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Windows 10: The Upcoming Features and Improvements in 20H1

Microsoft continues to test new features for Windows 10's Spring 2020 Update, officially codenamed 20H1. As Windows 10 20H1 builds are available to Windows Insiders, we are able to get a glimpse of upcoming features, improvements, and bug fixes that users have been waiting for.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the changes and improvements included in Windows 10 20H1 preview builds.


Sandbox improvements


The Windows Sandbox is a new feature that shipped with Windows 10 May 2019 Update that allows you to test programs and downloads in a virtual machine that has no effect on your normal Windows environment. With Windows 10 20H1, this feature is only getting better with the addition of configuration files.

Windows' latest update adds support for configuration files in Windows Sandbox that allow users to configure some aspects of the sandbox. For example, you can now set custom configurations for GPU, networking and shared folders.


Another new feature that Microsoft has been testing is support for hotkeys in Sandbox when the window is in full screen. The update includes a couple of bug fixes as well. For instance, a Windows Sandbox bug causing the program to not start on localized builds has been fixed.


Microsoft is also improving the way Sandbox reports problems to Microsoft. The error dialog now includes the error code and a link to the Feedback Hub.

Finally, Microsoft has enabled the microphone in Windows Sandbox to improve several accessibility scenarios.


Emoji 12.0 update


The update also introduces Emoji 12.0 support.


When you press WIN+(period) or WIN+(semicolon), the Emoji panel will display and keywords have been associated with emojis so that you can easily search for the one you want to use.

Example keywords include otter, sloth, waffle, ballet shoes, and more.


Notepad improvements


If Windows restarts automatically for updates and a Notepad window was open, on restart Notepad will be opened and the unsaved content will be restored.


SwiftKey’s Typing intelligence for even more languages


Microsoft has been working on bringing SwiftKey’s typing intelligence to Windows 10 and the next update adds support to 39 new languages.


Your Phone app improvements

Microsoft is expanding Your Phone's screen mirroring feature support to additional phone models – OnePlus 6, OnePlus 6T, Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, Note 8, Note 9.


Microsoft also aims to boost your focus and productivity by letting you access or view the phone’s notifications on your PC. If you dismiss a notification on one device, it goes away on the other.


You can:

  • See incoming phone notifications in real-time

  • View all of your phone notifications in one place

  • Customize which notifications you want to receive

  • Clear notifications individually or all at once

Dictation support for more languages


You can use Windows' dictation feature in Canada, UK, Australia, India, French (France), French (Canada), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), Portuguese (Brazil), and Chinese (Simplified, China).


Friendly Dates from Explorer removed


Microsoft is removing Friendly Dates from Windows 10, but the feature may return at some point in future.


Friendly Dates, or Conversational Format, is a feature that Microsoft was testing in early Windows 10 Insider 19H1 builds that displayed file dates in a more "conversational format" such as "minutes ago", "yesterday", "hours ago", etc."


File Explorer improvements

Windows 10 20H1 introduces a new File Explorer search experience that uses Windows Search. While it may sound like a small change, it could actually help you integrate your OneDrive content with the traditional indexed results.


You'll notice a dropdown populated with suggested files when you type for your files or pictures in File Explorer's search box.


Predictive Typing


Microsoft has introduced a currently hidden feature that enables predictive typing in Windows 10 20H1 builds. A demonstration of this predictive typing is shown below.

Accessibility improvements


  • Narrator is now more efficient when reading tables.

  • Header information is not repeated when navigating within the same row or column.

  • Entering and exiting tables is also less verbose.

  • There’s a new command in Narrator to give a webpage summary: (Narrator + S). Currently this command will give information about hyperlinks, landmarks and headings.

  • Windows Magnifier has a new ability to keep the text cursor in the center of the screen making it easier and smoother to type. Centered on the screen is on by default and can be changed in the Magnifier settings.

Task Manager improvements


Disk type is visible in Task Manager performance tab and you can finally figure out if your PC has SSD or HDD storage.

New OneDrive icon


Microsoft is also introducing a new OneDrive icon to Insiders that supports both dark and light theme.

Windows Update improvements


Microsoft understands that limiting Windows Update download speeds against a percentage of available bandwidth isn’t helpful or easy enough.


Microsoft is adding a new option to limit the Windows Update by absolute value.

You can now enter an absolute value in Mbps for Foreground downloads (downloads that you initiate from Windows Store) or Background downloads.


Windows Subsystem for Linux 2


WSL 2 is finally here with Windows 10 20H1 and it also introduces a new architecture that powers the Windows Subsystem for Linux, so you can directly run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows.


Microsoft says the architecture uses a real Linux kernel to change how these Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer’s hardware.

Windows Ink Workspace improvements


Windows Ink Workspace won't cover your entire screen and Microsoft is also allowing the Ink Workspace to utilize whiteboarding experiences by adding a new direct link to Whiteboard app.


Whiteboard is a digital canvas by Microsoft that aims to bring ideas, content, and people together. It comes with the following features:

  • Infinite canvas.

  • Optional backgrounds (including graph paper and solid dark grey) to choose from, rainbow ink support, multiple pages.

Minor tweaks

  • Windows Light theme updated to Windows (light) name

  • You can now access and even browser file system of WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) directly in File Explorer

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