Microsoft's latest Windows 10 19H1 test build separates search and Cortana

Microsoft's newest Windows 10 19H1 build, No. 18317, separates the unified Microsoft search feature from Cortana, as had been widely rumored and expected.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing to add -- and remove -- various features with its ongoing test releases of Windows 10 19H1. The newest test build, delivered on Janaury 16, removes Cortana from Search, as had been widely expected and already had been in testing with some Insiders for "a few weeks."

With Windows 10 19H1 Build 18317, Search and Cortana are decoupled in the taskbar. Microsoft's explanation for the decision is "this will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases." A number of Windows users never understood or appreciated Microsoft's original idea of co-mingling Cortana and Search.

Microsoft is turning Microsoft Search into a unified experience across Windows 10, Office 365, Edge, Bing (with Microsoft Search in Bing, formerly known as Bing for Business). https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-repositions-cortana-from-an-assistant-to-an-assistance-aide/ from a standalone digital assistant to more of a built-in productivity aide.

Microsoft also is making changes to font management in Build 18317. Today's new Fast Ring build also includes a number of fixes to the Windows Console, along with a host of other updates and fixes across the product as a whole.

One caution for testers with 18317: Among the many known issues in this build is the fact that the Windows Subsystem for Linux won't work on 18317. That means any testers who need WSL should skip today's build.

Windows 10 19H1 is expected to begin rolling out to mainstream users around April 2019.