Windows 10 20H1 is 2020’s first major update – but Microsoft will keep it on ice for a few months

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10’s next big update for the first half of 2020 is almost done, as we already know, but now it really is on the cusp of being finalized – except that it looks like Microsoft will hold onto it for a good few months in the final phase of testing.

We saw at the close of November that Microsoft was almost done with 20H1, to the point where the watermark indicating a preview build had been removed, but the final touches were still being applied to the OS update.

According to a tweet from Zac Bowden (of Windows Central fame, who is the source of many Microsoft leaks), 20H1 is about to hit RTM – the final release candidate of the update – and likely this week (he seemed to think it might’ve been the end of last week even, but obviously that didn’t happen).

As mentioned, we already knew the 20H1 update would likely be ready in December, so we did wonder whether it might be deployed very early in 2020, such as in February.

But as Bowden indicates, the apparent plan for 20H1 – which is also known as Windows 10 version 2004 – is to hold it for a release in March or April (GA means general availability), with it hanging around in the slow and release preview rings for a long time in testing.

Hold, please…

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has kept an update in the final phase of testing for a good long time – this also happened with the May 2019 Update, although not for that long.

Extended testing has previously been Microsoft’s plan to avoid any repeat of the disastrous October 2018 Update, along with a very slow and careful rollout process.

At any rate, the long and short of it is that while Microsoft may be done on the 20H1 or version 2004 update, we won’t get it until March or April – if this rumor is on the money, that is. But it’s certainly believable given Microsoft’s past history, as mentioned…

Of course, you might think that version 2004 would indicate an April 2020 release date (April being month ‘04’), but the version numbers Microsoft gives these feature updates don’t reflect the exact month of release.

Indeed, Microsoft has previously clarified that this update would normally have been version 2003 (following on from 1903 this year), but the version name was changed to avoid any possible confusion with Windows Server 2003.

You might also recall that the cadence of the Windows 10 feature updates released in 2020 was adjusted by Microsoft to take into account the incoming Windows 10X-powered dual-screen devices landing next year (like Surface Neo). This is why the 20H1 update has been finished so early, and also the reason why the latest November 2019 Update was a simple set of bug fixes and tweaks with no new features (to ensure that it was pushed through quickly).

The 20H1 update for Windows 10 includes a major revamp for Cortana as well as Windows search, plus a passwordless sign-in system, and more.

Via Windows Latest

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).