Even though I have not been active here at the site over the last few months, the development of Windows 10 has continued on at a pretty steady pace. There are currently two versions of Windows 10 in public development through the Windows Insiders Program. 

Windows 10 (19H2) aka Windows 10 Version 1909

The latest build for this soon to be released update for Windows 10 is 18363.448, that includes the latest cumulative update, and it is only available in the Release Preview Ring. 

As we have discussed before, the 19H2 update is unique for Windows 10 because it is not a full feature update. Instead, this update to Windows 10 will roll out as a cumulative update for Windows 10 Version 1903. That means a smaller update download and a quick install will have you up and running on the latest version of Windows 10 once this update is made available to the public.

It does have some new features in it despite its status as just a cumulative update. The primary focus has been on the underlying stability of the operating system over the last six months of testing the 15 test updates Microsoft has released to Windows Insiders

Stability and reliability is never a bad thing to focus on in the world of Windows 10 – especially on a release that will get 30 months of support for Microsoft’s business customers.

Some of the new features coming to Windows 10 Version 1909 include:

  • Access to third party digital assistants on the Lock Screen.
  • Create calendar events from the Action Center flyout.
  • Expanded navigation on Start Menu when you hover your mouse over different options such as Power and Settings.
  • Updates to notification settings UI and quicker access to these settings in the Action Center.
  • Updated search box in File Explorer to utilize Windows Search. Search results will now include OneDrive content.
  • Updates to Accessibility with Narrator and other assistive technology.

Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows 10 (19H2) build, 18363.418, is the final version and they are continuing to service that until its public availability. Since we are so close to Microsoft Ignite, I would not be surprised if it was formally announced during the keynotes on day 1 of the event in Orlando.

Windows 10 (20H1)

Next springs full feature update for Windows 10 has been in public development since 14 February 2019 when build 18836 was released to Windows Insiders. Since then a total of 32 public builds have been released for testing. That has included seven in Skip Ahead and 25 in Fast Ring.

The latest testing update for 20H1 was actually released last night around 7:30 PM Eastern. Windows 10 (20H1) Build 19008 does not have any new features but contains eight documented changes, improvements, and fixes. There is also a list of seven known issues in this release.

We still expect 20H1 to be released next spring in the April/May 2020 timeframe and this will be a full feature update versus the smaller cumulative update of Windows 10 (19H2) aka Version 1909.

Some of the new features that have made their way into public testing builds include:

  • Windows Hello PIN sign-in during Safe Mode.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) improvements.
  • Accessing and connecting networked cameras.
  • Enable automatic restart for UWP apps when signing in.
  • Xbox Game bar updates and improvements.
  • Reset your PC from the cloud.
  • Improved Bluetooth pairing experience.
  • Optional Updates now listed separately in Windows Update including driver, feature, and monthly non-security updates. End user can decide when/if to install these. Note: There are still rules about the expiration of support for a feature update that will eventually automatically install that update before your current build expires.
  • Moveable Cortana interface window. Also now available as a UWP app versus being integrated into the OS.
  • Virtual Desktops can now be renamed and this persists between restarts.
  • An improved tablet experience for touch on 2-in-1 convertible form factor devices.
  • GPU temperature shown in Task Manager
  • Notepad now updated through Windows Store instead of through OS updates.
  • Improved Windows Search UI and capabilities.
  • Redesigned Network Status page in Settings.

This list is not all inclusive but it is also all pre-release updates and changes. That means the potential exists that any of the above could change or be removed from the 20H1 release. Remember when that happened to Sets?

Note: Windows 10 (20H1) builds will begin showing up in Slow Ring shortly according to Microsoft. Make sure you check your Windows Insiders settings to get on the right ring for future testing build releases.

Windows 10 (20H2)

Believe it or not – we are already talking about the release that will arrive in the Fall of 2020. 

There are not currently any public builds for 20H2 however, I suspect we will see them soon in Skip Ahead once 19H2 is released. The big question about 20H2 is whether it will be a full feature update or a cumulative update like 19H1. Once we see 20H2 in Skip Ahead we will get an idea on that very quickly. 

Current Windows Insider Ring Status

Here is where the three public testing rings stand for Windows 10:

  • Skip Ahead – Not in active use although some testers do have this ring setup and are receiving 20h1 builds. Expecting this to become the 20H2 testing ring before the end of the year.
  • Fast Ring – Active with 20H1 builds – latest release is Build 19008.
  • Slow Ring – Preparing to receive 20H1 builds. Previously had Windows 10 (19H1) Build 18362.100XX builds. A recent update for those devices in Release Preview ring moved them to 18363.418 (.448 with latest CU) for 19H2.
  • Release Preview  – Active with Windows 10 (19H2) build 18363.418 (.448 with latest CU). This ring continues to get early releases of apps and firmware updates for pre-release testing.

In Closing

It has been a busy spring and summer of Windows 10 testing. 19H1, 19H2, 20H1, and soon 20H2. Stay organized and keep your rings updated so you are in the right place for your level of risk when it comes to your devices and pre-release versions of Windows 10.

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