- Microsoft is tweaking its approach to Windows updates.
- The company first released Windows 10 in 2015.
- While Apple rolls out one MacOS update a year, and Google and Apple each issue new versions of their mobile operating systems annually, Microsoft has stuck with two major releases each year since 2015.
Microsoft's latest update to its Windows 10 operating system is focused on improving the quality of existing features — like simplifying the creation of calendar items and upgrading the search experience — rather than adding new tools that users have to learn.
The upgrade, which the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday, marks Microsoft's semi-annual enhancement to its flagship operating system, which powers over 900 million devices, including PCs and tablets. Even as Microsoft pushes deeper into cloud software and infrastructure, it still counts on Windows for 16% of revenue.
While Apple rolls out one MacOS update per year, and Google and Apple each issue new versions of their mobile operating systems annually, Microsoft has stuck with its pattern of two major releases each year since 2015, when it released the original version of Windows 10. Prior to its current pattern of updates, Microsoft used to issue new versions of Windows every few years.
Some users have expressed concerns that there were too many big updates, which can be a particular challenge at big companies with thousands of employees that need to stay on top of the changes.
"Today, we are announcing that the Windows 10 November 2019 Update is now available for users on the most recent versions of Windows 10 who seek the new update via Windows Update," John Cable, Microsoft program management director, wrote in the blog post. "We have worked to make this a great experience for all devices, and an exceptionally fast update process for devices running the May 2019 Update."
Starting on Tuesday, Windows 10 users can request the new update by going to Settings, then to the Update & Security page and then the Windows Update section. From there, they can hit the Check for update button.
A more feature-rich update will follow in the first half of 2020.
Here are some of the new things included in the November update to Windows 10:
- You'll be able to activate non-Microsoft virtual assistants, like Amazon Alexa, using a voice command from the Windows 10 lock screen.
- You can create a new calendar event simply by opening up the calendar flyout from the Taskbar.
- The search box in the File Explorer will use Windows Search, which means files from OneDrive will show up with other search results.
- If your PC has the right components, you could see battery life and power efficiency gains.
- You might also find performance and reliability improvements because of a change to the way Windows assigns workloads to certain processor cores.