4 Windows 10 predictions for 2019

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

2018 has been a crazy year, not all of it great for Windows. Now, 2019 is nearly upon us which means it's time to start thinking about what might be in store for the year ahead. Based on a little bit of educated guesswork, knowledge of internal plans, and a splash of hope, here are my predictions for Windows in 2019.

Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows Lite

In 2018, the existence of something called Windows Lite reared its head. A few rumors have popped up since then, describing it as a Chrome OS competitor focused on web experiences, but we still know almost nothing about what Windows Lite really is. Quite a few internal sources have told me that Windows Lite is on track, and depending on whether or not Microsoft can keep to its internal schedule, we'll see it announced officialyl at BUILD 2019 in the spring.

I expect if that happens, we'll see Microsoft show off the new Windows Lite OS experience, built on Windows Core OS and CShell, and also explain its intentions to developers for this platform. In addition, it might not be so surprising to see Microsoft hand-out some kind developer device with Windows Lite installed. Windows Lite is the version of Windows we're expecting will run on new form-factors like Centaurus, after all.

Microsoft updates Windows Update

Windows Update Insider

Windows Update Insider (Image credit: Windows Central)

After the year Microsoft has had with Windows updates, it wouldn't surprise me if we see improvements to the Windows Update system in 2019. While I don't think Microsoft is going to cut-back to one update a year, I do think Microsoft is going to improve Windows Update so that when those feature updates are available, the rebooting process to install that update becomes minimal, just like on Android or Chrome OS.

On those platforms, when a new update is available, that update gets downloaded and installed onto a mirror image of the OS you're using. When the update is installed, the OS tells you it needs to restart to complete the update, but what's really happening is the OS is switching from the live image to the mirror image, where the new update has been installed, resulting in a reboot that lasts only a few seconds.

While the technical side of things may not be identical to that system, the result would be faster updates and less downtime for the user. These changes to Windows Update may be exclusive to Windows Core OS devices, but I'd hope that these improvements will make their way to legacy Windows 10 eventually too.

In addition, I also expect we'll see extra care taken when a feature update is made available. This year saw the October 2018 Update delete user files upon install, which is pretty bad. I don't think we'll be seeing anything like that again, as Microsoft has upped its internal strategy to ensure that when a feature update is finalized and sent out to the world, it has been vigorously tested internally and externally with Insiders.

Chromium Edge launches to the masses

Microsoft Edge logo in Windows search

Microsoft Edge logo in Windows search (Image credit: Windows Central)

2018 saw Microsoft give up its Edge efforts in favor of a new Edge browser built on Chromium. That new version of Edge is currently being built out internally, and employees internally are already able to download and test the latest alpha builds, which already has support for Microsoft Account login, syncing bookmarks and more to the browser.

Microsoft officially announced that developers should expect to see a preview build of the new browser made available in the first half of 2019, I suspect that will happen in the springtime. I predict a shipping version of the browser will be made available to the public in late 2019, with the browser itself replacing the default one in Windows 10 in the 2020 spring update, codenamed 20H1.

Search and Cortana are reworked on Windows 10

Microsoft has been rumored to be working on new search and Cortana experiences in Windows 10 for quite some time now, and I think we'll finally see that work come into fruition in 2019. Microsoft is already A/B testing a split between both Cortana and search experiences in 19H1, and if that change goes ahead, Microsoft will have to rework both experiences so that they stand on their own, as right now when Cortana and search are split, the experience is rough.

Microsoft is also taking search very seriously in Windows 10 after feedback from users suggested that search in Windows 10 is terrible compared to previous versions of Windows. We'll see more improvements to search under the hood so that the search experience is more accurate and fast when searching for local files and programs.

What do you think?

Those are my predictions for Windows in 2019. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

103 Comments
  • re: Microsoft updates Windows Update
    > the rebooting process to install that update becomes minimal, just like on Android or Chrome OS. We aren't using mobile phones. The Windows update process should be much better than it is now on the PC, and certainly much better than it is on any mobile device right now. There should be no reason why, given that Microsoft already experimenting with a virtualised sandbox for apps, and the extent that Hyper-V is used that we can't run an instance of Windows or it's core in a Hyper-V and just hand over to another (patched) instance without having to reboot much in the same way VMs are migrated to different servers to maintain uptime and failover support already.
    For the latest hardware this should be no problem, most machines have at least vt-x support and the only real reason you'd need to reboot from a windows update would be for a hyper-visor upgrade. re:Search and Cortana are reworked on Windows 10
    I think at this point, Cortana is pretty much dead for users. Microsoft deep down knows this and they're just flogging a dead horse with it. They failed to push it on the mobile front and pushed it into Windows 10 late into the demise of the mobile platform. They made very little headway into the consumer 'AI' devices like home assistant appliances, Amazon's echo with Alexa etc.
    They could have easily blown Google, Apple and Amazon away if they had used some cool part of their Cortana IP from Halo like this guy did with a 3D home assistant. Instead they just let it pass them by, even the home thermostat has been pretty much supressed now.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fggE3VI3NRg
    I think the best thing they could do with Cortana now, is just allow it to be a API feature set that you can replace with other assistances, like Amazon's Alexa, or Google and let users just get on with what they're already starting to buy into. Otherwise it's just going to be one more step into moving away from Windows to another productive platform, like Chrome where everything is neatly and tightly intergraded into their lifestyle.
  • The IBM PC is not built this way. The bios needs to run through before you can reliably switch to another OS instance. This is the reason why hibernate and win8/10 quick shut down requires a proper restart at some stage.
  • What I do know is that very few packages, namely a new kernel require a reboot after updating on UNIX/Linux machines to be effective. So it is not only IBM PC, this is a part of the system MS is lagging behind for many years. The time and resources we see Windows machines dedicate to the updating effort is not efficient. They absolutely have to improve in this realm.
  • I think you're wrong on the "the OS is switching from the live image to the mirror image".
    Windows is too bloated for that to happen and android is too basic to be that complex.
  • I disagree. Dual boot tech had been around for a long time (in windows) . The concept is similar.
  • I didn't say its not possible. Of course this is what happens when you upgrade Windows, a new image is created and the old is renamed Windows.old.
    Fact is this method will never make updates quicker than cumulative updates, which only changes the files that are affected.
  • You also have to consider the storage space required for the mirror image, and that it wouldn't be possible with many low end tablets and laptops with minimal storage space.
  • My 4 predictions for Windows 10 in 2019. 1. There will be an update that destroys your install. 2. There will be another update that destroys your install. 3. There will be yet another update that destroys your install. 4. The update to Windows update will destroy your install.
  • That's so funny
  • I have 4 predictions too:
    1. I won't have any significant problems with updates, just like last year and the year before and the year before.
    2. I won't have any significant problems with updates, just like last year and the year before and the year before.
    3. I won't have any significant problems with updates, just like last year and the year before and the year before.
    4. I won't have any significant problems with updates, just like last year and the year before and the year before.
  • I've had 4 laptops this year, all from different manufacturers, and I've had ZERO issues caused by updates or Windows. Except my Logitech Brio camera, abs in not sure who is to blame there. I suspect Logitechs driver updates are to blame.
  • Have you checked for firmware update for the camera?
  • Don't forget the update to fix the update to the update that updated the update that destroys your install... it'll destroy your install too. Just to be sure.
  • These all sound like reasonable, modest predictions. Not too exciting, though. I hope Microsoft still has a vision for Windows beyond maintaining it as the preeminent platform for business and high-end gaming. Or, if the platform *is* in maintenance mode, I'd like to see a commitment to polishing/streamlining/unifying. There are still plenty of quirks and inconsistencies that could be dealt with.
  • 1. Microsoft will file and leak at least 3 more... patents... on the mythic and illusive Andromeda dream device. 2. Core OS will be teased at Build but postponed at Ignite in non dramatic... in with a bang... out with a whimper... style. 3. They will release an update to the Surface Go... with a slightly optimized Pentium chip in it and 15 more minutes of battery life... instead of an ARM version. It will of course have a standard SIM instead of an eSim. 4. UWP will not even be mentioned once... officially... PWA will be hailed as the savior... though there will be not one MS authored PWA app published to the Store. And Xamarin.Forms will continue its Borglike assimilation into Visual Studio where it will be little mentioned in present tense. ;0)
  • Couldn't have said it better myself. This seems like a dreadfully probable plan for 2019.
  • Number 4 is so right 🤣
  • I am looking forward to Chromium Edge. I like Google Chrome, but nothing beats Edge for battery life on my laptop, so having Chromium Edge would be the best of both worlds. Also, I have an SSD so the Windows Update process for me is not too painful..just wait a few minutes, big deal.
  • Doesn't a Windows feature update basically do what the article states anyway? Updates used to take ages but the process has been refined, the offline time is very short now. A new Windows image is written to the disk before restarting
  • Honestly... All is boring, if there's no talk about mobile, and any hope MS might go into next decade being relatively relative to consumers.
  • My prediction: Ex-salty Windows phone users finally move on and beyond the concept of a phone-centric world. This will be achieved going out to the real-world and talking to people.
  • I wouldn't put any money on that.
  • Right Tarkus13. I predict Windows Phone users will outlive windows central. Infact i predict 2019, Mobile Nations will merge WC with android central and call it something like tech nation...
    Restructuring is on the cards 🃏. I predict.
  • That sounds more realistic.
  • Oh, I'm living the real world, Daniel. That's exactly why I believe the way I do. And, if you think that EX WP users are the only ones that feel that way its time you visited the real world... You can't get pass the fact that what the average consumer needs is what the average consumer needs. Andromeda is a great concept, but as only a concept, it does nobody any good. Do I wish Andromeda would come to light? Yes, but since I started using this Note 9, not as much. Nevertheless, I'm still interested. But, using Android I realize just how important apps are. It's a trade off. Android pretty much gets on my nerves, but the apps, and terrific hardware, makeup for it. My only regret is that I didn't switch sooner... So, Daniel, I ask you; what makes my comment so "stupid" in your eyes, and such a different point of view than anyone else "in the real world" ?? 🤔
  • Andromeda was a terrible concept, which is why they shelved it. A digital note journal...? Really? Maybe if they'd been first to market & done something well thought out. Instead they made some headphones & can't figure out how to get USB c on board their only successful hardware product. Panos panay gets fawned over here without actually releasing anything. Poor pathetic Jason Ward has been writing about new form factors and crazy crap for 2 or 3 years now, someday soon I'm sure. Bowden writes about cshell with no irony whatsoever, which is like meta-irony I guess. Time to get off the treadmill. Maybe you'll get the device you want someday, but what has Microsoft ever shown to make you believe they're the company to deliver?
  • Spot on Rodney. The snark from Dan makes my vomit want to vomit sometimes. Guess I was one of those stupid WP users. I mean, how dare I support MS and then not be happy that I have to go to a dump of an os like Android for phone. I should just assimilate and be happy that I have MS launcher on a crap os.
  • Oh,, and another thing. WP users make up but a fraction of a speck of mobile users out there. Instead of wasting time predicting that "EX WP" users will finally move on from the concept of a phone centric world, wouldn't a better prediction be that the rest of the world move on? Because, the majority "the real world" still believes in a phone centric world, and they have waaay more pull than us 10 remaining WP "fans". Am I wrong? You're a pretty smart guy, Dan, and I have a ton of respect for you, but your last comment wasn't very thought out. Lol. Please, by now you should know I understand all the "beyond the curve" ideas WC has been talking about for years, and I love them, but that doesn't mean I can't think for myself. Honestly, I believe new, smaller, Surface categories need to run some version of Windows that can run Android apps. That would give the best usage possibilities possible. But, that's just my opinion.
  • I went out into the real world to talk to people as you suggested Daniel but unfortunately everyone was busy on their phones.
  • Exactly my point summed up.
  • Wow, that is a lot of Windows Phone hate Daniel.
  • Idk.. Maybe he's forgotten about all the support WP fans have given MS, Mobile Nations, and Windows Central. Maybe he doesn't realize that it was us stupid, delusional, WP fans that kept his lights on, and food in his stomach, for the last decade..
  • He's mocking you salty people and telling you to move on from WP. Windows Central seems to be doing better than ever, even with the lack of WP.
  • Who's still only using WP?... I'm an WP fan that uses a Note 9, a Lumia 950, and a GS7... Move on from what? Your point is about as irrelevant as Daniel's.
    What, you agree with Daniel that mobile isn't important for MS?... Notice, in my very first comment I said "Mobile" not smartphones. Daniel is the one suggesting just because someone is a WP fan they are obsessed with MS making a smartphone. Is that what you're also suggesting? What's your point anyways?
  • How dare us.
  • I can already talk to/text/video call everyone in the "real world". Using ....................................... wait for it ................................ phones. The real world IS phone-centric. Salty ex-Windows Phones users (not ex-salty) HAVE moved on. To other phones. You know, supported phones. Phones with a future. Phones with apps. I certainly have. I have not moved backwards to a Windows 10 PC. Nor am I clinging to a dead Windows phone.
  • I still believe that MS (or any other Co.)can make a mobile device that's not centered around a phone as the main feature, rather a phone as a feature of the device. I also believe that smartphone concept is here to stay for the foreseeable future. That's what I mean by Mobile device. Doesn't necessarily have to be a phone, but a device that can conceal away on your body, and is always connected. Idk what the hell Daniel thinks WP users don't get about that. Heck, if anyone gets that it's WP users that read this site.
  • Current "phones" ARE "mobile devices not centered around the phone". I might actually place a phone call maybe 2 or 3 times a month. But I use my "phones" daily. "Phone" is just the form factor. The reality is, a "phone" is a pocketable, always connected Personal Computer/camera/TV/MP3 player/flashlight/phone/video phone/texting/GPS/wifi hotspot. The "phone" part is just another included app. As you said, a feature of the device. You might as well say its "centered around the camera". Or that a Windows PC is "centered around Office". All are just apps, running on a computer.
  • Billions of people already have a pocketable , always connected PC. Unfortunately for Microsoft, essentially ZERO percent of these are running a Microsoft operating system. The devices run iOS or Android and have thriving ecosystems of apps for basically anything you can think of. Jason has correctly said that people do so much more with their phones these days, the phone part is so