Windows 10 Version 1903 is Available on MSDN

Posted on April 19, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 10 with 4 Comments

That’s earlier than usual, but the release is tied to a call for developers to start targeting this new version. Which is itself tied, I believe, to Microsoft’s desire to put the Windows 10 version 1809 debacle behind it.

I learned about Windows 10 version 1903 on MSDN via Twitter, where multiple users mentioned the unexpected and early release there. Typically, Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 version to MSDN only after it is generally available to customers. And in this case, that means late May, since Microsoft infamously has held up the general availability of version 1903 in the Release Preview ring to avoid any 1809-like mistakes.

Indeed, Microsoft’s Michael Niehus essentially confirmed this when he responded to a question on Twitter by Mary Jo Foley.

The “call to action” blog post that Niehus mentioned is something I actually started writing up yesterday and then decided to skip for reasons that I’ll make obvious below. Basically, Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 SDK for the May 2019 Update—which is really called the Windows 10 SDK version 1903—is now available with a go-live license. In other words, developers can submit apps that take advantage of the latest Windows 10 SDK to the app store and begin offering them publicly to customers.

Even though the Windows 10 version they target is not shipping publicly until next month.

I must be honest here. While I have no issue with MSDN getting the new Windows 10 version early—the program is aimed at developers, after all—I have a huge problem with Microsoft offering a go-live license to developers for this version over a month before the product is “fully available,” to use Microsoft’s terminology. If you read over that blog post, you’ll see all kinds of weird qualifications, issues, and requirements that, to me, suggest that waiting for the final release is prudent. Indeed, given the problems with Windows 10 1809 and 1803, it’s unclear why any developer would trust this version before it’s even released.

So, I didn’t write about it yesterday. But the MSDN release sort of forced my hand.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Windows 10 Version 1903 is Available on MSDN”

  1. mdrapps

    I am a developer, and merge code all the time. Its not like they started from scratch with 1903. Aside from new features, I think the OS Core is as stable as is can be. Shouldn't the 1903 release be at least as stable as the latest Window 1809 patch Release?

    • sevenacids

      In reply to mdrapps:

      There are still issues, like Windows Sandbox not working with the current CU (18362.53), for example. But I have no problem with developers getting early access to the bits. Those who want to ready some code for the new release will have enough time to adopt and test, although I think these people should be on the Insider Program regardless, and would have access to the final bits via Release Preview anyways.

  2. ulrichr

    This is not as big an issue as you might imagine. If I am the developer of an app that has been in the store for a while, I'm likely to have a couple of versions in the store, say a version that supports the last version of Windows 8.1, and a version is for Windows 10 1809. If I now look at the new SDK and decide that it contains some functionality that I absolutely want in my app, I simply create a new version of the app. I can do one of two things...

    1. I can set the minimum SDK version for this new build to 1903. When this app is deployed to the store, the previous versions will remain in the store unchanged and customers will have the most appropriate version of the app delivered to them. This allows me to test my app with people like the Windows Insiders who already have 1903.
    2. If I also want to add some new features or fix bugs that don't depend on 1903, plus add 1903 only features, then I can leave my minumum version set to 1809 (or 1803), and use 'capabilities' in code to check if the version of Windows 10 the app is running on supports the call I am about to make. When this is submitted to the store, it replaces the older version of of the app, but now contains some new functionality that will only appear if the customer is running SDK 1903.


    Both approaches mean I can test my app with a smaller population of typically more technical customers before the general population get exposed to it.

  3. RichA

    Early publication of the final build on MSDN provides another advantage, albeit a small one, over waiting until it's released to the general public: less traffic, hence less time to download. A 10-15 minute download today could easily become an hour or two when everyone and their uncle is trying to get their hands on it. (Yes, other factors affect download speeds, so the cost of waiting may matter more or less depending on your circumstances.)


    Absent something catastrophic, there's a reasonable chance that the .iso files that are available on MSDN today will be the same ones released at the end of May, and you'll have the same experience installing 1903 that the general public has. If you have 4-5 GB to spare for the next month or so, it'd be just like getting your Christmas shopping done early.

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