Microsoft pares Windows 10 feature upgrades to 1 a year

In a multi-part announcement spread across three blog posts, Microsoft has again given its Windows 10 update model a shake. Here's what the changes mean.

Microsoft has again given its Windows 10 update model a furious shake, voiding one of the foundational concepts of the "Windows as a service" (WaaS) strategy.

In a multi-part announcement spread across three blog posts, Microsoft on July 1 said it had begun testing of the next Windows 10 feature upgrade, which it has codenamed 19H2 but by the company's four-digit (yymm) labeling will be tagged with 1909 when it ships.

The first build of 19H2/1909 was released that same day to Windows Insider participants who set their PCs to receive the "Slow" ring versions. Insider will continue to deliver previews of 20H1 - the feature upgrade that will likely be dubbed 2003 to show it was completed in March 2020 - to testers on the "Fast" ring, as has been the case since February, when Microsoft debuted next year's edition.

Although Microsoft did not put the announcement's biggest news in plain English - instead relying on some marketing-speak, coded language and at least one new acronym - that news was impossible to miss.

Microsoft has ditched the idea of generating more than one feature upgrade annually, and will instead produce a single substantial refresh, apparently each spring.

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