Keep your eye on Windows Update: today’s the day that the Windows 10 November 2019 Update ships for all users of Windows 10. That’s the bad news; the good news is that this is not a major feature update.
Yes, Microsoft has further reined in its development teams to make sure the second bi-annual feature update is less of a feature update and more of a Service Pack (remember them?), with most changes minor and behind the scenes.
Head over to Settings > Update & Security to start the update process; unlike previous updates, users should no longer find themselves forced to update before they’re ready. Alternatively, download the full ISO file to create an installation disc and boot from that if you plan to use the update as an excuse for a factory fresh reinstall.
The update itself shouldn’t take too long to complete, at which point you’ll be hard-pressed to see what’s changed. What visible changes are present in the November 2019 Update can mostly be found in the Action Centre, Windows’ notifications tool that’s accessible via the bottom right of the taskbar.
A new ‘Manage notifications’ shortcut has been added to the top of the Action Centre, while a Settings button has been added to each individual notification allowing you to switch off notifications for that app or reduce their number.
Click ‘Manage notifications’ and you’ll be whisked to a redesigned portion of Settings where you’ll find a few minor improvements, most notably an option to prevent notifications from making sounds and the ability to sort notifications by time (the new system default) or alphabetically – look for the ‘Sort by’ option.
Another related improvement can be found when configuring individual application notifications – now image thumbnails help identify what notification banners and regular notifications are.
File Explorer gets a significant update too: its search tool is now powered by the same Windows Search engine as found on the taskbar. In practical terms this means results from online OneDrive content are displayed alongside traditionally indexed files.
Users can now create an event or reminder directly from the taskbar when clicking the date/time and the Start navigation pane on the left can be expanded simply by rolling the mouse over the hamburger (≡) menu instead of clicking it.
One final visible tweak: users can now activate third-party digital assistants from the Lock screen.
Elsewhere under-the-hood improvements include the claim of improved efficiency and battery life for unidentified processors, and better distribution of work among CPUs with ‘favoured’ cores.
Windows 10 November 2019 Update is available for Windows 10 users through Windows Update now. Users can also download the ISO to create their own fully up-to-date installation media.