Microsoft Releases a Windows 10 Build from its 2020 Branch

Posted on February 14, 2019 by Brad Sams in Windows, Windows 10 with 21 Comments

Microsoft Announces the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Microsoft has released a new build of Windows 10 to Insiders on the ‘Skip Ahead’ ring but this one is a bit different. This release has the build number of 18836 and you can download the update now from Windows Update.

Unlike previous releases, this build is from the 2020 release, not the one for the second half of 2019; it is being called 20H1. Being that this release is out of order, it does raise a few questions about why Microsoft is doing this.

Officially, Microsoft says that they are doing this because some features planned for 20H1 “require a longer lead time” but there may be other motives as well. For one, they say that they will begin releasing 19H2 bits later this spring, which means we won’t see 19H2 builds until March 20th, at the earliest.

Part of me wonders if this is Microsoft hiding features that are being worked on for 19H2 that will be announced at Build or another time this year. While this very well could be to test new features with a longer runway than typical, the release notes do not point out any substantial changes to Windows either.

Keep in mind, that if you do take this release, you will not be able to switch back to the Fast or Slow rings without doing a clean install.

While we poke around to see if there is more to the story about this peculiar build release, let us know if you find anything hidden once the bits finish downloading.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Microsoft Releases a Windows 10 Build from its 2020 Branch”

  1. hrlngrv

    FWLIW, I have 18836 now on the VM (VirtualBox) I use for Insider Builds. Every once in a while I put the Host to sleep without shutting down the VM. When I wake the Host from sleep, the VM eventually resets its virtual clock. With previous Insider builds this has taken at most 10 minutes. Not 18836. After 45 minutes this morning I launched the Control Panel Date & Time applet and forced the VM to sync with a time server. Dunno whether this is Build 18836 or VirtualBox, but FYI.

  2. Intara

    Maybe this is just M$ way to contradict rumors about Windows 11.

  3. Dan1986ist

    I noticed the blog post mentioned both 19H2 and 20H1, and for those us in Fast Ring, wonder which one will we get when 19H1 rolls out to everyone not running Insider builds?

    As mentioned in the blog post for 18836, quote: "We will begin releasing 19H2 bits to Insiders later this spring after we get 19H1 nearly finished and ready; once 19H1 is “nearly finished and ready” we’ll also use the Release Preview ring for previews of drivers and quality updates on 19H1." unquote.

  4. Finley

    What if they are moving to a once a year update schedule

  5. AlexKven

    Maybe we'll actually get sets in this one.

  6. Darekmeridian

    Wouldn't this kind of make sense if they are about to start ripping out the browser rendering engine for one?


  7. warren

    I suspect this is related to their new policy of supporting "H1" releases for 18 months and "H2" releases for 30 months.


    They can spend the next several months working towards a really good, stable "1909" release that business customers can rely on for a couple of years. Then 20H1 (they can't be planning on calling it "2003" can they?) can bring some big new things.

  8. NoFlames

    Maybe they diagnosed the quality problem and decided one year of testing a branch is better than 6mo. So they could be testing two branches in parallel the whole year with a higher quality release. Note that this change has happened after Windows development was turned over to the Azure group and I'm sure those managers are oriented towards reliability and quality to reduce their own support load.

  9. benisaacs

    Wonder if this means that the H1 updates are platform related with new APIs etc and the H2 are more “cosmetic” and little/no platform changes under the hood? It would explain the shorter cycle maybe?

    • mattbg

      In reply to BenIsaacs:

      The tick/tock approach makes sense, but how do you get people to test a release that has no new visible features? Why would they?


      Unless you want to use customers as beta testers for the first-half release (so that they can prove nothing is broken after the plumbing changes), you'd be better off just moving to a yearly release cycle.

  10. VancouverNinja

    I have been saying this for two years almost. 2019 is THE year we see a new mobile product that unifies the Windows ecosystem. I can't imagine what a pain it is to try and keep new product details confidential with the insane zeal the industry has to get the inside scoop on new tech.

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