The next two Windows 10 updates, code-named “19H2” and “20H1,” reflect Microsoft’s recent decision to split the major Windows 10 feature releases into two: a full-fledged update, with new features, and a secondary patch update. We’ve already had the major “19H1” update, known officially as the May 2019 Update, so we’re now looking forward to the minor 19H2 patch and then the major 20H1 feature release. Here’s what we know so far about both of them.

As of July 2019, the upcoming 19H2 feature will focus on “quality enhancements,” while the “20H1” feature will return to more substantive improvements. If the latter hews to Microsoft’s usual schedule, it’ll drop in March or April of 2020. Interim beta builds will provide further hints about what’s coming, and we’ll continue to cover them. Meanwhile, here’s where we stand on each release as of early August:

New features for Windows 10 19H2

Microsoft has aimed the 19H2 release primarily at enterprises, but a few potential features from recent builds are intriguing. We’ll also see a number of tweaks to various UI elements.

A change to enable third-party digital assistants to voice-activate above the Lock screen

Previously, Windows 10 voice control was the domain of Cortana. But with Amazon Alexa’s integration into Windows as a Cortana skill, it appears you’ll be able to yell at a laptop or desktop running Alexa, similar to the way you’d command a smart speaker.

A fix to reduce the inking latency based on device capabilities

According to Microsoft, Windows apparently “decided” on its own what the inking latency could be depending on the typical hardware configuration, rather than the actual capabilities of the device. An odd decision to make in the first place, but one that’s apparently been rectified. With the 19H2 release, OEMs will be able to set this themselves. 

Divvying up work among “favored” CPU cores

A CPU may have multiple “favored” cores (logical processors of the highest available scheduling class), according to Microsoft. To provide better performance and reliability, Microsoft has implemented a rotation policy that distributes work more fairly among these favored cores, the company says. That may help the longevity and performance of certain CPUs.

Windows 10 S now supports traditional Win32 apps via InTune

Windows 10 S was originally designed to only apps from the Windows Store, not “wild” Win32 apps from any source. Now there’s a compromise: admins will be able to send managed Win32 apps to Windows 10 S machines.

Notifications are better managed

You’ll now see the options to turn off a particular app’s notifications right from the notifications. Notifications settings under Settings > System > Notifications will now default to sorting notification senders by most recently shown notification, rather than the sender name, according to Microsoft. And a “Manage Notifications” button at the top of the Action Center will launch the Settings page.

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