MICROSOFT HAS STARTED the rollout of the latest bi-annual update to Windows 10, right on some sort of vaguely exact schedule.
The Windows 10 November 2019 Update (Build 1909, or 19H2, depending on which numbering system you follow) is now available to anyone who proactively checks for updates on their machine, assuming all the compatibility criteria are met.
Build 1909 has already had a successful test with the Windows Insider community over the last quarter.
Unlike previous updates, 1909 won't be a whole new version of Windows. Rather, it will be offered as a set of new features for Build 1903, making it more like the Service Packs we knew and loved in older versions of Windows.
There are no stellar new features to report - that stuff will be saved for Spring updates - but there are some nice-to-haves amongst a load of stuff that under the hood that most people won't even notice.
Notifications get a minor overhaul in the form of a new "Manage Notifications" screen in the Action Centre. This is great, as up to now many of these settings have been spread about different menus across Windows. There's also a settings option within the pop-ups themselves, so you can get a handle on something you don't want to see, as soon as it appears.
Searching has changed too - now you can search across Windows and even into your OneDrive account from File Explorer, as well as the desktop search. Whether you'll be glad of that, is another matter.
Voice assistants also get an upgrade, or to be more precise, Cortana gets chucked back in her box, if you so wish, with Alexa able to replace her out-and-out soon. If that's not your bag, Microsoft has left the door open if Samsung Bixby (cue usual cough and splutter) or Google Assistant want to be integrated by their respective companies at a later date.
After several builds warning us that it was going, the Snipping Tool has now been fully superseded by Snip and Sketch, now part of a new toolbar of options that also replaces Ink Workspace.
We could go on, but the vast majority of the changes this time are under-the-hood and specific to certain chipsets and components, so let's just say that Microsoft thinks this will make it all run smoother.
Although there's less likelihood of a 'Service Pack' borking in quite the same way as a complete new build, Microsoft's reliability where updates is concerned has been, for want of a better phrase, complete toilet in recent years, so if you're in any doubt, wait for the release to come to you - even if you go searching for other updates, there's no pressure to install this one for now. μ
Not all it's Mac'd up to be
X marks the smart home
The lens said the better