A Windows 10 Field Guide Update

Posted on July 1, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 22 Comments

Now that Microsoft has finally come clean on its plans for Windows 10 version 19H2, I can reveal my own plans, for the Windows 10 Field Guide.

As you may know, I published the first version of the Windows 10 Field Guide in November 2015 and have been updating it continuously ever since to address new features in each subsequent Windows 10 version. The problem, of course, is that Microsoft updates Windows 10 too frequently. And so the book includes some content from the past few Windows 10 versions, with some chapters completely up-to-date and others less so.

To partially address this problem in the past, I’ve made sure that I’ve updated the most important chapters, and those that cover apps or features with the biggest changes, with each release first. And I clearly identify at the start of each chapter which version of Windows 10 the chapter covers.

But until recently, some of the chapters were out of date. So, after updating some high-value chapters for Windows 10 version 1903 this Spring, I examined the table of contents and created an updating schedule based on both age and need. And since then I’ve been updating the book rapidly, chapter by chapter, according to that schedule.

My goal, originally, was to arrive at a version of the book that consisted only of content from both Windows 10 versions 1809 and 1903. The theory there being that the book would then be reasonably up-to-date. And I’m pretty close to that goal right now. Of the 23 content chapters in the book, 11 have been updated for version 1903, 10 are updated for version 1803, and 2 are still on 1803. I plan to update the two remaining 1803 chapters to 1903 very soon.

I had hoped that Microsoft was going to treat the next Windows 10 version as a service pack or R2-type release, and this week’s news confirms that. Windows 10 version 19H2 will be delivered as a cumulative update to Windows 10 version 1903 and not as a feature update, which is a version upgrade. For individuals, it will consist solely of performance improvements and quality enhancements, which means there will be no new features.

This is huge for me. This means that I have until September to get the Windows 10 Field Guide completely up-to-date with the latest version of Windows 10 and with the next version too. And that version won’t be replaced until 20H1 ships in the early second quarter of 2020. The Windows 10 Field Guide will be up-to-date for a long time to come.

And that’s good. Because it’s time to stop updating this book.

When I first published the Windows 10 Field Guide, I wasn’t sure how long I’d provide readers—who paid for the book just once—with continuous updates. At first, I figured two years would be a good time frame, or maybe three. But with the book supporting both Windows 10 version 1903 and 19H2, I will have supported existing readers for a full four years. I feel pretty good about that. But it’s time to move on, too.

And by move on, I mean that I’m going to split this book into different books, each covering a specific Windows 10 version. There will be a Windows 10 Version 19H2 Field Guide (or whatever) that will line up with the Windows 10 Field Guide I’ve been writing so far. But the Windows 10 Version 20H1 Field Guide (or whatever) will be a separate book that will need to be paid for separately. I’m also looking into services beyond Leanpub for distribution and other ways to pay for the book. Further, I’m looking into writing other Field Guides, most of which will be much shorter and even less expensive than the Windows 10 Field Guide. The next one will almost certainly be about Microsoft accounts.

We’ll see. For now, I want to get this book completely updated, first for version 1903 and then for 19H2. And that’s going to come together pretty quickly.

If you have purchased the Windows 10 Field Guide, thank you. And remember that you can always download the latest version of the book from your Leanpub library.

If you haven’t purchased the Windows 10 Field Guide, please do so. It only costs $9.99, is over 500 pages long, and will soon be completely up-to-date for the very latest Windows 10 version. And this benefits me (and my co-authors) directly. Plus, when you consider that Windows 10 19H2 will be serviced for 30 months, this book will technically be current for many through March or April 2022.

Not bad for about $10.

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