The first big update of 2020 is due to start rolling out in April 2020.
It’s early 2020, and Microsoft is getting ready to release… Windows 10 version 2004? No, that’s not a typo, and no, we have not passed through some weird time warp to the previous decade back to 2004.
Microsoft’s next Windows 10 feature update follows the same yymm naming syntax as its predecessors (versions 1809, 1903, 1909, and so on). Version 2004 is scheduled for general release in April 2020 (yy=20, mm=04), making the confusing name inevitable. And let’s not even talk about the even more baffling version 2010, which will arrive in the second half of 2020 around October.
Confusing names aside, this feature update has a lot to recommend it. Under the new Windows Update rules, version 2004 will be optional on a PC that’s already running either of the 2019 feature updates 1903 (19H1), 1909 (19H2).
Windows 10 Version 2004, likely known as the April 2020 Update, will begin rolling out this spring with a few notable new features and changes. This certainly isn’t a large update, but some of the improvements will be welcomed by many.
To begin, there’s a brand new Cortana experience that puts typing front and center. It’s a cleaner experience with a UI, but it’s not without issue. For example, the new Cortana cannot access your notebook, and also cannot control skills or connected home devices, which is unfortunate.
Other notable changes in this release are improvements to Virtual Desktops, which can now be named and are saved across reboots. There’s also improvements in the Settings App, including the ability to remove your Microsoft Account password as an option for logging in on your device, restricting it to Windows Hello methods only.
There’s plenty of other smaller changes as part of this release, including the new Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.
You can read the official documentation, check out “What’s new for Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds (20H1)” at the Windows Insider Program site.
Note that some of the features Microsoft listed in that document as coming in the version 2004 feature update are already here, at least with a PC running Windows 10 version 1909 (19H2). That list includes new features in the Calculator app, including an Always on Top option, as well as big changes in the Your Phone app (with the biggest changes available for owners of Android phones).
Updates to version 1909 also preview substantial changes to Cortana, separating it completely from Windows Search. You can see other changes to Windows Search in the File Explorer search box, and Microsoft says it has fine-tuned disk usage by the Windows Search indexer to deal with longstanding complaints that the indexer can be too aggressive.