Windows 10’s fall upgrade: Yep, it’s a service pack

Microsoft last week tacitly confirmed that this year’s fall upgrade for Windows 10 will, in fact, be service pack-like, in effect a rerun of the May 2019 Update, aka Windows 10 1903

On Thursday, Microsoft delivered two previews to what it continues to call 19H2, a reference to the second-half upgrade in its twice-annual cadence for Windows 10. Some Insiders – the volunteer participants in the Windows 10 beta program – would get one build while others would get another.

The difference? “A subset of Insiders in the Slow ring will have features turned off by default, and another subset will have them turned on by default,” wrote Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft employees and the public faces of Windows Insider. “We are testing the ability to ship these updates with features turned off by default so that we can then turn them on via controlled feature rollouts. This helps us gain better feedback on overall build quality.”

It wasn’t this off-on that corroborated the service pack-esque nature of Windows 10 1909, the likely official yymm label for 19H2 when it launches next month.

Early last month, when Microsoft announced that the year’s second refresh would not be the usual feature upgrade but instead a scaled-back update delivered via the same service that feeds monthly fixes to Windows, Computerworld decoded the company’s statements and concluded – as did others – that the fall update would be very, very similar to the old service packs of Windows 7 and before.

A service pack contained the cumulative updates of the past, recent or not, but only rarely included new features. Microsoft last issued one in February 2011, when it released Windows 7’s Service Pack 1, or SP1.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.


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