The ongoing coronavirus outbreak makes it even more likely that Microsoft will release a minor update for Windows 10 this fall.
Although Microsoft has not yet said how it will handle the Windows 10 feature updates of the year, it is clear that there is almost no reason for the company to deviate from the major-minor cadence of 2019.
As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise around the world, and disruption to modern life and business continues to wreak havoc, 2020 will be a difficult year, no matter how it declines. In a time of unprecedented changes caused by the new coronavirus, there is no reason to change what worked for Windows 10 last year.
Microsoft, of course, will do what it wants, and business customers will have to deal with the results. But there are good reasons why the Redmond, Washington company should seriously reconsider any plan to mess with the 2019 launch schedule.
First, a brief summary of last year
In the two years 2017 and 2018, the practice of updating the features of Microsoft Windows 10 consisted of two more or less equally robust updates that contain new functions and functionalities. These updates came in the spring and fall, usually in April and October, and were labeled yy03 and yy09, respectively.
But last year Microsoft changed that program. The spring 1903 update was an update of functionality and functionality. But the fall of 1909 was little more than a repeat of its predecessor, albeit with a small number of additional minor features. (It was so much like the «service pack» concept that Microsoft didn’t use for a long time through Windows 7 that older customers immediately labeled it as such.) The two, 1903 and 1909, shared the same code. in October, allowing Microsoft to deliver the latter. as a standard monthly update, which users who migrate from spring to fall could install much faster than a typical feature update.
Experts and the media, including Computerworld, labeled the 2019 cadence «major-minor» to describe the volume of changes in each and their relative value. Companies that released 1909, according to Microsoft’s policy that version, offered 30 months of support for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, a year longer than 1903, were generally optimistic about the fall update, simply because it was less.
However, Microsoft has so far declined to say how it will provide Windows 10 updates in 2020. Two feature-rich versions? Or a real improvement and a pursuit that is just in name?
The company has not yet shown its cards.
Windows 10 2004 lag
Microsoft may have completed 2004, the first Windows 10 feature update of the year, but it will not be announced when it is released.
But, in fact, what is the rush?
While the appellant may predict April as launch (or even later, recognizing the company’s habit of providing updates one month after designation), there’s no reason why Microsoft can’t delay delivery until the summer or even later.
Developers have already made moves like this: Google suspended Chrome updates last week; Microsoft quickly followed suit, saying it would do the same with its Edge browser. Microsoft has also extended support for Windows 10 1709 for enterprise and education SKU customers for six months, until October 13th.
All these calls were made due to the impact of the pandemic on companies, motivated by the developers’ own decisions to send the workforce home and the realization that updates are superfluous when a crisis occurs. IT staff have to do to keep the technical lights on, and users do not need the kind of stress that a failed update would cause when there is already too much stress due to the virus.
«If it’s not broken, don’t fix it» has never made so much sense.
If Microsoft releases Windows 10 2004 later than its numerical name, say, from mid to late summer, for reasons of discussion, the need for another feature-rich update for the rest of the year drops to zero when 2103 is due to land next year. in April.
A launch in the style of a service package in the 1909 line would be nice.
Why not pack 2009 completely?
If times are so tough that Microsoft shouldn’t go back to its 2017-2018 model, why can’t the company just forget about the fall update and end it?
Microsoft can, of course. (He is the one who makes the rules and there is no referee to say otherwise).
But the fall update serves a crucial purpose in current Redmond policies – it’s the 30-month version of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. Without Windows 10 2009, IT administrators whose roles have run since 1903 or earlier would be between the cornerstone and the difficult place of lack of security patches.
Enterprise / Education customers will not want to adopt a yy03 version because it offers only 18 months of support, very little (as Microsoft acknowledged when it bowed to customer pressure and debuted 30 months ago almost two years ago). But with the release of the image, the next fall update, supposedly 2109, will not be available until October 2021, which is probably not reliable enough for companies until early 2022.
Only Windows 10 1909 has a support end date after that – retirement will currently be May 10, 2022.
Do you expect organizations to be able to migrate to a new version in just a few months? This is nonsense.
Dumping in 2009 would put companies in touch, not this year, but at the end of next year and early next year (hopefully long after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror). They will be forced to migrate to one of the spring updates and settle for just 18 months of support, knowing that they will soon have to do it again.
By «soon», Computerworld means sooner than we want. Suppose Microsoft does not comply with 2009. A PC company running Windows 10 1809 would normally target 2009 as a replacement, with the goal of updating it every two years. But if Windows 10 2009 were missing, the company would have only bad options, as the following figure shows.
Without Windows 2009
If Microsoft simply decides not to do a Windows 10 update this fall, companies should move away from an update program every two years.
More options for Microsoft
One option would be to accelerate the annual migration and upgrade to Windows 10 1909 starting in late 2020 or early 2021 (Windows 10 1809 is no longer supported in May 2021). Two-year tempo from 1909 to 2109 in the first months of 2022.
Another thing would be the late release of 2004 at the end of this year, although that version comes with only 18 months of support, then go back to a version with 30 months of support, such as 2109. However, achieving this can difficult, such as the 2004 support. It would expire just six months after the 2109 expiration date. (If Microsoft didn’t delay the 2004 launch by a few months, this move would be impossible.)
A missing fall update, even one of the forms of a feature-packed service pack, would clearly destroy the pace set by companies for managing Windows 10. That’s why Microsoft is almost certain to launch something different from 2004 this year.