The Windows 10 April 2019 Update will be the first major update for Microsoft’s constantly-evolving Windows 10 operating system this year.
Also known as Windows 10 version 1903, or 19H1, the Windows 10 April 2019 Update continues Microsoft’s habit of releasing major tentpole updates that bring new features, tools and apps to Windows 10.
The Windows 10 2019 Update will follow the Windows 10 October 2018 Update and the April 2018 Update. Both of these updates brought a number of new features to Windows 10 – even if the October 2018 Update is having trouble convincing people to update. These updates aren’t strangers to controversy, though, but at least it looks like Microsoft Paint will stay active, if a recent insider build is anything to go by.
And, it looks like the Windows 10 April 2019 Update is going to be a big one. Not only are there a wealth of confirmed features like a system-wide Light Mode and the ability to pause updates, but we’ve seen rumors that the new Windows 10 build will be able to play native Xbox One games.
We’re hoping that the Windows 10 April 2019 Update will manage to arrive, as the name suggests, in April, avoiding some of the problems that plagued earlier updates. However, the April 2018 Update was infamous for missing its April launch date, as was the October 2018 Update, so we’ll have to wait and see.
With the launch of the Windows 10 April 2019 Update approaching, Microsoft has begun releasing early versions to Windows Insiders – who are customers who have signed up to try out the latest version of Windows 10.
Because of this, we’ve got a good idea of what sort of new features are coming with the Windows 10 April 2019 Update. So, read on to find out all the latest news, rumors, features and release date details about the Windows 10 April 2019 Update.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next major update for Windows 10
- When is it out? The Windows 10 April 2019 Update should be released in April
- What does it cost? As with previous major Windows 10 updates, it is free
Windows 10 April 2019 Update release date
We don’t have an official release date for the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, but going by the name, we can have a good guess.
So, it’s very likely that it will be ready to download at some point during April 2019. However, we won’t say that’s a complete certainty.
That’s because last year’s April 2018 update only just released in April. After a few delays, it emerged on April 30, which is cutting it a bit fine.
Meanwhile, the October 2018 Update was even more tardy, finally releasing on November 13 – and that’s not counting the times the update rollout was paused while Microsoft fixed numerous Windows 10 October 2018 Update problems.
With any major update to an operating system, delays and problems can arise, so the April 2019 release date isn’t guaranteed.
But, given that Microsoft has called given it the April 2019 Update title could mean that it’s finally confident that it will release the update during that month, as it won’t want the embarrassment of releasing a Windows 10 update with an outdated name again.
Windows 10 April 2019 Update name
We’ve known about the Windows 10 April 2019 Update for a while now, though it was mainly referred to as Windows 10 version 1903 and by its codename Windows 19H1.
The 19H1 codename gave us a clue to the release date and possible name, as it suggests the update will be released in the first half of 2019.
Rumours had been swirling that Microsoft would choose April 2019 Update as the name, following on from its April 2018 Update last year.
Another recent rumor all-but confirms the name of the update as the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, as a reference to the April 2019 Update was spotted in the Windows Powershell tool when the “Get-VMHostSupportedVersion” command is run.
This reference, which was found by Twitter user Tero Alhonen, is the strongest evidence so far that it will be called the Windows 10 April 2019 Update.
Of course, Microsoft could always change the name of the update before it’s released, especially if it looks like it will be delayed until later in the year.
However, considering the evidence, including Microsoft’s past naming conventions and the fact it wants it out in the first half of 2019, we’re pretty confident it will be called the Windows 10 April 2019 Update.
Windows 10 April 2019 Update confirmed features
Because an early version of Windows 10 April 2019 Update is available for Windows Insiders (like us) to try, we’ve got a good idea of some of the new features that will be heading to Windows 10 with this update.
As always with early versions of these Windows 10 updates, this list doesn’t have every new feature, but we’ll update it when major new features are announced.
Also, bear in mind that some of these features may be removed from the final version of the Windows 10 April 2019 Update for various reasons.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has been looking at ways to get people without an Xbox One to play its games, and now an early version of the upcoming Windows 10 April 2019 Update (also known as 19H1) hints at how Microsoft is tweaking the operating system to potentially make it possible to play native Xbox games on PC.
As Brad Sams on Thurrot.com explains, people who try out Windows 10 build 18334, the aforementioned early version of the April 2019 Update, also get a chance to try out Microsoft’s State of Decay game for free.
This struck some people as a little odd, as Microsoft doesn’t usually include free games in its early versions of Windows 10 – unless it was planning some big changes to how Windows 10 handles games.
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When you download State of Decay, rather than downloading the game from the Microsoft Store server (serverdl.microsoft.com), which is usually where PC versions of Xbox games are kept, the game instead downloads from assets1.xboxlive.com.
It therefore looks like you’re able to download the Xbox One version of the game, rather than a PC port. When the game is downloaded, it appears in the .xvc file format, which is an Xbox One file format, and this file can be installed using the updated PowerShell application in Windows 10 April 2019 Update.
Running the file pops up a legacy DirectX installation window. The latest build of the Windows 10 April 2019 Update also adds a new Gaming Service app (Microsoft.GamingServices) which installs two drivers xvdd.sys = XVD Disk Driver (Microsoft Gaming Filesystem Driver) gameflt.sys = Gaming Filter (Microsoft Gaming Install Filter Driver).
This is potentially big news, as it means that the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, and future versions of Windows 10, could play Xbox One games natively, without developers having to recode the game to run on PC.
While most Xbox One games are available on PC via Microsoft’s PlayAnywhere initiative, this new feature means it’ll be much quicker and easier for developers to get their games on PC.
It makes sense from Microsoft’s perspective, as the company has been looking at ways of making its Microsoft Store on PC and its Xbox Store on console work closely together. This move could mean there’s only one store across all devices.
Who knows, it might even mean you can insert an Xbox One game disc into a PC and run the games from there as well.
A new Light theme
The Windows 10 April 2019 Update will bring a new Light desktop theme, making a nice contrast to the Dark theme that we’re used to with Windows 10.
Not only does it make the taskbar and Start Menu lighter, but new icons have been created that better suits the new Light theme.
Best of all, you can mix and match parts of the Light and Dark theme to get a look that best suits your tastes.
A better Start menu
Microsoft has continued to tweak the Start Menu, and the changes it’s made in the Windows 10 April 2019 are definitely welcome.
First of all, the Start menu when you first use the update is much less cluttered, with tiles and shortcuts for pre-installed apps not taking up as much space.
However, there are still a number of apps and games that come pre-installed, and there are probably some that you don’t want to use. With the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, you can now uninstall more pre-installed apps that you used to.
Another notable change comes in the form of switching the Start menu to have its own dedicated process – StartMenuExperienceHost.exe rather than it being hosted by ShellExperienceHost.exe.
That might sound like a complex change under the bonnet, but the only noticeable ramification for the user will be that the Start menu runs more smoothly and is protected from potential issues which might be caused by other areas of the OS.
The end result is a more reliable Start menu, according to Microsoft, and a more responsive one too, because Start doesn’t suspend itself any longer, so that makes for a slightly quicker launch time.
Cortana is no longer integrated into the search box
In the Windows 10 April 2019 Update, Cortana will be separated from the search box in the taskbar.
As well as splitting search and Cortana on the taskbar, settings for these two have also been split up in Windows 10, along with group policies.
So now when you click search, you get a straightforward operating system search. And if you want to summon Cortana, you have to use her separate icon.
You can now pause updates
The Windows 10 April 2019 Update will allow people using Windows 10 Home edition to pause Windows updates for a set number of days.
This is a very handy feature that allows you a bit of breathing room when an update is released. It gives you time to check out to make sure that the update is working correctly, and if there are issues, you can pause the update until they’ve been fixed.
In a perfect world, a new Windows update would arrive without any problems, but as we’ve seen in the past, that rarely happens. This feature has been available to Enterprise and professional Windows 10 users, so it’s good to see it come to the Home version as well.
Reserved space for updates
One of the more controversial features that the Windows 10 April 2019 Update brings is that it will now reserve 7GB of space on your hard drive which will be used to store temporary files.
While some people may not like Windows 10 helping itself to yet more storage space on your hard drive, the idea is that this will make downloading Windows 10 updates easier in the future, and will prevent people experiencing an error where an update fails to install due to lack of space.
Windows Sandbox lets you experiment
If you’re running Windows 10 Professional, then the new Windows Sandbox tool could be of interest. It allows you to easily run a virtualized version of Windows 10 in a window, allowing you to run software and test out settings and code without it affecting your main Windows 10 installation.
This is only a taste of the new features that are coming to Windows 10 with the April 2019 Update. We’ll continue to update this list as we discover more.
Helpful error messages
The Blue Screen of Death is infamous at this point, popping up whenever Windows runs into a critical error, but they’ve never been very useful to average users. But, it looks like that might be changing with the Windows 10 April 2019 Update.
Microsoft is finally changing error messages to be more helpful – they’ll now tell you how to fix the problems. The error message will pop up when a problem is encountered, and users should see options to try and fix it. The error messages will also have a link to a knowledge base, rather than forcing users to rely on Google for answers.