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August 5, 2021

MS Uses 20H2 as Official Version Label

Call it by its new name, please. The “Beta Channel” version of the Windows Insider Previews now uses 20H2 to label Build 19042.330, as shown in the lead-in graphic for this story. Thus, we won’t see a 2009, 2010, or 2011 version label for the upcoming Feature Upgrade later this year. In a Windows Insider Program blog post dated 6/16/2020 and entitled “What’s next for Windows 10 Updates,” we see this specific terminology “Windows 10, version 20H2.” This exactly echoes what now shows up in Winver.exe for the latest Beta Channel Insider Preview release. I’m thinking it also reflects a simplification and streamlining of Windows 10 version terminology. That same blog post makes mention of Windows 10 May 2020 Update and Windows 10, version 2004. And of course, we’ve also seen Windows 10 20H1, with or without the word version, used to refer to this release as well. Going forward, it looks inevitable that MS will use a single name for the next release instead of two or three alternate but equivalent terms. And that name is Windows 10, version 20H2.

My Response: Hooray!

I’m glad to see that MS is finally attempting to standardize and fix on a version numbering scheme that is both consistent and predictable. Here’s a verbatim quote on that subject from the blog post:

With this release, we will also simplify our approach to numerical versions for Windows and move to a format that represents the half of the calendar year in which the release becomes available in retail and commercial channels. Windows 10, version 20H2 is, therefore, “20H2” because it will be released in the second half of the 2020 calendar year. This is a familiar approach for our Windows Insiders and is designed to provide consistency in our version names across releases for our commercial customers and partners. (Note: We will continue to use a friendly name, such as the May 2020 Update, in consumer communications.)

And yes you did catch the “friendly name” reference, which means that MS will continue to use something like the November 2020 Update as an alternate cognomen for the next OS release. Sigh. I wish they’d bite the bullet and stick to just one term. But hey! Two terms is better than three, isn’t it? Let’s see how this rolls out as the end of 2020 and the next Feature Upgrade grow ever closer.

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.

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