Windows 10 May 2020 update: What's new and how to download it

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Windows 10's next major update will arrive next month and we already know what new features it'll bring. While not the most significant release in recent years, the May 2020 update should offer several useful improvements. Perhaps the main highlight is an update to the Cortana voice assistant that separates it from the rest of the desktop. The main desktop search tool is also getting upgraded while smaller changes include the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. 

We'll go over the more important changes so you know what to expect and give you instructions on how to download the May 2020 update today. 

Windows 10 May 2020 update features

Rather than focusing on one sweeping change, Microsoft made the May 2020 update a collection of small improvements designed to enhance the quality of life for Windows 10 users. 

What Microsoft calls the "new Cortana experience" is the most significant change coming in the May 2020 update. Cortana is currently embedded in the search bar;  Once you've downloaded the May update, it will appear to the right of the search bar and you'll be able to resize and move it around your desktop.

Cortana will open to a new chat-style interface that lets you type in questions if you're not in the mood to speak aloud. That chat box will retain your past conversations so you can quickly revisit them. Quick search options in Cortana will let you ask popular questions without typing. From the Cortana chatbox, you can send emails and schedule meetings, among other things. 

In a related change, Microsoft added quick search options to the bottom of the main Search bar to bring you information about the weather, news, today in history or new movies. There is also a Bing image search that lets you grab a screenshot and search for information about it on Bing. 

Power users will appreciate changes to the Task Manager that show the temperature of your dedicated GPU. The Task Manager will also label your storage drives as SSD or HDD.  

There are a number of smaller changes being made to Settings, Virtual Desktops and other areas of Windows 10 that we won't go over in detail. We will, however, show you how to download the latest update manually so you can uncover all those changes yourself. 

How to download Windows 10 May 2020 update

The May 2020 update is currently available to testers and is expected to roll out to the general public sometime in May, barring any delays. 

You can wait for your laptop or desktop to receive the update or manually download it today. Before I show you how to do the latter, be aware that the current build is still in beta, so downloading it could cause your PC problems. 

If you want to try it out anyway, go to Settings>Update & Security>Windows Insider Program and choose Get Started. You'll need to link your Microsoft account and give Microsoft access to full diagnostic data of your PC. 

We recommend choosing "Just fixes, apps and drivers" from the next window to join the Release Preview ring. After your PC reboots, go to Settings>Update & Security>Windows Update. Press the "Check for updates" button and start downloading the May 2020 update. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.