Microsoft Could Release Another Windows 10 “Service Pack” in 2020

Microsoft has already finalized Windows 10 20H1, officially known as version 2004, and the company is now focusing positioned on last-minute polishing and bug fixes prior to the public release scheduled for the spring.

At the same time, Microsoft should begin the job on the next feature update for Windows 10, codenamed 20H2 and due in the fall of the year.

But as it turns out, there might ‘t be an excessive amount of to test in Windows 10 20H2, due to the fact Microsoft wants this selection update to concentrate totally on under-the-hood refinements, rather than on new features.

Seems like familiar, it’s because this is precisely the concept Windows 10 19H2 (November 2019 Update) was based on, with lots of describing it as something pack, as opposed to a genuine feature update for the operating-system.

Windows 10 20H2 preview builds not far off

Quite simply, there’s an opportunity Windows 10 20H2 will finish up becoming a little more than something pack too, bringing rather subtle improvements instead of breaking changes and new features.

This means the upcoming Windows 10 20H1 feature update due in the spring will be the star of the year, as it’s indeed a feature-packed release.

For some people, this method is sensible, especially as numerous criticized Microsoft for its fast release cadence. Since two large feature updates each year may be difficult to deploy in large organizations, a lightweight fall update that ships as a regular cumulative update and focused specifically on quality improvements would make more sense moving forward.

Microsoft recently said that Fast ring insiders would begin testing new features with no specific release date, so possibly the company indeed wants to take more time on the under-the-hood refinements in Windows 10 20H2.

For now, it’s more important to take this as a rumor, as Microsoft is yet to verify its plans for Windows 10 20H2. Preview builds should land shortly, so it won’t take very long until we find out if another service pack is coming or otherwise.

Windows 10 Themes Should Include More than Just Wallpapers

Microsoft keeps releasing new Windows 10 themes in the Microsoft Store once in a while, but because many discovered the hard way, these don’t bring other things than wallpapers.

So with Windows 10, Microsoft has pretty much reinvented the definition of a Windows theme, virtually transforming the whole concept to simple packs of wallpapers that users can download from the Microsoft Store.

Funny enough, even Microsoft itself explains that a theme should bring more than just wallpapers.

“A theme is really a mixture of desktop background pictures, window colors, and sounds,” the organization says in the description from the themes it published on its official website.

A similar description is posted within the Microsoft Store as well in the themes category.

“Put your personality inside your Windows desktop. Explore dazzling wallpapers, sounds, accent colors, and much more cool customizations.”

And yet, what we get is really a wallpaper pack, which although includes high-quality photos, is way from what users normally expect from a Windows theme.

Let’s take “Ice Crystals PREMIUM” as an example. Published in the Microsoft Store with the “premium” tag for a reason that I truly can’t figure out, the theme comes with the following description:

“Etch your desktop with frosty swirls and elaborate patterns in these 15 premium 4K images, free for Windows 10 themes. These images are to be used as desktop wallpaper only.”

Back in the days when Windows 7 was still being anything, themes brought so much more tweaks to the desktop, including the customizations that Microsoft itself pointed to above in the description from the theme concept. Sounds and colors were also included in Windows 7 themes, and third-party packs even brought further changes, such as mouse cursors along with other modifications.

In Windows 10, however, themes come down to wallpapers and that’s virtually it.

There are user posts requesting more content in Windows 10 themes all around the web, including in the Feedback Hub, the main feedback channel that Microsoft recommends for sending the company thoughts and recommendations for further improvements.

“I don’t like themes since i expected more than [a] number of wallpapers. I’m able to change my wallpaper,” one user explains.

And honestly, yes, anyone can alter the wallpaper without the need for downloading a pack in the Microsoft Store. I actually do admit the wallpaper packs that the company releases as themes are pretty cool and some from the backgrounds are really awesome, however this doesn’t mean they must be marked as themes anyway. Why not labeling these downloads as wallpaper packs to begin with?

As mentioned in the past, there are other ways in which Microsoft can use to bring the desktop alive, including a discharge of Windows Spotlight to desktop. Spotlight currently uses Bing to replace the lock screen wallpaper with a brand new background every day, but for now, this selection doesn’t support the desktop. With your an update, Windows Spotlight would technically make it possible to achieve the desktop wallpaper refreshed every day.

Around the advantages, let’s not forget that Microsoft has equipped Windows 10 with new visual styles, and in addition towards the dark mode, the most recent feature updates also feature with a refreshed light mode. Both look great and align with the modern push of the operating-system overall, but at the end of the day, there’s still no reason to release a wallpaper pack like a theme anyway.

For the time being, there’s very little we can do about this, other than send Microsoft more feedback in this regard. So if you want themes to incorporate more than just wallpapers, you know what you need to do.

Microsoft’s Foldable Dream Coming True: Dell Announces Concept Ori and Duet

Last year, Microsoft announced the top Neo and Surface Duo, the company’s own dual-screen devices designed to function as pioneers of a new form factor that pushes Windows much more beyond the traditional desktop.

At that time, Microsoft promised several partners would follow in the footsteps, and this week at CES, we finally obtain a closer take a look at who’s prepared to invest in this cool product category.

Dell is one of the companies apparently betting big on dual-screen and foldable devices, and also the so-called Concept Ori and Concept Duet give to us an earlier glimpse into its long-term plans in this market.

Concept Ori is Dell’s foldable device that comes with mysterious specs, as the company avoided to share any specifics due to the fact the job about this project is still in the early days. However, Concept Ori appears to be based on a traditional foldable device recipe, with one large screen that folds, creating two separate screens, which could probably be utilized individually or together for increased screen estate.

Windows 10 Pro

Concept Duet, however, feels and looks like Microsoft’s Surface Neo, so it’s a dual-screen device seems to push laptops form factor past the current version.

Duet features two different 13.4-inch FHD displays and supports multiple form factors, as you can see within the press photos that Dell provided to us.

Quite interesting is the fact that Dell has been inspired by the dual-screen concepts that have made the rounds within the last few years on several occasions. For example, Duet comes with a standalone keyboard that may be placed at the bottom of 1 from the screens, technically allowing one display to act like a keyboard and touchpad, converting the device right into a more traditional laptop.

Both devices seem to run Windows 10 Pro rather than Windows 10X, Microsoft’s operating-system specifically built for dual-screen and foldable devices. However, it’s vital that you keep in mind they are still concepts for the time being and anything can change by the time the go-ahead for that production versions is offered.

Of course, Dell hasn’t provided an ETA, but I wouldn’t be surprised when the company launches a foldable or dual-screen model shortly after Microsoft unveils the Surface Neo and Surface Duo later this year.

Microsoft Removes SwiftKey Settings from Windows 10 Version 2004

Microsoft has removed SwiftKey settings from preview builds of Windows 10 version 2004, or Windows 10 20H1, which is scheduled to produce early in the year of the year.

Furthermore, it seems that all references towards the keyboard app are gone, and similar changes are being made to Windows 10 20H2, according to a report from German site Deskmodder.

Windows 10 20H2 may be the second update of the season and is scheduled to produce within the fall of 2020.

All configuration options which have previously been offered in the Settings app aren’t available, and also the aforementioned source speculates that the reason for the removal may be the low usage. Of course, this really is something that remains seen if Microsoft indeed removes SwiftKey completely for Windows 10.

Microsoft SwiftKey

SwiftKey is currently probably the most popular keyboard apps on Android and iOS and Microsoft promised to bring it to Windows 10, mostly to improve typing in touch mode.

The lower usage could indeed be considered a reason behind SwiftKey going away, because the touch side of Windows 10 continues to be without terms of adoption and many users keep going the operating-system on PCs and laptops with the traditional mouse and keyboard input.

On the other hand, SwiftKey keeps getting improvements on Android and iOS, and Microsoft rolls out updates regularly, either with further polishing here and there or with the help of new languages. The advanced prediction engine, however, continues to be top feature of SwiftKey, therefore if Microsoft indeed decides to remove it from Windows 10, it could be a significant loss for all those counting on the laptop keyboard app for faster typing.

I’ve reached out to Microsoft to ask for more information about SwiftKey’s future in Windows 10 and will update the article when and if an answer is offered.

2019 Was the Year When Windows 10 Conquered the Desktop

Windows 10, the operating system that Microsoft officially launched in mid-2015, became the number one desktop platform in 2020 after it managed to overtake its predecessor Windows 7.

Statistics provided by market analyst firm NetMarketShare provide a closer take a look at how Windows 10 performed last year, highlighting its growth throughout the year despite occasional small hiccups.

Windows 10 started the entire year with 40.90% market share before dropping to 40.30% the next month. It reached an industry share of 54.30% in November and ended 2020 with a personal record of 54.62%.

Windows 10 to continue growing

Windows 7, however, lost share of the market throughout the year, obviously due to the approaching end of support set for January 14. Windows 7 was running on 37.19% from the devices worldwide Twelve months ago and then dropped gradually to a share of the market of 26.64% in December. With less than fourteen days left until the end-of-life is reached, the market share of Windows 7 is extremely prone to continue going down, albeit not all devices is going to be upgraded before milestone is reached.

Needless to say, the rest of the os’s are far behind and pose no threat to the dominance of Windows 10. For example, Windows 8.1 is running on just 3.63% from the systems worldwide, while macOS 10.14 has a share of the market of 3.50%.

Windows 10 will undoubtedly continue growing throughout the year, not only because it’s the newest form of Windows, but also following the demise of Windows 7. Many upgrades are required to select Windows 7, specially in the enterprise where Microsoft is pushing a hardship on users to embrace Windows 10.

Microsoft will even release two feature updates for Windows 10 this year, the very first of which has already been finalized and is expected to become readily available for the very first wave of production devices in April or May.

Windows 10 may soon automatically uninstall broken Windows Updates

It looks like Microsoft has quietly added a new feature to Windows 10 that will allow the operating system to automatically remove any broken Windows Updates that are causing issues.

This really is great news, as Windows 10 has had a number of problematic updates recently, most of which have prevented Windows 10 from loading.

Based on a new support document that has been authored by Microsoft, if Windows 10 downloads an update and runs into issues – perhaps due to driver incompatibilities – after trying numerous automatic troubleshooting processes, Windows 10 will remove the latest update whether it can’t be remedied.

When this happens, a notification will appear explaining that Windows 10 has removed some ‘recently installed updates to recover your device from the startup failure’.

The update that’s resulting in the issue will also be blocked from being installed automatically for Thirty days, where Microsoft will hopefully fix any difficulties with the update.

Quiet launch

This new feature is welcome, because the general advice for people who have problems after installing an update is to uninstall the update to ascertain if that fixes things. With Windows 10 doing that automatically, it ought to mean people don’t waste a lot of time trying to get Windows 10 working again.

Obviously, Windows Updates ought to be fixing problems, not creating them, which is probably why Microsoft has very quietly presented this selection.

Based on Windows Latest, which discovered the documentation, Microsoft published the support document without any official announcement, also it apparently even blocked search engines like google from discovering the page.

Windows 10’s run of problematic updates continues to be embarrassing for Microsoft, which might explain why the company has quietly launched this feature. Hopefully future Windows Updates won’t be plagued by problems, so we’ll rarely check this out feature in action.

Alexa has become hands-free on all Windows 10 devices

The Windows 10 app for Alexa is now hear and act on commands without you needing to lift a finger.

As noted through the Verge, the most recent form of the app on the Windows Store is now hear the ‘wake word’ (Alexa, Computer, or Echo, based on your preference) while the app is running in the background or minimized.

Previously Windows 10 users needed to hold down a button for Alexa to actively listen, making the update one step forward for convenience. However, if you would rather Amazon’s voice assistant wasn’t always listening in you, you can revert towards the previous settings within the app.

If you’re a Windows 10 user and do not want to use Alexa at all, it’s not able to hear you if the app isn’t open, or just was not downloaded.

Always listening?

Amazon’s voice assistant feels pretty much ubiquitous nowadays, having launched on its range of Amazon Echo devices making its method to Windows 10, Xbox One, Android and much more.

As the technology itself can prove hugely useful, users still have concerns with how their information is being managed, particularly when they own a device that is technically always listening.

Alexa hypothetically only records conversations following the ‘wake word’ is spoken, when you actually would like it to give consideration. Only last month claims emerged of Amazon employees playing back recorded conversations (albeit to enhance Alexa’s transcription software) or being able to view users’ home addresses.

While users are continually needing to weigh up their privacy versus convenience, it is just a fair choice when we know precisely what’s being done with this data, and why.

Imagining a Windows 10 Version Created by Apple

Windows and macOS continue to be considered fierce rivals within the OS market, and both Microsoft and Apple are truly dedicated to developing new features that would eventually set many aside from competition.

Windows 10 itself has evolved a great deal within the last few years, and Microsoft is pushing difficult to make it a practical system for everyone and everything. For this reason Windows 10 can now operate on a multitude of devices, while also offering an abundant feature lineup which includes productivity, gaming, and touch-optimized capabilities.

Even though some such as the new direction that Microsoft has embraced because of its operating system, others want the company to follow in Apple’s footsteps and make Windows more like macOS.

macOS-inspired Windows 10

A concept developed by Kamer Kaan Avdan goes one step further and imagines a Windows 10 version produced by Apple, envisioning a mix of features which are already available for Microsoft users but with improvements coming from macOS.

The Start menu, for example, which I think looks a little bit cluttered, features what seems to be a better live tile concept that depends on an Apple-inspired design, with rounded corners that remind of macOS and iOS icons. Furthermore, the idea details a greatly-improved File Explorer in addition to iMessage for Windows, which may essentially bring Apple’s messaging platform beyond its walled garden.

The redesigned Action Center is the part which i like the most, and despite being obviously inspired from Apple’s control center, some of the improvements highlighted in the concept would actually seem sensible in Windows 10. Including the brightness slider, that is, as Microsoft for some reason sticks with pre-defined brightness levels in its OS.

A dark theme, improved search, and iPhone integration are the other features envisioned in the concept. And of course, while some of those ideas could at some point make their method to Windows 10 in a single form on another, don’t expect Windows 10 to find yourself getting so near to macOS.

Animated Windows 10 Desktop Is Living Proof Themes Must Be A lot more than Wallpapers

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Microsoft’s work in the Windows 10 customization department lately, you probably realized that the software giant releases new themes for that operating-system in the Microsoft Store every once in a while.

And while themes generally bring several tweaks to a specific product, Microsoft has reinvented this concept in Windows 10, therefore the themes that it releases to users in the Microsoft Store aren’t anything more than packs of wallpapers.

Meanwhile, users available keep dreaming about more in terms of customizations, and more often these days, they actually achieve a remarkable degree of desktop tuning with the help of third-party software.

“Third-party desktop customizations”

This is actually the case of the Solar System-themed Windows 10 desktop, that has been created with a bundle of tools available totally free and which anyone can turn to for similar projects.

The apps that you’ll require are Rainmeter (for the desktop skin) and FalconX, which could center the taskbar. The Rainmeter skin for the desktop is available here.

As mentioned not a long time ago, animated wallpapers or fully-featured themes should make a return to Windows 10 eventually, because they give users more customization turn on a normally dull desktop. During most of the cases the performance drop is one thing to worry about, the creator of this desktop says their tweaks don’t really slow down the system.

“It needs a maximum 25 MB of memory and utilizes a maximum 5% from the processor. On an average, it used only 10 MB of memory and fewer than 2.5% from the processor,” a post on reddit explains.

You can re-create this desktop on your device using the tools and skin mentioned previously.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update ranges from strength-to-strength with nearly half of users upgrading

Windows 10 May 2019 Update continues to make great strides in terms of adoption, using the latest version of Microsoft’s OS now on nearly half from the Windows 10 PCs available.

This really is according to the latest report from AdDuplex, which implies that in September, the May 2019 Update increased its market share to 45.5% (going through statistics derived from Microsoft Store apps carrying the company’s adverts).

That’s a substantial 12.5% increase on last month, and when you go back to July, Windows 10 May 2019 Update was just on 11.4% of PCs. So in 2 months, its adoption level has quadrupled, clearly showing Microsoft isn’t afraid to push forward with a swift deployment here (despite all the recent bug fixes causing other bugs we’ve been recently witnessing in cumulative updates for that new edition of Windows 10).

April floodgates

As was the situation recently, the majority of those upgrading are from the April 2018 Update, which dropped from 33.1% to 24.1%. This is because users still running this April update are facing an ever-nearing end-of-support deadline (November 12) and thus upgrades are being forced on their machines (with Microsoft skipping them straight within the October 2018 Update, which was notoriously problematic).

Talking about the October 2018 Update, one fourth of the users list – 25.5% – are still about this form of Windows 10 (a small decrease from 28.7% last month).

If you’re one of those folks around the April 2018 Update being nagged by upgrade prompts, and also you don’t fancy making the forced proceed to the latest version of Windows 10 just yet, remember that while you can’t indefinitely avoid upgrading, you are able to delay the procedure to give you some breathing space.