Last week Microsoft released Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18305 to Windows Insiders as the software company closes out the 2018 segment of the next feature updates development cycle.
This build, the 16th overall for the upcoming seventh feature update for Windows 10, continues a pattern of working to address various fit and finish aspects of the operating system although one significant feature, Windows Sandbox, was added for this build’s release.
As some have told me in the past, Windows 10 is never finished so they disagree with the fit and finish description but over this development cycle for 19H1, that is exactly what they have focused on. All you need to do is look at the series of builds that have been released so far to see the majority of the work is not adding big new features but tweaking the overall user interface and experience. After the rough 2018 Microsoft had with the April and October 2018 Updates, this is not a bad approach to take right now.
Even as I write this blog post to wrap up the 2018 development cycle for Windows 10 (19H1), the re-release of the October 2018 Update is still not rolling out to all users. Only those who go seeking it through Windows Update, the Media Creation Tool, or the Update Assistant are getting that sixth feature update right now.
There is no doubt that Microsoft needs to deliver a successful upgrade experience with this upcoming feature update which is expected to arrive in the March/April 2019 time frame. By focusing on the fit and finish aspect of the update, they will give themselves a chance to try and have a drama free update cycle.
The other thing to keep in mind is that by the time this next feature update arrives, Windows 7 will have less than a year left before its lifecycle support ends. When 14 January 2020 rolls around, that is the end of Windows 7’s lifecycle support, having a smooth update process will help re-establish some trust between Microsoft and its customers.
This is probably more important at this point then a bunch of new features being added to the feature update.
So as 2019 begins, the continued focus on fit and finish is an approach which I hope continues because I believe that can really help the team out during this transition to a more transparent development process. Plus it will give the new Windows leadership team some clout on being able to deliver stress free updates. That will go a long way with enterprise and business customers and make enthusiasts a lot happier as well.
I expect we might see the first new Windows 10 (19H1) build of 2019 around the second week of January as Microsoft engineers return from their seasonal hiatus. After that, there is only about 4 to 6 weeks left in the development cycle in order to target a March/April release for this feature update.