Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2020 update may not be as ambitious as it has been in years past, but there are still new features worth trying out. It is already available as a voluntary update for your PC and will eventually be automatically transferred to your PC.
You already know the bigger changes. The Your Phone app, which has been around since 2018, finally feels complete. The updated two-in-one user interface (shown below) is automatically displayed in tablet mode.
The Windows subsystem for Linux is vastly improving, but it’s not even a standard part of Windows – it’s an optional feature that you have to add manually.
What we’re highlighting today are the more subtle quality of life updates that we think you’ll enjoy, starting with new ways to manage your data.
More control over data usage
Although many ISPs lifted data caps during the coronavirus pandemic, they will be reintroduced soon. The Windows May 2020 Update enables better network management, including monitoring and controlling how much data your PC has used in the last 30 days. (What this new feature does not do monitors the traffic of your entire household; for this it is best to contact your router or ISP directly.)
Each of these controls are in the Windows 10 Settings menu. First, track your data usage over the past 30 days Settings> Network & Internet> Status.
If you live in a rural area with limited bandwidth, you can also use Microsoft to throttle the bandwidth for downloading updates in the background. This helps keep lines open for more immediate concerns, such as streaming video.
If bandwidth is not an issue, consider taking advantage of another of the new features in the May 2020 update: cloud reset. Resetting a PC gives it a spring clean, updates the Windows code, and hopefully clears any bugs or other issues. Today you can reset your PC from stored code that is already on your hard drive. Downloading the code from the cloud eliminates any issues that may arise from corruption or other file errors.
Cloud reset isn’t the same as reinstalling Windows from an ISO file, but it can be almost as effective. Microsoft will tell you the amount of data that needs to be downloaded before it starts, which is typically around four gigabytes. To use the cloud reset function, go to Settings> Update & Security> Recovery, then click Reset this PC.
Use Windows Hello only on your PC
You hate passwords. Microsoft hates passwords. For some time now, Microsoft has essentially minimized the use of passwords through clever techniques like using your phone’s Microsoft Authenticator app to sign in to connected apps and services. On the PC, Windows Hello was one of the most useful features of Windows. To quickly unlock your PC, you can either use a fingerprint or a face.
Microsoft now feels confident enough to basically eliminate passwords from your PC entirely. In the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, you can set Windows to only use Windows Hello and eliminate the password option. Are you afraid that Hello won’t recognize you? Windows Hello requires a PIN as a backup.
If for whatever reason you need to boot into Safe Mode, you can now use a PIN instead of your password.
Xbox Game Bar provides FPS data
If you’re playing on PC, you can already use Steam’s beta FPS (frame rate per second) counter or another utility to keep track of your frame rate while you’re playing on PC. (Some games, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, provide quick benchmarks that you can use to find out which graphics settings offer a playable frame rate. Others don’t have built-in benchmarks, however.) An FPS number over 60 should ensure smooth, comfortable gameplay.
The Xbox Game Bar’s FPS counter already summarizes your CPU and memory usage, but now it also tracks your FPS. To activate the Game Bar you have to click on Win + G, then the small monitor symbol in the middle of the symbol row. Note that the FPS indicator may not trigger immediately and you may need to restart your game, so enable it before you get too busy. click Win + G again so that everything disappears. (This feature will be introduced as part of the Game Bar app update, so you might be able to see it even if you don’t have the May 2020 update.)
To be honest, I don’t think much of Cortana’s transformation from an integrated part of Windows to a standalone app, if only because some of Cortana’s functionality seems to have been left behind. But it is undisputed that Cortana as an app is now a kind of treadmill with which you can carry out queries and save the information in a separate window.
It’s easy. Just click the Cortana icon as usual, then move and scale the window as desired. Note, however, that while Cortana is an app, you cannot uninstall it as usual without tweaking your PC’s registry.
Sure, there are other small tweaks like the new Windows icons and the updated Kaomoji. Our review takes a closer look at these if you want to dig deeper into the May 2020 update.