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  • Microsoft declares that you can now safely install Win10 version 1903 on Surface Book 2 machines

    Posted on October 12th, 2019 at 08:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Took ’em about six months, but Microsoft has finally given the go-ahead to install Win10 version 1903 on Surface Book 2 PCs. I talked about the “dGPU may occasionally disappear from device manager on Surface Book 2 with dGPU” bug in the July 22 AskWoody Plus Newsletter (accessible to everyone).

    The upgrade block which has been in effect since May was officially removed yesterday.

    The impetus? A firmware update for the Surface Book 2, also released yesterday. I’ll have a full rundown of the latest firmware releases on Monday. Suffice it to say that many people are steamed — and rightfully so — about the way MS has been steering its customers into uncharted waters.

    At any rate, if you paid $3,000 for a Surface Book 2 with a separate GPU, you’re now free to install Microsoft’s latest, greatest version of Windows.

    Just in time for the release next month of “Windows 10 November 2019 Update (19H2)” — better known as Win10 1909.

    I’ll have more about the 1909 release next week. Current obsession: What exactly do we know about the rollout?  If you think previous Win10 releases were unnecessarily cumbersome and hard to understand, boy howdy, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

  • Will Win10 1903 and 1909 co-exist?

    Posted on September 12th, 2019 at 09:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m still scratching my head over this one. Please tell me if you’ve heard anything, official or otherwise.

    Sometime in the next few weeks, Microsoft’s going to release Win10 version 1909. We know it’s going to appear as a cumulative update to Win10 1903 — just like a Service Pack, which is great.

    Here’s the question: Will Win10 customers be able to continue to use and update Win10 1903 without making the leap t0 1909?

    We have concurrent patches in beta testing with builds and separately available. The former apply to 1903; the latter to 1909.

    Will the stubborn ones in the crowd (e.g., me) be able to stick with 1903 for a while, to see what, uh, surprises await us in 1909? If you’ve seen anything official, please post a link!

  • Win10 version 1909 (“19H2”) now has three current beta versions

    Posted on August 27th, 2019 at 10:48 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Never let it be said that the Windows Insider rings are well defined.

    Microsoft’s putting the finishing touches on the next new version (“feature update”) for Win10 version 1903. Except it isn’t being distributed as a new version. It’s being distributed as a plain-vanilla monthly patch (“quality update”).

    I tend to think of the next version of Win10 as Win10 1903 Service Pack 1. But you’ll probably end up calling it Win10 version 1909.

    Here’s where you need a decoder ring.

    The Windows Release Preview ring has been used, historically, for all sorts of things. Recently, it’s been used to test updates to Win10 version 1903 prior to officially rolling them out. (It’s also been photobombed by an odd update, build 18947, which was quickly pulled.) On August 21, Microsoft released a new test version of Win10 1903, build 18362.325, into the Release Preview ring. Presumably, 18362.325 includes fixes for the VB/VBA/VBScript bugs introduced on Patch Tuesday in 18362.295.

    Starting yesterday, a subset of those in the Release Preview ring (about 10%, according to Dona Sarkar), were given the keys to the executive washroom. If you’re in the Release Preview ring and you’re one of the chosen few, you’ll see a link to update to “Windows 10, version 1909.”

    Click on that link and you’ll be able to test Win10 build 18363.327. That’s the first Win10 1909 update allowed out of the Redmond barn.

    Note the monkey business with the build numbers — Win10 version 1903 is build 18362.blahblahblah. Win10 version 1909 (nee “19H2”) is build 18363.mumblemumble.

    Sarkar says “to designate 19H2 as a feature update, we are revising the baseline build number by one full build” in the Windows Obfuscation Numbering Scheme. But note that:

    Insiders in the Release Preview ring who get 19H2 Build 18363.327 today will not see all the 19H2 features the Slow ring currently has as not all the features have been incorporated into the build yet.

    But wait a sec. There isn’t a single beta version of 1909 in the Slow Ring. There are two. I call them the bifurcating betas. That means, right now, there are not one, not two, but three different beta test versions of Win10 1909 — builds 18362.10014, 18362.10015, and 18363.327.

    The official announcement ends with this bit of wisdom:

    Because of the differences between the way the 19H2 updates are packaged between the Slow and Release Preview rings, Insiders in the Slow ring will not be able to switch to the Release Preview ring and get updates yet. Insiders who are thinking of switching rings should stay put for now. We will communicate to Insiders when it is ok to make the switch.

    See what I mean about a decoder ring?

    Thx @EP

    UPDATE: Paul Thurrott has posted an article on his paywall site that says there are “a minimum of” four versions of 1909 (“19H2”) floating around. I’ve seen three, but haven’t seen the fourth — and doubt that it exists. Three. Four. Whatever. It’s still way too many.

  • Microsoft continues its bifurcating betas with two new versions of Win10 19H2 (aka 1909)

    Posted on August 19th, 2019 at 16:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I just love how they’re doing this.

    A few minutes ago, Microsoft (once again) released not one, but two “latest” beta versions of Win10 version 1909. Builds 18362.10014 & 18362.10015 are headed to Windows Insiders in the Slow (er, very slow) Ring.

    One of the betas has all of the “new” features turned OFF, the other has the “new” features turned ON. ‘Course this is the Service Pack we’re all expecting for Win10 1903, which shouldn’t have any new features worth spittin’ about.

    Official announcement here.

  • Good news: It looks like the next version of Win10 1903 will be a Service Pack

    Posted on July 1st, 2019 at 21:59 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A rose by any other name….

    At this point, it looks like Win10 version 1909 will just be Win10 version 1903 SP1.

    There’s an enormous about of gobbledygook floating around, including a warning that’s pretty dire: If you’re going to beta test 1909, MS reserves the right to change the bits you’re beta testing without installing a new version.

    Interesting times, indeed.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    Thx @b @EP

  • How-To Geek: Microsoft still isn’t testing Win10 1909 (or 19H2)

    Posted on June 5th, 2019 at 14:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek laments the fact that Microsoft hasn’t even started testing the next version of Windows 10:

    These big Windows updates are generally finalized the month before release, which means Windows 10’s October 2019 Update should be finalized in September 2019. Microsoft has less than four months to go before the latest build is stabilized and we haven’t heard anything about it yet.

    Microsoft has responded by saying, basically, don’t worry about it. We have it well in hand.

    I’ve been saying for – what? – six months now that the next version of Win10 will just be a big cumulative update. I don’t expect any worthwhile feature changes. Except Microsoft will have to put at least one feature change in there so they can justify calling it a “feature update.” And they have every incentive to make 1909 super-stable, because they’ll continue to support it (Enterprise and Academic versions) for 30 months.

    I’m not complaining, mind you. I think MS should go through a couple more no-new-feature “updates” and hit us with a long-overdue Service Pack.

  • Even more evidence that there will never be a “real” Win10 version 1909

    Posted on May 8th, 2019 at 11:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve been speculating (spreading rumors?) about this for months, but it seems highly unlikely we’ll ever see anything resembling a “real” Win10 version 1909.

    Yeah, MS will release something called 1909. But it’ll just be the cumulative update we should’ve been getting all along. That’s my guess, anyway:

    “Vibranium” is the codename for 20H1 – the version that’s in the Insider Fast Ring right now. I really, really hope they don’t call it Win10 version 2003.

  • There’s a reason why your Win10 1803 machine hasn’t been pushed onto 1809

    Posted on April 9th, 2019 at 12:59 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft gave up.

    The 1803-to-1809 push pace has gone from slow to glacial.

    Gregg Keizer has the details on Computerworld:

    According to AdDuplex, … Windows 10 1809 powered just 26% of surveyed Windows 10 systems as of March 26. The gain from February to March, only 5 percentage points, was about half the increase from January to February, illustrating the slowing of 1809’s adoption.

    I don’t trust AdDuplex’s numbers, of course, but the trend is unmistakable. Microsoft’s pulling back on 1809.

    I would submit that, with the redirection of the Windows Insider Release Preview Ring — used to be Win10 1809 cumulative update previews and now it’s Win10 1903 beta build — we’re seeing a full-on retreat. I fully expect that Win10 1909 will be nothing more than “Win10 1903 Service Pack 1/2” in fact, if not in name.

    Which is great. Perhaps Microsoft is pulling back from its insane twice-a-year Windows update pace.