Microsoft begins the official rollout of Windows 10 1909

Microsoft's Windows 10 19H2 feature update, codenamed 'Vanadium,' is starting to roll out to mainstream users.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is kicking off the official rollout of Windows 10 1909, the Windows 10 November 2019 feature update today, November 12. The timing isn't surprising, given today is Patch Tuesday, which tends to be when Microsoft commences new feature update rollouts these days.

As it did with Windows 10 1903, the May 2019 Update, Microsoft first rolled out its 1909 feature update to developers about a month ahead of today's commercial launch. In mid-October, Microsoft made the 1909 client and server ISOs available to developers on MSDN.

Today, Microsoft is starting to make 1909 (Build 18363.418) available to "seekers," meaning those who proactively go to Windows Update, check for updates and subsequently opt to download it immediately. As it has been doing with recent updates, Microsoft will be throttling delivery, providing the new feature update over the next few weeks to users with devices that Microsoft has deemed most likely to accommodate the 1909 feature update successfully. 

Officials said 1909 is available via Windows Server Update Services and Windows Update for Business. It is available vi the Volume License Servicing Center (VLSC) and Visual Studio Subscriber downloads. Users can download from here the Windows 10 1909 Enterprise evaluation edition (Thanks to Tero Alhonen for that link. Officials added that Windows Server 1909 is scheduled for general availability later this month via the Azure Portal and the Volume Licensing Servicing Center.  

Microsoft has been testing 1909 in the Slow Ring since July 1. This feature update is unlike previous Windows 10 feature updates, in that Microsoft intentionally decided to limit the number of new features in the release and focus on making changes to the way it services, or updates, this particular release. Though 1909 will look and feel more like a traditional service pack or cumulative update to many users than it will a full feature update, technically it still is a feature update.

As Microsoft officials noted earlier this year, customers who already are running Windows 1903 will find 1909 to be a small, minimally obtrusive update. Those on older Windows 10 feature updates (like 1803 or 1809, for example) will find 1909 to act more like a traditional feature update in terms of size and amount of time required to install it.

Many of the new features in the Windows 10 November 2019 Update are behind-the-scenes improvements to general performance and battery usage efficiency. There are also several feature improvements included for OEMs, application developers, and enterprise administrators. With the release of Windows 10 Version 1909, users of voice-activated digital assistants will be able to converse with associated devices from the Windows 10 lock screen. This handful of new features will be turned on by default. Windows 10 1909 users will start seeing the new Chromium-based Edge browser starting some time after January 15, 2020, and it will be delivered on a staggered, gradual basis to those customers.

Microsoft already is well down the path of testing the next Windows 10 feature update, known as 20H1/2003. Just yesterday, November 11, Microsoft made build number 19013.1122 of 20H1 available for the first time to testers in the Slow Ring

Windows 10 20H1 -- codenamed "Vibranium" -- introduces Cortana as a standalone app, improvements to Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 including Arm64 support, the ability to sign into a device with a Windows Hello PIN, and faster Bluetooth pairing with keyboards and Microsoft mouse devices.     

The next update after 20H1 will be -- unsurprisingly, 20H2 --  which internally is believed to be codenamed "Manganese." Now that the Windows and Azure engineering are on the same "semester" development schedule, Microsoft is believed to be targeting summer 2020 as its completion date for 20H2, which means it could begin testing among Fast Ring Insiders any time now. 

Microsoft officials have declined to say whether all the H2 releases of Windows 10 feature updates, going forward, will be like 19H2, meaning very minor and basically similar to a cumulative update for the H1 release. I've been hearing from my contacts that 19H2 might just be a one-off that was kind of a catch-up/servicing type of thing that won't become the new normal. If that's true, 20H2 could be a more substantial, regular feature update when it arrives.

A related aside: Today, November 12, is the last day that Windows 10 1803 Home, Pro and Pro for Workstation users will get free security and feature updates from Microsoft, as today is the end of support for those 1803 feature updates. Windows 10 1803 Enterprise and Education users still have another year of support left.

Editorial standards