Desktop Experience

Windows is releasing its newest version, 1903, this month. The April upgrade (19H1) will be the seventh major refresh that Microsoft is planning to release this spring.

This new version offers unique features and improvements.

Version 1903 has a lot of new changes, but don’t worry. We’ll explain everything.

Acumen will be posting a series of five blog posts that will serve as a guide for this new update.

Below you can find the first post which discusses the Windows 1903 desktop experience.

Sign-in with Your Smartphone

If your Microsoft account is linked with your phone, then you can now use an SMS code to sign-in and set-up your account without the need of a password.

But that’s not the only “Wow-factor” that Windows 1903 offers.

Once you’re in your Windows 10 account, you can use Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint or a PIN as your primary method of authentication.

This new version is also updating the reset experience to align with the design you see on Microsoft web services, so if you ever need to change your PIN, you’ll be familiar with the layout.

This alternative for signing in is also available across the operating system when a username and password is required, such as creating a new account.

Is that my printer?

With version 1903, it’s much easier to locate which printer is yours.

The name of the printer will now use a wrap instead of cutting off the name. That way, you won’t have to use the drop down menu to make sure you are printing from the correct device.

You’ll also notice that printing options now include icons and drop down menus as well as a line of description.

Simplified Start Menu

The Start menu will feature a new, simplified default layout that will appear on new installations and new accounts. The design features a sleek, one-column design with reduced top-level tiles.

When you hover over the navigation pane in the Start menu, it will now automatically expand after a short period of time.

There are also new icons for menu options, such as “Sleep,” “Shut down” and “Restart” in the power menu, as well as “Change account settings,” “Lock” and “Sign-out” options in the profile menu.

The Start menu will also appear on its own separate StartmenuExperienceHost.exe process. That way, it’s easier to debug and insulate the new experience from potential issues impacting other services.

Separating Search & Cortana

With this new update comes the separation of Cortana and the task bar. When you start a Search, there will be an updates landing page with better spacing to show recent activities and most recent apps.

When utilizing the Cortana experience, you’ll access the experience directly into the voice assistant.

In the Settings app, you’ll also find two pages; one to control Cortana settings and another to configure the Search experience.

New Taskbar Notification

Now Windows 10 will notify you if you lose internet connection. In the task bar notification area, a new “disconnected” icon will appear if your device is not connected to the internet for Ethernet, Wi-Fi or cellular adapters.

Slider for Brightness

This version adds a new slider so you can quickly adjust the brightness of your screen using any level rather than choosing between four levels of brightness.

You can also rearrange, add and remove buttons with ease. Instead of opening the Settings app, right-click a button, select Edit and then click Unpin to remove and Add to add a new button.

File Explorer Improvements

File Explorer’s new file date format, which is called “Friendly Dates,” displays dates in an easy, conversational way. Rather than showing the full date and time of when the document was modified, the column will take note of real time. For example, instead of 3/27/2019 at 10:30 a.m., the column will tell you how many minutes or hours ago that the document was last edited.

In order to find content faster, the “Downloads” folder now shows the most recent downloaded files at the top.

Last but not least, File Explorer also allows you to rename a file using a dot at the beginning of the name. For example, something like, “.acumenconsulting” is now allowed. In the past, this action would result in an error.

Optimized Clipboard Design

The new clipboard experience in Windows 1903 is getting updates in order to optimize the design for text snippets, making each entry smaller so you can see more content.

Lighter, More Vibrant Colors

In Windows 1903, there’s a new light system that allows you to choose lighter, more vibrant colors for the Start menu, Action Center, taskbar and touch keyboard.

The new color scheme is available in Settings > Personalization > Colors and selecting the Light option under “Choose your color” drop-down menu.

Windows 1903 Acrylic Effect

Windows 1903 is also adding an acrylic effect, which is part of Fluent design, to the sign-in background.

If you don’t like the new experience, you can disable it on the sign-in screen using the Group Policy Editor on Administrative Templates > System > Logon > “Show clear logon background”.

Game Bar

The Game bar is getting a new gallery to view screenshots and videos without having to leave the game. There’s also an option to share content directly on Twitter.

In our next post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the Windows 10 1903 Settings Experience.