Behold the April (2018) Update. Sorry (Updated)

Posted on April 22, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 72 Comments

Windows 10 Adopts Xbox Update Naming Convention

UPDATE: I just did a clean install of Windows 10 version 1803 and was greeted with the message “Welcome to the best version of Windows yet” (or similar), and not “Welcome to the April update as shown above.” Interesting. –Paul

UPDATE 2: My sources have confirmed that the official name will be “April 2018 Update.” So a bit of common sense has prevailed. Not that this was the name I was originally told. –Paul

Microsoft has had a problem naming its Windows 10 feature updates for the past few years. And while I can now confirm that the real name of the “Redstone 4” update is not the Spring Creators Update, I think it’s fair to say that the name problems continue.

As tech enthusiast blogs (like Neowin) are starting to report, the real/new name of RS4 is “the April Update.” Yes, really. Cue  sadtrombone.wav.

I’ve been waiting to confirm this name—sort of, I had heard it was the “April 2018 Update”—for several weeks. You may note that I’ve been writing and saying that “Spring Creators Update” isn’t correct. And thank God for that. But the new name? It’s just as stupid.

Windows 10 feature updates are really Windows 10 version upgrades. So when you install the April update, as RS4 is now called, you are really upgrading your PC to Windows 10 version 1803. That name, “Windows 10 version 1803,” contains everything you need to know. It is a new Windows 10 version. And it was finalized in March (03) 2018 (18).

Microsoft, of course, has been pretending that Windows 10 version upgrades are somehow exciting or interesting to the general public, so they’ve been using fun marketing names for each. The first major upgrade to Windows 10 (which, yes, was the second upgrade), for example, was called the Anniversary Update because—wait for it—it was finalized about a year after the first version. The Creators Update was a last minute choice that has dogged Microsoft ever since. I know they wish they could take that one back. Despite using the name for the subsequent upgrade too. Cough.

Anyway, with Microsoft shifting Windows 10 from pretend excitement to maintenance mode, I had kind of hoped that the cooler heads in the Azure/Server group would force the Windows 10 team to use their naming convention. Which—-wait for it—is to use that Windows 10 version 1803 naming style. Though they add a comma for some reason. Like Windows 10, version 1803. Ah, consistency.

And… maybe they will. Just not for this release.

In any event, this April Update name is consistent with how Xbox names its system updates. And that’s too bad because this kind of name is also dumb. Yes, the April Update is (sort of) shipping in April this year. But then, Microsoft plans to ship an April update every year. What are they going to call next year’s update? The April Update 2?

No. If Microsoft sticks to this naming convention—and I hope they will not—they will simply call it—wait for it—the April Update. Again. Because, yes, that is what Xbox does.

If only there were a clear way to identify these updates. If only.


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Comments (76)

76 responses to “Behold the April (2018) Update. Sorry (Updated)”

  1. Todd Northrop

    I like the fact that they are not coming up with wacky names. I can't stand the trendy naming of releases in Ubuntu and Android and a host of other software. Just name it the month and year - perfect.

  2. Gavin Groom

    At least 'April Update' makes sense here in the southern hemisphere.

  3. Paul Thurrott

    More like April Fools Update. ;)

  4. chrisrut

    Microsoft's fabled "Department of Silly Rules" at work, no doubt. Their mission: to ensure every system has a sufficient number of "silly rules" baked in to ensure logic alone cannot get things to work.

    The sheer elegance of a number system like "1803" seems to leave some pundits puzzled.

  5. hrlngrv

    Were XP and Vista all that better? Has MSFT ever shown any flair at version naming? IOW, why should we expect improvement?

  6. simont

    There was a discussion on Twitter about naming Windows releases after different dog breeds. Paul didn't approve :)

  7. sgtaylor5

    FWIW, version 1803 is the first version that slowed down my Sandy Bridge Dell desktop enough so I'll probably need to get an SSD at some point to speed things back up.

  8. warren

    Why are operating system vendors so bad at this?

    Starting from 1984, we had 17 years of Macintosh system software release numbers that slowly but steadily increased from 1 to 9..... and then 17 more years of it being stuck at 10, albeit this time with a "point version" that has increased from 0 to 12. And the actual name has changed from "Mac OS" to "Mac OS X" to "OS X" to "macOS".

    Is that "Eks, or is that ten"? There are still people out there who still genuinely believe it is pronounced like the letter X.

    Like, seriously, there was a time there where Apple actually expected people to call their operating system "Ohh Ess Ten Ten Point Ten". Mixed in with that was what was a really earnest attempt to fuck with their non-English speaking customers and make them say "Yosemite". COME ON.

    So.... Apple is bad at this too.

    Microsoft is even worse though. Now they've decided to park on "10" as well, because why exactly? The other guys are doing it? Geez. Thank fuck they didn't call it "Windows X".

  9. adamcorbally

    Who cares what they call it? Microsoft has much bigger problems than this

  10. skane2600

    Windows had minor updates for years before Windows 10 and didn't feel the need to give them names. When a major change is made (there hasn't been any yet for Windows 10) change the OS version name. MIcrosoft's statement that "Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows" was a strategic mistake and one that inevitably will fall.

    • arunphilip

      In reply to skane2600:

      Fair point, but is there a major change on the horizon? We're 3 years into Windows 10 (which is typically when Microsoft issue a new OS), and there's no talk of a major change, just focus on these bi-annual updates. It was also the reason I created a thread in the forums trying to assess if W10 + 3 years feels like a new OS.

    • NT6.1

      In reply to skane2600:

      I knew they failed after the Anniversary update. They told us the November Update was just minor fixes, that was ok. But they made a big deal out of the Anniversary and made me realize Windows 10 was a year old and still lacking in interesting features. I would say, scrap everything, start over with Windows 7. Build a Win32 Store, add new build in Win32 apps and fix the damn UI across all the OS. New little apps like Weather, photo organizer, simple video editor and stuff.

  11. robincapper

    Yay for the name from an Autumnal April in NZ

  12. fbman

    And the sad part, most non technical users dont care or even know the names of the updates. They see the update appear, it installs and they move on with there life.

    My sister-in-law, who is as non techincal as they get, does not even know MS releases bi-annual updates to windows 10. The machine tells her, that an update is ready for install and it installs. For users like her, MS's automatically update feature works well.

  13. arunphilip

    Me: So this is called the April Update.

    Them: Meaning it was released in April, I guess? Which year?

    Me: This year, 2018.

    Them: Cool. So if I run "winver" I'll see 1804, right?

    Me: Erm, no. It's 1803.

    Them: Wait, you said it's the called the April update. That's the fourth month. So why is it 1803?

    Me: Because Microsoft.

  14. TroyTruax

    What used to make the name important is so that you understood what third party software would run on it and what device drivers were compatible with it. Now that Windows is more or less forcing users to stay up to date this information is not as important. Who cares if next year's update is called the April update. Do you get to stay with the April 2018 update? Of course not! You will have been upgraded to the September update by then.

  15. Chris Payne

    On a related note... I upgraded to whatever-this-release-is-called this weekend (via release preview ring), and I haven't been able to find anything new except refined icons in Edge and the task view. All the bugs/issues I had before are still here. sadtrombone.wav indeed.

    I opted out of the insider previews this go-round because my interest in Windows in general is waning, but if I didn't know any better, I wouldn't have assumed there was an update in April (or March) at all. And maybe that's why MS hasn't communicated jack about it.

  16. techguy33

    Those MBAs in the meetings need something to do! Seriously they need to stop trying to make the 6 month feature update cycle a big deal with cutesy marketing names. From the user perspective the 6 month feature update should be no different than any other patch tuesday update. Oh look there's an update to install...done.

  17. rameshthanikodi

    dear MS,

    call it Windows 10 version 1803.


  18. pachi

    How about stopping these ridiculous 6-month major updates and go yearly. Windows 10 2018 update. Windows 10 2019 update.

  19. jrswarr

    I don't really care what they call it. To me this naming thing is much ado about nothing. The only thing that matters? - Is my computer up-to-date. If the latest and greatest is installed - then I am all set. I don't think it needs a name past calling it the April Update - it just doesn't matter anymore.

    Matter of fact - you can drop the number 10 as well. Lets just call it Microsoft Windows. Works for me.

    • Wolf

      In reply to jrswarr:

      I agree completely. If you have to have it, the only relevant identifier is the version number: 1703, 1709, 1803. These are perfectly clear identifiers. As long as they continue with the numerical progression, everything makes sense. Nonsense names don't matter. They are ... nonsense.

  20. nbplopes

    Considering that MS is such a global company why don’t they go for city names all over the globe?

    Windows New York, Chicago, LA, Paris, Lyon, London, Manchester, Lisbon, Porto, Islamabad, Madrid, Barcelona .... keep on going, They could even pin release names the map for fun and dedicate wallpapers to the release. Probably even give some info about the geography for fun. Dedicating the releases to users in those countries. How social is that?

    Would there be any legal issues with this?

  21. gerardt

    So is this update now available as a general release?

  22. Gardner

    The problem here isn't that this is the worlds most important decision. Its not, its just a moniker.

    The problem is that once again, even for something simple, Microsoft is unable to make a final decision and stick to it.

    How much time inside Google and Apple would you guess is spent on deciding what sort of naming convention to use for their products? You would believe "None, they both have logical, accepted techniques that resonate with their audiences" wouldn't you?

    Microsoft, not only can't they find a naming scheme that resonates with their audience, every decision they make on this is endlessly revisited. Like every other decision they make. Nothing ever is final

    If you cant get something simple like this right, how are you able to address the larger issues? You know, the complex computer science questions....

    • Edward Grego

      "The problem is that once again, even for something simple, Microsoft is unable to make a final decision and stick to it."

      This has been a problem for many years, especially since Balmer exited. Balmer may have made some poor decisions, but he had vision and follow through, there is none of that left at MS, it almost seems like they are led by emotions instead of logic. A logical naming scheme would be; drop the "10" and make it simply "Windows", maybe "Windows 18", then for the ridiculous second annual update, "Windows 18.1", it makes sense and it's easy to tell where you are in the update schedule.

      "If you cant get something simple like this right, how are you able to address the larger issues? "

      Answer: they can't!

  23. Tony Barrett

    Look, the vast majority just don't give a damn what MS call it - it's just yet another very large, inconvenient, risky update to an OS that seems to spend more time being patched than actually doing anything useful. It's annoying, it's frustrating and it's just getting very, very tedious. Security updates are fine, and necessary, but MS feel the need to keep adding feature after unnecessary feature just to keep this OS in the media and to try and make it somewhat interesting.

  24. Waethorn

    Can it really be called "1803" anyway after finding a blocking bug that they had to fix?

  25. ianhead

    The people have spoken, Microsoft. All future feature updates need to be named after dogs. It's the right thing to do.

  26. Maktaba

    I don’t see anything wrong with the name “April Update”, though “April 2018 Update” is better.

  27. andrewtechhelp

    At least it's a step in the right direction :) . At least this name doesn't mention seasons so it will actually mean something everywhere in the world :)

  28. dcdevito

    Why wouldn't something like "Spring 2018 Update" work?

  29. 1armedGeek

    If you want simplicity and clarity, I think Spring 2018 Update or 2018 Spring Update would probably work best. Forget the numbers for the general public like 1803. That would be fine for people like us, but the general public might have to think about what 1803 refers to for a few seconds. "Spring 2018 Update" would be immediately understood.

  30. RR

    More than any inconsistency, it's the obsession over what Microsoft names their software that is even more comical. Proof that work will expand to fill available space.

    Once a software startup couldn't come up with a name that made any sense, so the founder said, I'll just call it Apple. Which made no sense but, here we are. Has it detracted from any enjoyment you had of their good products?

    In honor of that and also Alfred Kahn, we can henceforth refer to any Microsoft output a Kumquat

  31. madthinus

    Why do these things need a name? It is not like they are marketing anything with it. All marketing material say Windows 10.

    Just copy Apple and start calling these things Windows 10.18.03

    • eeisner

      In reply to madthinus:

      Apple has been putting marketing-friendly names on their feature updates for years though, most recently with High Sierra. Yea, there's a version number/technical name (10.13.x), but they have always added names to MacOS, partly for marketing and partly for "normal" users to know what version they're on. And it makes sense, just like naming hardware with a marketing-friendly name like Surface or Zenbook or Macbook makes sense instead of having ASUS X551 or random model number be the product name.

      "April Update" is f-ing terrible, though. They need a consistent naming convention - you can't do the "Fall/Spring Creators Update" every year unless the next year you have a new thing your pushing, whether it's the "Productivity Update" or "Gaming Update" or "Student Tools Update", etc.

      MSFT should just name Windows 10 versions after PNW landmarks and get it over with - there's enough mountains, volcanoes, and lakes around here that have cool names.

  32. djross95

    A college marketing major could do better than this. Why not call it the "who gives a sh*t update", as most interesting features were deferred until later? At least it installed flawlessly, so there's that!

  33. Lewk

    I find it even more comical because this update will hit most users machines in May, June or even July. Which would confuse the hell out of anyone receive it later in the year when they log into their computer to find Edge auto-open to "Welcome to the April Update" ROFL ?

  34. unfalln

    Personally I'd prefer "Windows 10 - Copy (4)"

  35. jchampeau

    Cut Microsoft some slack. They're a brand new company and probably can't afford to hire the best and brightest. Picking names that make sense requires collaboration among teams and they probably just don't have the software or platforms to work together effectively.

    I mean, think of the resources that must have been spent when other companies came up with their clever version-naming schemes. Not just any person or team could choose amusing and whimsical names whose first letter ascend in alphabetical order like Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat. Or the real genius way to do it: use numbers like 9 and 10 and 11.

  36. Stooks

    I 100% believe that Microsoft has a department that re-names products and comes out with new versions just to confuse customers.

    I have been supporting MS products in the enterprise for a long time.

    Things like this...Live Communication Server>Office Communication Server>Lync>Skype for Business>Teams???. Or just crazy jumps in names like "ISA Server" became "Microsoft Forefront Threat Managment Gateway" overnight one day.

    Windows 10S is gone (in less than a year?) for Windows 10 S mode??

    Just email me at my passport/msn/hotmail/live/outlook account to let me know how you feel. I will paying music on my play for sure/zune/Xbox Music/Groove app.

  37. woelfel

    Windows 10, Version 1803.


    Windows 10, April 2018 update.

  38. Finley

    April Update isn't horrible but April 2018 would work better

    Easy to understand for the tech apathetic of the world

  39. NT6.1

    1803 build named "April Update" being released in may. Yikes.

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