiating a reboot to start the offline phase, then instruct Windows Setup to complete the installation at an appropriate time," Lurie wrote.

Zamarripa cited additional updates in the new version of Windows 10 that will benefit solution providers.

"We are looking forward to the increased ability from Microsoft Intune to control mobile devices that pose risks to our customer networks," Zamarripa said. "And the new PowerShell cmdlets will allow us greater visibility into bandwidth utilization on client connections and my engineers can adjust accordingly."

The available cmdlets--which are lightweight commands in Windows PowerShell--now include getting a view of peer-to-peer activity in real time and getting logs of activity such as total downloads, Lurie said.

Cloud Recovery

Another new addition with the Windows 10 May 2020 Update is around cloud recovery for the operating system. The new Windows 10 version comes with the option to recover the OS by downloading required files from the cloud.

The cloud recovery option results in "increased reliability and, depending on your internet speed, a faster recovery," Lurie wrote in the blog post.

Security Updates

Windows 10 version 2004 includes a range of security updates including extending Application Guard--which leverages containers for safely opening untrusted files--to support both the Chromium-based Edge browser and Office.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has extended FIDO2 security key support to services joined to hybrid Azure Active Directory--"enabling even more customers to take an important step in their journey towards passwordless environments," Lurie wrote.

And for Windows Sandbox--a desktop environment for securely running applications in isolation--a number of new capabilities have been added including optional configuration of a vGPU, networking and shared folders with the sandbox.

Additionally, enhancements to Windows Hello and passwordless access to accounts "should see a boost in productivity for most users that have this feature enabled," Zamarripa said. Those enhancements include easier enablement of Windows Hello in settings and the addition of a Windows Hello PIN for devices launched in Safe mode.

Deploying The Windows 10 Update To Remote Workers

As many businesses continue to operate with remote workforces, Microsoft released details on its recommended approaches for bringing the Windows 10 May 2020 Update to remote workers.

The approaches "leverage cloud resources to reduce bandwidth, reduce the workload on you as the IT admin, and, most importantly, improve the end user experience in a secure way," wrote James Bell, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft 365 Deployment, in a post.

The detailed recommendations include planning and preparation guidelines around modernization, compatibility, deployment and capabilities, as well as recommendations on the deployment process itself.

"With so many people working remote, IT professionals need to embrace new mechanisms to perform this work securely through the internet," Bell wrote in the post. "These new mechanisms may include configuring endpoints via Configuration Manager to receive updates from Windows Update—or using Windows Update for Business to take advantage of a full set of IT admin controls while leveraging the agility and innovation of the Windows Update service."

More details are available in the post here.

Feature Updates

In terms of user-facing updates with the new version of Windows 10, Microsoft disclosed a number of new features.

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update includes easier pairing of Bluetooth devices with Windows 10 devices by enabling users to handle pairing in notifications rather than in settings.

Naming of virtual desktops is also now enabled--rather than just having to name them as "Desktop 1" or "Desktop 2"--as is easier enablement of passwordless sign-in. "Just go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options on your Windows 10 PC and select ‘On’ under ‘Make your device passwordless,'" wrote Aaron Woodman, general manager of Windows Marketing, in a blog post.

In terms of application updates, Microsoft's Edge browser is getting memory improvements supporting a potential memory usage reduction of up to 27 percent, Woodman said.

The Notepad text editor has also been updated. "There’s now wrap around find/replace, quick text zooming, and when you see an asterisk in the title bar you’ll know you have unsaved changes," he said.

Additionally, the May 2020 Update "brings the popular Your Phone app’s Calls feature to ARM supported PCs from Microsoft and our OEM partners," Woodman wrote. "You will now be able to place, receive, or text reply to your incoming phone calls directly on your PC without having your Android phone right next to your PC."

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