Windows 10's next big update, Redstone 3, hits the radar

A new Windows 10 version, likely called 1710 or 1711, build 15141, has been posted on BuildFeed

Think of the site as an early warning system for new versions of Windows. Earlier this week, a brand-new version of Win10 got caught in the BuildFeed flypaper. Build 10.0.15141.1000 (rs_prerelease.170219-2340) appears to be the first in a new line of Win10 releases, code-named "Redstone 3."

When fully developed, Redstone 3 will supplant the Win10 version currently in beta, the Creators Update aka version 1703 ("Redstone 2"). Look for the coming out ceremony later this year.

If Microsoft continues its current pace of releasing new Win10 versions every eight months or so, Redstone 3 will likely hit in October or November. Given the pressure to get new releases out prior to the holiday buying season, I think it likely that Redstone 3 will end up as version 1710 (as in October 2017) or possibly 1709 or 1711.

We knew it was coming. Earlier this week, multitudes of Windows blogs bloviated over the discovery of a slide in a Ch9 video from Bill Karagounis' presentation at Microsoft's Ignite Australia conference. (Look at 22 to 24 minutes, if you're really interested.) The slide shows that Microsoft plans on shipping another version of Windows 10 in late 2017.

win10 release cadence Microsoft

The headlines about Microsoft "confirming" there will be a second version of Win10 later this year are silly. Of course Microsoft's working on a new version of Windows 10, and we've known for months about plans to slip another version out this year. Win10 has received version bumps every eight months or so since the first bump appeared four months after the original version of Win10. This continues the trend.

(A cynical soul might note that the "Pilot" bars in the slide correspond to the time after a version has been released, but before it's declared Current Branch for Business. That's the period after new versions go to the unwashed masses, but before they're anointed as being business-ready.)

We were originally told that Win10 version changes ("feature updates") would appear two to three times a year. Two weeks ago, Dani Halfin posted on TechNet in his Overview of Windows as a Service:

Windows as a service will deliver smaller feature updates two to three times per year

The rhythm now is definitely set at eight months, give or take a bit. That would equate to two versions of Win10 in 2017 and one in 2018.

Given the cadence shown in the slide, unless Microsoft changes its end-of-life calculation scheme -- it changed the rules last week -- you should expect that version 1511 (the November update) will hit end-of-life in Sept. 2017, version 1607 (the Anniversary Update) will last until May 2018 or so, and version 1703 (the Creators Update, due next month) will continue to receive security patches until early 2019.

In the interim, Windows 10 Creators Update, version 1703, has entered the final stretch of bug fixes before release.

What to expect in version 1710? It's still much too early to nail anything down, of course, but here's what I expect to see:

  • The My People feature, also called the "People Experience," was announced in October, but it didn't make the Creators Update. "With Windows My People, you can pin your favorite contacts to the Windows task bar and easily drag and drop any document, photo or video right on top of the contact for easy sharing. You can receive unique notifications, Shoulder Taps, and easily view and open emails, IMs, shared documents and more, all in one place."
  • Project NEON is a built-in ability to animate and blur backgrounds and sidebars. See Mehedi Hassan's description in MSPoweruser.
  • Composable Shell, or cshell, will unify the main Windows interface so that it can be run across PCs, Mobile, HoloLens, and Xbox. See Zac Bowden's description at Windows Central.

There's still some life left in the old-timer.

Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon