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Microsoft announces the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, the next Windows for your PC


Meet Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2020 Update. On Thursday, Microsoft said the latest iteration of Windows 10—known informally as Windows 10 20H1 or version 2004—has reached what Microsoft is calling its final build of the cycle, Build 19041.207.

The May 2020 Update build will begin rolling out soon to members of the “Release Preview” ring of the Windows 10 Insider program, which is reserved for those who wish to receive what are essentially final release builds early, with minimal risk to their devices. Microsoft isn’t saying when the Windows 10 May 2020 Update will roll out to the general public—beyond the general May 2020 timeframe, of course.

Microsoft is also apparently reserving its right to keep publishing new bug fixes until then. “We will continue to improve the overall experience of the May 2020 Update on customers’ PCs as part of our normal servicing cadence,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager of the Windows Insider program, in a blog post.

Microsoft has been extremely conservative in its timing of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update; Microsoft essentially stopped adding new features to the May 2020 Update around late November of 2019. Since then, developers have been slowly fixing bugs, most likely hyperconscious of avoiding repeats of showstoppers like the 2018 Windows 10 update glitch that erased user data.

As with other companies, Microsoft’s efforts have been slowed by the coronavirus, too. In a Mixer broadcast, senior product manager Jason Howard noted that a scheduled “bug bash” this week had been cancelled.

Microsoft windows 10 wsl2 terminal various tabs Mark Hachman / IDG

It’s overwhelmingly geeky, but the Windows 10 Subsystem for Linux (WSL) has been overhauled, creating WSL2.

How to get the Windows 10 May 2020 Update

Though the look and feel of Windows has changed, joining the Windows Update program to get the Windows May 2020 Update early remains as straightforward as when the program first began. (Remember, this is optional: Around May, your PC will receive the update automatically even if you’re not in the Insider program.) It’s also worth noting that this is still technically beta software; there’s a small, but real chance that something could go wrong, so make sure critical documents are backed up.

Otherwise, you can go to the Windows Settings menu, then to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and click the Get started button to kick off the process. You’ll have to have a Microsoft account associated with your machine, and allow Microsoft to access “full” diagnostic data on your PC.

microsoft windows update get new apps and fixes Microsoft

Part of the process of joining Windows Update is selecting the specific ring. This will join you to the Release Preview ring.

You’ll then need to pick the particular “ring” of the Insider Preview you wish to join. In this case, selecting “Release Preview” will attach your PC to this early preview of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, and nothing more. (It may be referred to as “Just fixes, apps, and drivers.”) You’ll need to reboot your PC, then proceed to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates. That will begin the lengthy download process, during which you can do other things. After the download has completed and installed, you’ll need to reboot again.

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