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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Version 1809

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the release of Windows 10 version 1809, otherwise known as the "October 2018 Update" release.

It's the sixth Windows 10 operating system release, bringing new OS features. It's also the fall 2018 release. Under the Windows 10 update model, major OS releases arrive twice per year, in the spring and fall.

Getting Windows 10 version 1809 depends on a few factors. It depends on whether the user is a consumer or is part of an organization. Also, arrival of the update depends on whether a management system is used to control updates or whether the Windows Update service is used.

Consumer users are the "guinea-pig" testers of Windows 10, either willingly or unwillingly. They can't easily delay new Windows 10 versions. Consumers typically get new Windows 10 updates through the Windows Update service, when it's turned on, which is recommended by Microsoft. The OS will install automatically via an "in-place upgrade," replacing the underlying OS.  

For consumers and other Windows Update users, Microsoft's announcement indicated that Windows 10 version 1809 will be arriving "globally via Windows Update in the coming weeks."

Windows 10 version 1809 might not be available right away because there's a delay, even for consumers. Microsoft uses "telemetry" data from PCs, as well as artificial intelligence, to determine if systems are capable of handling the updates. Microsoft also stages its worldwide OS rollouts gradually, which also could account for delays.

Windows 10 for Organizations
Things are different for organizations using Windows 10, which typically use management systems or the Windows Update for Business service to control the arrival of updates. For them, this update is currently available through several means, as described by Microsoft's announcement:

Windows 10, version 1809 is now available for download from Visual Studio Subscriptions (formerly MSDN Subscriptions) and the Software Download Center (via Update Assistant or the Media Creation Tool) -- as well as through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Windows Update for Business.

Windows 10 version 1809 also will be available from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) in "coming weeks," the announcement indicated.

Microsoft Partner Network users with Microsoft Action Pack subscriptions can get Windows 10 version 1809 on October 5. However, this release will be available for "all other editions" for partners on October 22, the announcement added.

For Windows Update for Business users, this release is referred to as a "semiannual channel (targeted)" (SAC-T) release, and the Oct. 2, 2018 release date marks "the start of the servicing timeline." These users have 18 months of support with each major Windows 10 update release before having to jump to the next OS version, or they'll lose patch support.

However, the SAC-T designation "has no impact" on organizations that don't use the Windows Update for Business service, Microsoft's announcement stated. The statement wasn't clarified.

In Microsoft's past Windows 10 update model explanations, SAC-T releases signified test releases. Organizations were to release SAC-T updates to small groups of testers. If no problems were found, then they should release these updates more broadly, Microsoft had said.

The actual deployment target Windows 10 release (as opposed to the test release) was the "SAC" release, formerly known as "current branch for business." That was the scheme.

However, in June, John Wilcox of Microsoft cryptically suggested that Microsoft was planning to drop the SAC-T designation. Microsoft apparently is reconsidering its Windows 10 feature update nomenclature. Previously, though, organizations were generally directed to test SAC-T releases, and the use of Windows Update for Business wasn't deemed to be a factor.

Additionally, this release is described by Microsoft as the third "long-term servicing channel" (LTSC) release of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019.

An LTSC release is a different Windows 10 release. LTSC updates arrive every two to three years. They're more like a Windows 10 IoT releases (formerly known as "Windows Embedded"). Microsoft just recommends LTSC use for devices that can't tolerate frequent updates, such a medical devices. Microsoft strips out components that are frequently updated from LTSB releases, such as the Microsoft Edge browser and "in-box" apps like Cortana and Mail. Microsoft also is planning to block the use of Office 365 ProPlus on any Windows 10 LTSC release, starting on Jan. 14, 2020, so it really doesn't want businesses to be using it.

Other Notes About Servicing
This release of Windows 10 version 1809 marks the start of extended servicing for organizations using the Enterprise and Education editions. It'll be 30 months of support between Windows 10 updates, instead of 18 months under the new policy. However, the new extended servicing is only in effect for organizations following the fall release Windows 10 update model. Here's how Microsoft's announcement expressed it:

Beginning with Windows 10, version 1809, all feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions with a targeted release month of September will be supported for 30 months from their release date.

Organizations following the March release pattern with the Windows 10 Enterprise or Education editions, though, still have just 18 months of support between OS upgrades.

Users of Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager that deploy to x64 systems can expect to get smaller Windows 10 downloadable feature update package sizes. That's true for this release of Windows 10, as well as for versions 1703, 1709 and 1803, Microsoft previously announced.

Microsoft is also promising with the release of Windows 10 version 1809 to kick off a new compact quality update scheme, as described back in August. Quality updates arrive each month and just update existing OS components, but since they are "cumulative" and contain previous months' updates, they can get hefty. The new approach could potentially address organizational bandwidth issues associated with quality updates, Microsoft had suggested.

Microsoft also previously announced it will be scrapping its Language Interface Packs approach in favor of using Local Experience Packs for language customizations. That policy starts with this release of Windows 10.

Upcoming Talks
More information about Windows 10 version 1809 can be had from Microsoft luminaries Bruno Nowak and Nic Fillingham. They'll give a one-hour Web presentation on "What's new in Windows 10, version 1809 for IT pros." The talk starts on October 31 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

On November 1, there will be a one-hour Windows 10 IT Pro AMA text-based chat session with Microsoft team members. It'll be hosted at the Microsoft Tech Community site and will start at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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