I am just back from the Microsoft Campus and the annual Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit.

It is always a great week and full of content the majority of which I am unable to share right now – they call it a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Just let me say – the folks at Microsoft – despite the external opinions of many – love what they do and want to provide the best products and services possible. Much of what we heard this week, just like years past, should eventually make its way into the public forum. There is a lot to be excited about coming from Redmond.

There is a certain feeling of being in a bubble during the MVP Summit and so the world continues along and this past week was one of the busiest so far in the Windows 10 (19H1) development process. As you all know, we are closing in on the general availability of what I expect will be called the April 2019 Update for Windows 10. This week’s series of build releases have brought us to the brink of that point.

Let’s review the updates pushed to Windows Insiders this week:

Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18358 – March 15 – Fast Ring

This build is from the week before, I was already in Redmond when it was released, and was the second fast ring build for the week in keeping with the pattern over the previous few weeks. Build 18356 had been released three days earlier.

As expected, the list of known issues continued to shrink and the list of fixes continued to expand. Alongside of this builds release, we also got details about the availability of Windows Defender Application Guard extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These extensions provide a similar sandboxed experience in these browsers for dealing with potential malicious content like we have in Microsoft Edge already.

Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18361 – March 19 – Fast Ring

The first fast ring build of this past week arrived on Tuesday with a shorter list of fixes and just a few issues involving automatic app updates in the Microsoft Store, GSOD for gamers with anti-cheat software installed and then a couple of hardware issues relating to Creative X-Fi sound cards and Realtek SD card readers.

Windows Server vNext Insider Preview Build 18356.1 – 19 March

Right alongside of the development of the 19H1 client update, the Windows Server team continues to get the next update ready for general availability.

Windows 10 SDK Preview Build 18356 – 20 March

The SDK is also developed right alongside the client update for Windows 10 so developers can prepare their apps for the upcoming feature update. The SDK typically lags one week behind the last fast ring build.

Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18362 – March 20 – Fast Ring

This fast ring build followed its predecessor, Build 18361, by just one day and caught everyone off guard – even those of us at Summit didn’t get a hint this was coming so quickly.

It contained a couple of fixes including the Microsoft Store app auto update issue. The previous game, Creative X-Fi and Realtek SD card reader issues were still outstanding.

Windows 10 (20H1) Build 18860 – March 20 – Skip Ahead

As in past weeks, the weekly Skip Ahead build continues to incorporate fixes made to the 19H1 code base to keep everything in sync moving forward.

They did add support for 39 more languages to SwiftKey in Windows 10 to expand its availability.

Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18362 – March 22 – Slow Ring

Just two days after being pushed out to the Windows Insider fast ring, Build 18362 was made available in the Slow Ring for continued testing. Unlike previous slow ring builds which had some servicing done to them before being made available to testers, this one arrived using the exact same code that was made available under fast ring earlier in the week.

That quick release sequence from fast to slow ring is the strongest indicator that Microsoft is looking at Build 18362 as the potential release candidate for the April 2019 Update for Windows 10. I suspect if all goes well over the weekend and this build reaches Microsoft’s criteria for quality, that sometime next week we could see Build 18362 move to the Release Preview ring to really expand the testing environment to more devices.

However, one small issue is currently hitting some users and is being investigated by Microsoft engineers. I am hitting this error code, 0x80242016, in my Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18356 Slow ring install which is preventing the upgrade. Microsoft knows about this and if you are seeing it then take the time to upvote this item in the Feedback Hub so they can collect additional data from your device to help with the troubleshooting. 

I have also decided to stop collecting the Reserved Storage usage data for 19H1 and 20H1 at this point. It seems to have settled down pretty nicely. Just know it will adjust based on free space and that space required to insure a good upgrade process between feature updates. My last post with data is here for 19H1 builds and here for 20H1 builds.

Don’t forget, once the release candidate build heads into Release Preview, then we will likely see the opening of the magic window as it has been dubbed by Paul Thurrott. This window refers to the time frame when it is possible to remove a device from the Windows Insider Program and not be required to perform a clean installation of the operating/system. This window will open soon for 19H1 Fast Ring, Slow Ring and Release Preview but if you are already on Skip Ahead for 20H1 then that will not happen.

One other thing to keep in mind, at some point Microsoft will shift the Insider Fast Ring to 19H2 builds as they ramp up to begin the development cycle for the second feature update of 2019. I would expect to hear from Microsoft when these things will happen but based on past experience, they tend to do it very late in the process.

That means be ready to decide which of your devices will stay with the April 2019 Update and which will move onto 19H2. Whether or not Skip Ahead will open back up for 20H1 remains to be seen but I heard from one follower on Twitter that they were able to join from a clean install of the OS.

No doubt, we are in the final stages of 19H1’s development. Let’s hope this is much smoother than the roll out of Windows 10 Version 1809 last year.

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