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Windows 10 versioning – Time to rethink?

I had an interesting chat with a fellow Windows 10 enthusiast and a close friend of mine yesterday. We conversed about the Windows 10 version 1803 release date and Windows versioning in general. My friend said he expected 1803 to be released within the next ten days. In my abrupt style, I told him he was flat wrong. After he objected to this, I rephrased my reply to him:

First, my apologies. In my honest opinion you are wrong and I did not think I must sugarcoat it.

So, let me try to rephrase my previous post:

With all due respect, I think there’s a slight possibility that you are too optimistic with that. Version 1607 was released early August 2016, version 1703 early April 2017, version 1709 mid October 2017.

This is based on actual facts. Microsoft names the versions as 03 and 09, March and September, but they have also announced that those are the months official release will be ready, not necessarily released to general public. They will, as they have done since beginning, then release new version to general public earliest at first “patch Tuesday” following month.

Doing it in this way gives Microsoft a final chance to change something in case Insiders find / report some issues. Think about Fall Creators Update, build 16299. It was released as version number 1709 states end of September 2017 (26th, to be exact) but only to Insiders. Insiders in fact found and reported some issues, MS fixed them, and when final Fall Creators Update version 1709 was released on October 17th, it had gotten build number 16299.15. That “.15” in the build number is the changes they made after releasing it to Insiders, before releasing it to general public.

That about covers the logic of version numbers. In my opinion, Microsoft should rethink this. I mean, in two years it will be 2020. I do not believe that Windows 10 version 2003 is a good name or version number for use in 2020. It brings back memories of Windows 95, 98 and 2000. Without having any psychology training I am quite convinced of two things. First, that Windows 10 version 2003 when released in March 2020, and second, that a September release that same year named version 2009 neither sound nor look good to users.

That said, permit me to wander totally off-topic: I am also quite sure that Microsoft will drop the digit 10 from Windows 10 as soon as extended support for Windows 8.1 ends in January 2023. Thereafter, it will become Windows: plain, simple and unadorned.

What about Windows 10 version names? Maybe it’s time to rethink those, too. Of course we all know that Microsoft is an American company, using American English as its main corporate language. But when you think about it, the Fall Creators Update version 1709 or now the upcoming Spring Creators Update version 1803 really are not good names. Microsoft needs to take better notice of its global reach, and of Windows 10’s market share around the world.

I mean, for most English-speakers, the season after summer is Autumn, not Fall. Not to mention people and users living south of the Equator. For them, the seasons are reversed, so that Fall / Autumn Creators Update came in Spring, and the Spring Creators Update will come in Fall / Autumn.

I am a narrow-minded old school geek who loves logic and logical thinking. If I had some say in this matter, I would have already dropped the digit “10” and called the latest OS version simply “Windows.” I would then use old, tried-and-true Service Pack nomenclature instead: the November Update version 1511 in 2015 would have been Windows SP1, the Anniversary Update version 1607 would have been Windows SP2, and so on and so forth.

At the moment, I’m keenly awaiting the arrival of Windows SP5, formerly known as Windows 10 Spring Creators Update version 1803, so I can start testing it!


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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2 Responses “Windows 10 versioning – Time to rethink?”

  1. March 29, 2018 at 14:50

    Word is coming out from various sources that Microsoft will indeed be moving to a date-based naming convention going forward. Windows Central reported on 3/28 (https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-move-away-windows-10-redstone-codenames) and NeoWin picked it up on 3/29 (https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-to-ditch-windows-10-redstone-codenames-in-favor-of-ones-that-reflect-the-date), that codenames will take the form YHN. Y will be 2-digit year, H stands for “half”, and N will either be 1 or 2 (for first and second half, respectively). Thus, the upcoming 1803 release would also be known as 18H1. If this as-yet unsubstantiated rumor is confirmed at MS, I’d have to score this prediction as a “win” for Kari. No mention of SP nomenclature, though…

  2. March 29, 2018 at 14:56

    Having now figured out how to get around the incredibly annoying forced advertising requirement at Windows Central, here’s the key snippet from Zac Bowden’s story posted yesterday (3/28):
    “The codename “Redstone” has been with us for quite some time now. It was put into use during development of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update back in 2016 and has been the main codename for Windows 10 releases since. However, it appears that is about to change, as our sources have suggested that Microsoft will be retiring the Redstone codename later this year.

    This change means that Redstone 5, the next feature update for Windows 10 coming in the fall, will be the last Windows 10 update to feature the Redstone codename. According to our sources, Microsoft will be moving to a new codename format starting in 2019 with what would be Redstone 6, now known internally as 19H1.”

    Full text of the story is available at: https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-move-away-windows-10-redstone-codenames.

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