Microsoft re-releases Windows Server 2019

Microsoft is starting up again its rollout of its Windows 10 1809/Windows Server 2019 feature releases on November 13. Here's what is -- and isn't -- happening starting today.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: ZDNet

After pulling its Windows 10 October 2018 Update (also known as 1809) and Windows Server 2019/1809 feature updates at the start of October, Microsoft is re-releasing them to mainstream users starting today, November 13. The updated versions include fixes for data-loss problems and other issues discovered after Microsoft initially began rolling them out on October 2.

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Starting today, customers can download the Windows Server 1809 and Windows Server 2019 media from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Azure customers will see the Windows Server 2019 image available in the Azure Marketplace over the coming week, officials said. And Microsoft is working to make the Windows Server 2019 evaluation release available on the Microsoft Eval Center. (My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott has the details on the re-release of the client version, now build 17763.107. Microsoft also is re-releasing the October Update version of Windows 10 IoT today, as well.)

    Also: Microsoft resumes rollout of Windows 10 version 1809, promises quality changes

    Microsoft also is going to update its support timeline to reflect today, November 13, as the revised start of servicing for both the Semi-Annual Channel and Long-Term Servicing Channel for Windows Server 1809, Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 1809. (Previously, that date was October 2.) The names of the updates are not changing: For those wondering: The October/1809 updates still will be known by those terms, even though they are being released in November.

    The re-release of Windows Server 2019 today also means that customers who had been waiting to deploy Exchange Server 2019, which requires Windows Server 2019, can now do so. Microsoft began rolling out the on-premises versions of its Office servers -- Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business 2019, SharePoint Server 2019 and Project Server 2019 -- on October 22.

    Here's a quick recap of what's been happening since the initial release of the October Windows 10 1809/Windows Server 2019 feature updates:

    Four days after announcing availability of the October 2018 Update release, Microsoft officials removed it -- and its Windows Server 2019 complement -- from its download sites following user complaints. Some users did manage to grab the October 2018 Update and Windows Server 2019 bits. But those who didn't act fast have been waiting since then for the latest bits.

    Microsoft tested a new version of the October 2018 Update with the data-loss issue (Build 17763) with Windows Insider testers over the past month-plus. The original data-loss issue, which Microsoft officials said affected only "one hundredth of one percent" of customers, is something that some Insiders discovered during their original testing, but which wasn't upvoted enough to merit a fix before the mainstream rollout of the October 2018 Update began.

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    The original data-loss problem occurred on systems where Known Folder Redirection (KFR) had been previously enabled but some files remained in the original location. It also happened on some systems that used the relatively new Auto Save feature in OneDrive to relocate the contents of the Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders to corresponding locations in the cloud. Problems occurred when some files remained in the old location.

    After acknowledging the original data-loss issue, another was discovered involving ZIP compressed files. The October Update was not warning users when moving files from a .ZIP archive to a regular folder with duplicate filenames.Also, users reported that files that should have been copied didn't actually get copied to the destination folder, and there was no indication that the action wasn't carried out. Microsoft acknowledged this issue and said a fix for it would come in November.

    Microsoft published today a blog post about testing and quality in the new Windows-as-a-service world. In the post, which Microsoft plans to turn into a blog series about Windows quality, officials reviewed how Microsoft tests software and how it measures quality.

    If you were looking for an admission by company officials that there's a significant problem with Windows 10 quality, based on user outcry over problems with the last two Windows 10 feature updates (1809 and 1803), you won't find it here. Instead, Microsoft officials are reiterating that their telemetry data shows that customers are increasingly satisfied with each successive Windows 10 update.

    There's also nothing in that blog post regarding Microsoft changing the way it rolls out Windows 10 and Windows Server feature updates. I suggested recently that Microsoft turn one of its two annual Windows 10/Server feature updates into one which only included updates and fixes in the name of helping to improve quality. I wasn't necessarily expecting Microsoft to go this route, but I had hoped there would be some kind of change after what happened with 1803, 1809 and just last week, a major Windows activation snafu.

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    There is a glimmer of hope, however, that maybe Microsoft will do something at some point to improve quality in Windows. Check out this last paragraph of the quality blog:

    "While we do see positive trends, we also hear clearly the voices of our users who are facing frustrating issues, and we pledge to do more. We will up our effort to improve our ability to prevent issues and our ability to respond quickly and openly when issues do arise. We intend to leverage all the tools we have today and focus on new quality-focused innovation across product design, development, validation, and delivery. We look forward to sharing more about our approach to quality and emerging quality-focused innovation in future posts."

    I don't know what the Windows team has up its sleeve here. Hopefully we'll see fruits of whatever efforts may be in the works by the time the spring 2019/19H1 Windows client and server updates hit....

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