Posted On 20 Aug 2019
Microsoft has recently outlined how it is set to introduce new deployment policies that will enable more investment in pre-launch testing and, thereby, less post-launch issues.
According to the latest information, Windows 10 will feature a new update model that will see it shift from a twice-annual major release cycle to a twice annual minor/major release approach, with the minor upgrades being released in the fall and the major upgrades being issued in the spring.
To really get to the heart of the shift, it’s important to understand the process by which Microsoft has issued Windows 10 releases to date—specifically, how Windows Insiders have received them. In the past, Fast Ring subscribers have been the first to get their hands on new features and Windows updates. The next in line or the Slow Ring subscribers, who receive the updates ahead of the public but long after the Fast Ring guys have managed to identify the major bugs.
However, this year, all that changed. The Fast Ring insiders completely missed the Fall 2019 update, instead being fast tracked to the Spring 2020 version, while the Slow Ring subscribers received nothing at all. But at the start of July, the Slow Ring subscribers received an apparently brand-new release of 19H2 that the Fast Ring guys had not previously seen.
According to ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer, this was not an accident. He’s of the opinion that the 19H2 build heralded a major change in the deployment of Windows 10 preview builds. Interestingly, Microsoft didn’t describe the 19H2 as a fully featured new build or a full OS replacement. Rather, it was issued as some form of cumulative update.
All this is combination strongly hints at the emergence of a new major/minor release cycle approach that remains within the spirit of agreement that is in place with Windows Insiders: While Slow Ring subscribers will no longer be getting the Fast Ring’s spoils, they are also not being expected to test major builds.
If this approach continues into fruition, a situation will emerge in which the Fast Ring subscribers have an opportunity to test major builds over a prolonged period while the Slow Ring guys will have more time to interact with the smaller incremental updates that are designed to fix long-term performance and stability issues.