Microsoft Releases Version 1903 of Windows 10 and Windows Server
The newest "semiannual channel release" versions of both Windows 10 and Windows Server are now generally available.
Version 1903 of Windows Server can be accessed by volume license customers with Software Assurance through the Volume Licensing Service Center portal, and by Visual Studio users via the Visual Studio Subscriber download site, Microsoft announced on Tuesday.
Version 1903 of Windows 10, a.k.a. the "Windows 10 May 2019 Update," can be accessed from the same two portals in addition to the Software Download Center, and via Windows Server Update Services and Windows Update for Business.
A 'Throttled' Release for Windows 10
Users who want to manually install Windows 10 version 1903 can check for the "Download and install now" option in their Windows Update settings, according to a blog post by John Cable, director of program management for Windows servicing and delivery. However, he notes that not all users may have that option immediately available: "You may not see 'Download and install now' on your device as we are slowly throttling up this availability, while we carefully monitor data and feedback."
Devices running Windows 10 versions 1803 or 1809 "that also have the May 21st updates (or later) installed" will have the option to download and install version 1903, Cable said.
Microsoft described its roll-out process for Windows 10 version 1903 as "measured and throttled" to minimize service disruptions for users, as well as to ensure that devices are able to support the upgrade. Its general availability on Tuesday comes at the end of a longer-than-usual preview stage that was designed to give Microsoft's OEM and ISV partners more time to test the upgrade and give feedback.
For users running Windows 10 version 1803 and earlier, Microsoft will begin initiating upgrades to version 1903 starting next month to make sure they stay supported. The Home and Pro editions of version 1803, which was released last April, are due to lose support on Nov. 12 of this year. "We are starting this machine learning (ML)-based rollout process several months in advance of the end of service date to provide adequate time for a smooth update process," Cable said.
Windows 7 users -- whose machines, if not updated, stand to fall out of support on Jan. 14, 2020 -- can "upgrade directly" to Windows 10 version 1903, as can users of Windows 8.1, Microsoft noted in a separate blog post on Tuesday.
Windows Server Version 1903
Version 1903 of Windows Server brings enhancements around "containers, edge computing and hybrid," Microsoft said in its Tuesday announcement.
It does not, however, deliver much in in the way of improvements around hyperconvergence or software-defined infrastructure. As a semiannual channel release, version 1903 is more focused around "application scenarios that benefit from faster innovation," the company said. For those looking to access more infrastructure-based features such as Storage Spaces Direct or shielded virtual machines, Microsoft recommends Windows Server 2019, which it released last fall.
Among the new features that are available in Windows Server version 1903 is Windows Server container support in Kubernetes, as well as "GPU acceleration in Windows containers, and scalability improvements in the latest release of Flannel and Kubernetes v1.14."