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‘I’m bored!’ Virtual summer camps to the rescue | Windows Experience Blog

With so many events closed this summer, it’s harder than ever to keep kids busy with positive activities. Plus, lots of parents wonder how they can juggle their jobs and home responsibilities with being a camp counselor and activities director to boot.
With that in mind, the Windows Home and Family Resources Blog has compiled a collection of virtual summer camps for young people to enjoy involving the Smithsonian National Museum, Hour of Code Minecraft and lots more. You’ll also find activities tailored to a variety of age groups and a weekly schedule template pre-loaded with summer ideas. Check it out!

Spending more time in the kitchen? 7 ways to make tech your chef’s assistant | Windows Experience Blog

Many of us are finding ourselves in the kitchen a lot more these days. If you’d like to focus that time on upping your gourmet game, check out the ways your tech devices can help you plan healthy and delicious meals, cook them like a pro, plan your shopping trips efficiently and more.
Read all about it on the Windows Home and Family Resources Blog – and bon appétit!

Let tech help you manage your well-being with these 10 tips | Windows Experience Blog

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a great time to focus on reducing stress and anxiety, especially as we all face challenges working, learning and connecting in new ways. Head over to the Windows Home and Family Resources blog for 10 tech tips to help you juggle all your responsibilities as you take care of yourself and your loved ones.

How to get the Windows 10 May 2020 Update | Windows Experience Blog

Windows 10 continues to play a key role in how we learn, live and work during these unique times, and we want to ensure a high quality and reliable experience, while also delivering you the latest innovations. In mid-April, we announced the initial availability of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update through the Windows Insider Program’s Release Preview ring, allowing us to both monitor and improve the quality of the release. Based on affirmative preview feedback, today we are pleased to announce that we are starting to make the May 2020 Update available. In this blog, we will cover how you can get the update and choose when to install, and availability for commercial organizations to begin targeted deployments.
How to get the Windows 10 May 2020 Update
To ensure you continue to have a reliable, productive experience with your Windows 10 devices, we are taking a measured and phased approach to how we offer the May Update, initially limiting availability to those devices running Windows 10, versions 1903 and 1909 who seek the update via Windows Update.
Beginning today, the May 2020 Update is available for customers who would like to install this latest release. If you are ready to install the update, open your Windows Update settings (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update) and select Check for updates. Once the update appears, you can select Download and install. (Note: You may not see Download and install on your device as we are slowly throttling up this availability over the coming weeks, or your device might have a compatibility issue for which a safeguard hold is in place until we are confident that you will have a good update experience.) Once the download is complete and the update is ready to install, we’ll notify you so that you can pick the right time to finish the installation and reboot your device, ensuring the update does not disrupt your activities. This new “Download and install” capability is available for devices running Windows 10, version 1903 or version 1909. For more information on the new user update controls and how to get the May 2020 Update, watch this video.
Semi-Annual Channel released for commercial customers
Today’s release of the May 2020 Update (Windows 10, version 2004) marks the start of the 18-months servicing support lifecycle. If you’re an IT administrator, we recommend that you begin targeted deployments to validate that the apps, devices and infrastructure used by your organization work as expected with the new release and features. Windows 10, version 2004 is available through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Update for Business and the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) for phased deployment using Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager or other systems management software. For information about the latest features for commercial customers, see “What’s new for IT pros in Windows 10, version 2004.” For insights on how to update, see the Windows IT Pro Blog post on feature updates while working remote. If you’re curious about Windows Server, version 2004, which was also released today, see the Windows Server Containers blog.
Keeping you protected and productive
Given all the recent changes to work and home life, we are focused on meeting you where you are and helping you adapt to these new challenges. We have often noted that being on the latest version of Windows 10 provides you with the latest features, security improvements and control. This is even more true today. The May 2020 Update offers many new features that can save you time, make you more productive and help you have fun – in addition to further enhancing your control and choices related to updates. Find out more in the “What’s new in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update” blog.
We will closely monitor the May 2020 Update experience and share timely information on the current rollout status and known issues (open and resolved) across both feature and monthly updates via the Windows release health dashboard and @WindowsUpdate. As always, please continue to tell us about your experience by providing comments or suggestions via Feedback Hub.

What’s new in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update | Windows Experience Blog

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update has started to become available to customers around the world as a free update.

Since the beginning of this year, we have seen the world significantly change all around us. People, families and businesses are adjusting to new ways of working, learning and connecting. For many, our dining rooms have become home offices, our living rooms have turned into classrooms, and our kitchens social gathering spots and breakrooms. Amidst these changes, our needs to connect with one another and be productive from anywhere have never been more critical.
More than ever people are turning to Windows PCs to support fundamental human experiences. Students and professionals are using Office and Microsoft Teams for remote learning and collaboration, and whether they are down the street or across the world friends and families are celebrating accomplishments and holidays on Skype, even playing games together online to have fun.
As the world and people’s routines change, it is important that we focus on meeting the over a billion people around the world relying on Windows where they are now. That next step comes today with the release of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. The May 2020 Update comes with feature improvements that will help save you time and maybe even be a source of fun. The new update is available today for those who want to seek it. You can get the update in a few different ways, visit this blog post to learn more about how to get the May 2020 Update today.

Faster and easier connections. We’re making it easier and faster to pair your Bluetooth devices to your compatible Windows 10 PC. Now you can take care of everything in notifications (instead of Settings) with fewer steps.
Go passwordless. Did you know—for improved security and a simple sign-in experience, you can sign in with your face, fingerprint or PIN? It’s easier than ever to enable passwordless sign-in for your Microsoft accounts: just go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options on your Windows 10 PC and select ‘On’ under ‘Require Windows Hello sign-in for Microsoft accounts’. Note that this is hardware dependent.
Cleaner, faster, safer. When you download apps it’s not always obvious what you’re getting. Some apps might display unexpected advertising, use your PC for cryptomining, or do other things you’d prefer they not do. These are potentially unwanted apps (PUA) and Windows 10 can help spot them, let you know we have concerns, and let you decide whether you really want that app or not. Just go to Windows Security > App & browser control > Reputation-based protection > ‘Potentially unwanted app blocking’.
Learn more about how you can prevent PUA on your device.
More ლ(╹◡╹ლ). We’re bringing the fun by making more kaomoji available directly in the Windows emoji keyboard. To access you can use the shortcut, Windows key + Period key to access (⌐■_■).
Name your desktops. Now instead of “Desktop 1” or “Desktop 2” you can give your Virtual Desktops more descriptive, clever, or amusing names. Using Virtual Desktop in Windows 10 allows you to expand your desktop beyond the physical limitations of the space, organize groups of related tasks, and easily switch between them. Tackling what you want to—when you want to—just got a whole lot easier. Visit this post to learn more on how to access Virtual Desktop in Windows 10.
See gaming in a whole new light. New DirectX 12 Ultimate features provide smoother graphics with increased detail—all without sacrificing framerate*.
Customization and utility at your fingertips. Xbox Game Bar now supports third-party widgets, helping you customize the overlay experience to fit with the way you game.

Memory improvements in Microsoft Edge. The browser is the most used application and where people spend a large portion of their time on Windows. Segment heap has been the default heap for UWP apps for a while now. Windows is excited to announce that one of the first Win32 applications that will take advantage of segment heap capabilities is Microsoft Edge. The early internal testing results of devices on the May 2020 Update are showing a memory usage reduction of up to 27% when browsing with Microsoft Edge. Individual device performance will vary based upon configuration and usage, but the lower memory usage could provide a better device experience because more memory would be available for apps to use. Microsoft will be opening this capability to more developers very soon with supporting materials. Developers that take advantage of the expanded availability of segment heap memory improvements can also optimize their Win32 app memory utilization on Windows. Please this page for the latest developer information.
Stay on top of your numbers. Keep the calculator close by—now you can choose to keep the Calculator app on top of everything.
Notepad newness. The beloved 30-year-old text editor has some small but mighty improvements. There’s now wrap around find/replace, quick text zooming, and when you see an asterisk in the title bar you’ll know you have unsaved changes.

Bringing your smartphone and Windows PC closer together. The May 2020 Update brings the popular Your Phone app’s Calls feature to ARM supported PCs from Microsoft and our OEM partners. You will now be able to place, receive, or text reply to your incoming phone calls directly on your PC without having your Android phone right next to your PC. That’s not all, with the Your Phone app, you can stay in your flow by sending or receiving texts, checking notifications and getting instant access to your Android phone’s photos and apps via your computer’s large screen and keyboard. To learn more about the Your Phone app visit this page.

The new Cortana chat-based experience is here. Your personal productivity assistant now has an updated chat-based user interface where you can type or speak requests in natural language to save time finding what you need and stay on track. For the best experience, sign in with your work or school account and connect with people, check your schedule, add tasks, set reminders and more**. Visit our Microsoft 365 Blog for more information and select the Cortana icon to try out the experience for yourself with requests such as:
“Am I free at [time]?”
“Who is [person]?”
“Find time with [person] to talk about [topic]”
“Join my meeting”
“Remind me to [task] at [time]”
“Change the brightness”
“Is it going to rain tomorrow?”

Narrator news. Narrator sounds have been revamped and are now more functional and responsive. There’s also a new command to summarize a webpage, and you’ll also hear some table reading improvements. Plus, Narrator will automatically start reading webpages and emails (when they’re opened in Outlook and the Mail app).
Find that cursor faster. Windows Magnifier has a new ability to keep the text cursor in the center of the screen, making it easier and smoother to type.
More Eye Control. Drag and drop is now here! We’ve also made improvements to the pause experience and provided some new opportunities in Settings. Note that a third-party accessory is required to access this experience.
Language learnings. The Global Language Experience team continues to revamp Language Settings, bringing you quick and easy ways to check your settings at a glance. You’ll also find improved typing experiences in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
You can visit this blog post to learn more about the accessibility improvements coming in the May 2020 Update.
We believe that Windows is the most powerful, productive and secure platform to help you do your best work, learn, connect with the ones you love, and have fun. We are excited to deliver the Windows 10 May 2020 Update to the over a billion people around the world using Windows today. And we want to extend a sincere thank you to our customers and the millions of Windows Insiders who have been on the Windows journey with us and helped provide important feedback throughout the development process. Windows will continue to get better and better. Today is just the next step in our journey. More to come.
* DirectX 12 Ultimate available with supported games and graphics chips, and requires the latest Windows 10 update.
**Cortana in Windows 10 productivity capabilities is currently available in English in the United States and will roll out in the coming months to more regions and languages with regular app updates through the Microsoft Store. Until then, international users and non-English speakers can use Cortana to get answers from Bing and chat with Cortana.
Editor’s note – May 27, 2020 – The “Go passwordless” section in the post above was updated to correct the instructions for signing in using your face, fingerprint or PIN.
Editor’s note – May 28, 2020 – The “Cleaner, faster, safer” section was added to the post above following initial publication.

Sea of Thieves fans: Free Lost Treasures update brings bountiful booty of new tools and events | Windows Experience Blog

May’s free monthly update Lost Treasures is available now for all Sea of Thieves players on Windows 10 PC, Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass. A new checkpoint system helps players progress through the game’s Tall Tales, plus Daily Bounties and events spell a packed month of activity ahead.
Head over to the Xbox Wire post for details.

Special event helps players set a record while celebrating the 30th anniversary Microsoft Solitaire | Windows Experience Blog

May 22 marks the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Solitaire, which has come a long way since it debuted as Windows Solitaire on Windows 3.0 in 1990.
Today, the game is played on computers, laptops, tablets and phones in every corner of the globe, arguably by one of the most diverse gaming audiences in the world, says Paul Jensen, studio head, Microsoft Casual Games.
“With a worldwide appeal, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, as it is known today, hosts over 35 million players each month, from more than 200+ countries and territories, in 65 different languages,” Jenson says. “And after 30 years, Microsoft Solitaire is still one of the most played games on the planet every day, with more than 100 million hands played daily around the globe.”
Microsoft is celebrating the anniversary by inviting players to join an online event aiming to reach the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. Join by downloading Microsoft Solitaire Collection for free on Windows, iOS or Android, or play through your browser. Visit the Xbox Wire post for details, to watch Major Nelson’s interview with a pair of Solitaire experts discussing the coveted winnability rate of the game, and check out Microsoft Solitaire T-shirts and mugs available now for the first time ever.

State of Decay 2 celebrates 2 years with sale, new update and limited time outfits | Windows Experience Blog

It’s already been two years since the arrival of State of Decay 2, and the team is celebrating with discounts, an update and a chance for a limited time to get some cool new apparel.
Head over to the State of Decay blog to watch the video and find out about getting the game for 15% off through May 26, free playable content now available with Update 17, and the limited availability of the State of Decay-themed Logo Ninja Hoodie and Undead Green Cattleman Hat.

What’s coming in Windows 10 accessibility | Windows Experience Blog

I hope this blog finds you, your family and friends and your colleagues all healthy and safe during these changing times. I’m excited to share some of the updates we are incorporating within Windows 10 to make it easier to see and use for people with low or no vision.  These improvements, coming to Windows 10 users in the May 2020 Update, represent the next steps in our journey to empower every person on the planet to achieve more.
Thank you for all the feedback to date. Please keep it coming! Our users, especially Windows Insiders, are continuing to shape Windows 10 accessibility by helping us understand what improvements matter most. Information about how best to reach us is included at the end of this post.
Making Windows 10 easier to see and use
Text cursor improvements
We recently made text and pointers easier to personalize in Windows 10. Millions of people prefer larger text, and larger and brighter pointers to make Windows 10 easier to see and use. Perhaps not surprisingly, many low vision users asked us to continue to make it easier to work with text cursors. More specifically, they told us that text cursors are difficult to find when they are too thin and don’t contrast enough with text. Now users can easily make cursors wider and add a text cursor indicator; we’ve even included the ability to choose custom colors, making it even easier to find their text cursor on the screen.
Figure 1 – New Ease of Access Settings make text cursors easier to see and use.
We made some related changes in Magnifier. We recently added a Magnifier option to follow the mouse pointer, so that users did not have to scan their display to find the pointer. Instead, they could rely on the mouse pointer to be in an expected location in the center of their display. Again, not surprisingly, users asked us to make it easier to work with text cursors with Magnifier. Now Magnifier will follow the text cursor in the center of the display by default, so that users can find the text cursor in an expected location.
Magnifier reading reduces strain and fatigue
We’ve heard from many Magnifier users that it can be difficult to read and work with text throughout their day; they often strain to read text and end their day with severe fatigue or headaches. We added a new feature that makes it easy to have text read aloud to reduce the strain of reading. Magnifier now includes Play, Pause, Next sentence, Previous sentence and Read from here controls to make it easy to read text in popular browsers including Edge, Chrome and Firefox and other Windows applications like Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. Magnifier will highlight each word that is spoken and will scroll content into view if it is not currently displayed.
Finally, we’ve improved the Magnifier user interface. Magnifier will now respond to larger text and Dark mode settings, so that it is easier to see and use.
Figure 2 – New Magnifier features include reading and support for larger text and dark mode.
Making Windows easier to use without sight, with a screen reader
We’ve made a few sets of improvements to Narrator, which is the free, built in screen reader in Windows 10.
Narrator easier to use
We made reading more natural by reducing unnatural pauses and processing complete sentences to aid with proper pronunciation. We also redesigned Narrator sounds to enable Narrator users to be more efficient. We added sounds for the most common actions while reducing the total number of sounds to make them easier to learn and use. For example, rather than having to hear “scan on” or “scan off” when switching between scan mode and other modes, now you can choose to hear tones instead of the words. By default, both the words and sounds are turned on, to learn the new sounds. You can then change the level of detail that Narrator speaks about text and controls to hear fewer words for common actions. Finally, we improved support for announcing capital words and letters, e.g., when proofing a message or document. Narrator will handle initial, mixed and all cap words.
Smarter browsing
We made multiple improvements to the Narrator browsing experience.
First, Narrator will automatically start reading web pages from the top of the page. Automatic reading is intended to improve efficiency and give users confidence that the intended page loaded. Second, we implemented a page summary on demand. In addition to better understanding the complexity of a page, e.g., the number of landmarks, links and headings, you can also get a list of the most popular links generated by Bing to make it easier to get to where you want to go. Press Narrator key + S to hear the landmarks, links and headings on the page and press Narrator key + S twice quickly to bring up the page summary that includes a list of popular links. Third, we addressed one of the top accessibility issues with poorly crafted web pages. We made it possible to disambiguate links with titles like “Click here” without having to press the link to see where it goes. Press Narrator key + Ctrl + D, the same command to generate an image description, to hear the title of the linked page before pressing the link.
Finally, we made multiple improvements to Narrator with popular browsers. In addition to Microsoft Edge and Chrome, Narrator now supports Firefox. We improved several Narrator experiences, including faster “Find” and more reliable table reading. We also added support for rich text in Chrome and Firefox, which makes it easier to consume content on sites like Wikipedia.
More efficient Outlook mail
In addition to general Narrator and Narrator browsing improvements, we improved Narrator’s Outlook experience. We optimized Narrator for the Outlook inbox to make it faster and easier to triage mail; we read a smaller set of data in the expected order. We also improved the message reading experience. Like when web pages load, we now automatically start reading content when you open a message. We also automatically enable scan mode and recognize and ignore layout tables to make it easier to navigate and read message content. We improved Outlook responsiveness, e.g., reducing lags when arrowing through messages in the inbox or through text in a message.
Please keep the feedback coming
While we are excited to share our progress, we recognize that we have more work to do to create delightful experiences for people with disabilities. Thank you to the many people who have provided feedback — both positive and constructive — to help make Windows great. If you’re interested in providing help or suggestions, we welcome your feedback via the Windows Insider Program. All the features referenced in this blog were shared with and shaped by Windows Insiders. Whether you’re using an Insider build, or a generally available version of Windows, Windows 10 makes it easy to share your thoughts and suggestions — just press Windows logo key + F to launch the Feedback hub and share what’s top of mind.
Finally, if you are a customer with a disability and need technical assistance, the Disability Answer Desk is there to assist via phone (800-936-5900) and chat. In addition, we also have an ASL option available for our customers who are deaf or hard of hearing in the U.S. (+1 503-427-1234). Please contact us, we are always happy to help.

Making the web more accessible and inclusive for all with Microsoft Edge | Windows Experience Blog

The past few months have forever changed the way we work, learn and play each day. Our routines have been entirely disrupted, and we’ve had to adapt to new ways to stay productive, entertained and healthy. This change in our global landscape has increased our dependency on technology and highlights the importance of digital accessibility and inclusion – core to how we build products at Microsoft.
Microsoft Edge is committed to building a more accessible web for everyone. A little over a year ago, we announced our intention to rebuild Microsoft Edge with the same open source technology as Google Chrome. Since then, we’ve committed over 150 changes on accessibility features alone back into the open source project with the support of the Google Chrome team. We’re proud to share this work and to continue building features that will benefit everyone.
We have continued to be inspired as we hear stories like Emmy’s. Emmy is a fifth grader from Fairfax County Public Schools, who not only uses Immersive Reader herself but has also become an advocate for the tool by leading a tech chat for her teachers and helping her classmates. Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge truly empowers people to achieve more and today we are excited to highlight some of our new and existing features in Edge.
New – Open Immersive Reader across the web

Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge is helpful for anyone who is looking to improve their experience reading online. You may recognize Immersive Reader across other Microsoft Products like OneNote and Word, and we took our lessons from these experiences to bring this important feature to Edge.
Until recently, the primary ways to access Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge have been to click the icon in the address bar or to use our F9 shortcut on certain sites. Now, you can simply select content on a web page, right click, and choose “Open in Immersive Reader.” All three of these options will allow you to easily remove distractions and access a variety of tools that allow for personalization.
New – View visual definitions of words with Picture Dictionary in Microsoft Edge

One of our newest tools in this set will be Picture Dictionary which will help you view a picture representation of a word on a web page to increase comprehension. Ideal for those learning another language or for students learning on their own, it will allow you to stay in the flow of what you are reading. You’ll be able to simply select the word on a web page and see a picture that represents the word. You will be able to turn Picture Dictionary on by navigating to Reading Preferences and using the toggle.
Picture Dictionary in Microsoft Edge is coming to preview builds soon.
 New – Translate full web pages into 54 languages within Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge

The web is packed with important information and many prefer to read pages in their native language. Translate in Microsoft Edge breaks down the walls of language by giving people the ability to easily translate web page text into one of 54 languages with the press of a button. This is ideal for students and professionals who are researching sources across the web and want to make the most of their time. To get started, navigate to the reading preferences in Immersive Reader, select your language of choice, and see the words change instantly to your preferred language.
Translate in Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge is available in preview builds today.
Hear the web with Read aloud in Microsoft Edge

Already in Microsoft Edge, Read aloud translates words on a web page into spoken text so you can absorb information in multiple ways. Anyone can benefit from using Read aloud to simplify their lives and listen to website content without being tethered to a screen. With Read aloud, you can hear the text read aloud to you and words are highlighted as you go so that you can easily follow along to aid comprehension. We currently have 25 voice options to choose from based on your preference for voice in 13 languages and 21 locales, with our most natural sounding voices yet.
Read aloud is now generally available in desktop and mobile, and works on and offline. Read aloud for PDF is available in preview builds today.
Celebrate our community with our featured Bing homepage image

Beyond offering inclusive tools for web accessibility, Microsoft also highlights key contributors to this space. On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, on the Bing homepage, we are showcasing a painting by Jeff Hanson, an award-winning artist. Hanson is legally blind and only vaguely sees shapes and colors and has developed a unique tactile process that helps him feel his compositions by first plastering the canvas with a thick plastic material. Once that hardens, he uses the defined ridges to navigate the piece to apply his signature vibrant color. Today we’re featuring Hanson’s painting to observe the ongoing work to make technology accessible for more people around the world. Please visit Bing.com on May 21 to take a closer look at Hanson’s painting, plus listen to a short audio clip of the artist talking about his work. If you’re reading this after May 21, you can see the image here. Check out more of his paintings at JeffHansonArt.com.
The web is for everyone, and we are committed to building more inclusive experiences in Microsoft Edge in the coming year. As a company our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – and this is something we care deeply about. If you haven’t yet downloaded the new Microsoft Edge, please try it today. You can also read more about how students from Newmark Schools are using accessibility tools while learning from home in our Education blog. For other tips on how to make the most out of accessibility features across Microsoft products, please visit our remote learning resource site.
We look forward to sharing what’s next.