As Microsoft brings a Windows 10 Feature Upgrade to completion, there’s a period immediately leading up to the latest release (1809 in the most recent case) where the Skipahead and Fast Ring releases merge. This continues past the official release of that feature upgrade for a while. In the past, at some point the two releases diverge where Skipahead takes on the release nomenclature of the next major upgrade (19H1 at present) while the Fast Ring keeps the current version number (1809). So far, that split between Fast Ring and Skipahead releases has not occurred. It’s been just under a month since the first 1809 saw the light of day. Just yesterday, MS released Build 18272 with the following description:
Exactly one month after 1809 made an appearance, and 28 days after it was withdrawn from circulation, 1803 remains the current Win10 version on the Download Windows 10 page.
[Image captured 11/1/2018//Click for full-sized view.]
How Long Will This Merger Persist?
Of course, the MS Win10 team has its hands unexpectedly full at the moment. Despite an initial foray into Build 1809 on October 2, the official Download Windows 10 page still offers only 1803 to users seeking an OS download this morning (November 1, shown in preceding screencap). I have to believe that the answer to the merged Skipahead and Fast Ring releases is tied to establishing an official release point for 1809. Only after there’s an anchor from which the Fast Ring and Skipahead releases diverge, can those two releases march forward independently of one another. That’s not to say the the Win10 Team isn’t already working on a 19H1 release — the preview nomenclature quoted above clearly indicates that. But without a point of departure for 19H2 to split off from 19H1 there’s no point in splitting Skipahead away from the Fast Ring.
Does that mean the split won’t happen until the anchor is set? By “anchor is set” I mean “until an official and blessed 1809 release appears.” That indeed is my guess, and we won’t know if that guess is correct or in error until 1809 re-appears on the Download Windows 10 page. The real interesting question now is “When will that happen?” I don’t know, but I have to imagine that the Win10 Team is working as hard as they possibly can to make that appearance occur sooner, rather than later. Hopefully, what emerges when that happens will meet with widespread approval and adoption. One certainly presumes that the data loss issues reported with regard to OneDrive and the built-in file compression/decompression utilities will be completely solved, with no further instances of that kind of thing in the offing, either. Stay tuned: we’ll just have to see about that!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.