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Microsoft releases Windows 10 update with Linux and Notepad enhancements

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Key Points
  • This is Microsoft's major feature update for the year.
  • Over 1 billion devices are running Windows 10.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2017.
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft is starting to release the latest twice-annual update to Windows 10, featuring enhancements to the longstanding Notepad app and a way to find your cursor in a sea of text.

Windows is the world's most popular PC operating system, and more than a billion devices are actively running Windows 10, which debuted in 2015. Last year Microsoft shifted to a cycle of a major update in the spring and a minor update in the fall, rather than a major update in each of those seasons each year. 

Microsoft has been testing different versions of the Windows update with a small pool of users for the past several months and is now ready to provide it to the full base.

Here are some of the more significant changes in the Windows 10 May 2020 update, aka the 20H1 update and version 2004: 

  • The Cortana virtual assistant can now create calendar events, send emails and bring up email messages from specific people.
  • Microsoft is delivering the second version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which will execute command-line instructions faster. 
  • The emoji picker, which can be accessed by holding down the Windows key and hitting the period key, now features additional kaomojis, or icons assembled using a string of characters, like the shruggie.
  • It's now possible to customize the names of virtual desktops, rather than using default names like "Desktop 1" and "Desktop 2."
  • A new cloud download option for resetting a PC is available.
  • The Task Manager app will display the temperature of dedicated graphics cards and specify the types of storage on your PC.
  • In Notepad, the title bar will show an asterisk if there are unsaved changes in your file, new keyboard shortcuts are available and if text is highlighted, the find/replace function will automatically place it in the text box.
  • A new setting of the Calculator app lets you always keep it on top, above other windows. 
  • A text cursor indicator, which can be enabled in Settings, allows for the adjustment of the size and color of the cursor.  
  • Dictation through speech is available in more languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Windows 10 users can check to see if the new version is available for download by visiting the Windows Update section of the Settings app and clicking the "Check for updates" button.

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