Last night, Microsoft issued a new Fast ring build to Windows Insiders, pushing the program forward to some future version of Windows 10 beyond 20H1. But which version? Is this 20H2? 21H1?
As it turns out, neither. Or both. Or something.
What the Insider folks are telling us is how the program is changing. As you may recall, Microsoft late last year got rid of Skip Ahead, which had become pointless and confusing in the wake of its decision to change how the Fast and Slow rings worked. So here’s what they said about how the Fast ring will work with this and future new builds.
“The Fast ring will receive builds directly from the active development branch (called “RS_PRERELEASE”) and new features will show up in these builds first,” the latest Insider post notes. “While features in the active development branch may be slated for a future Windows 10 release, they are no longer matched to a specific Windows 10 release. This means that builds from the active development branch simply reflect the latest work in progress code from our engineers. New features and OS improvements done in this branch during these development cycles will show up in future Windows 10 releases when they are ready. And we may deliver these new features and OS improvements as full OS build updates or servicing releases.”
What this suggests is that we’ll be publicly testing features from at least the next two versions of Windows 10, and that there’s no real way to know whether specific features will make it into the very next version. This is a problem for anyone who supports Windows, obviously, not just book authors like me but also those in enterprise IT. But you know. Microsoft.
At least they make it seem like a positive.
“Insiders in the Fast ring will always receive builds with the freshest code from our engineers regardless of branching off for a specific release,” the post continues. “Everyone in the Fast ring is always moving forward!”
Yes. Like a shark.
Anyway, build 19536 does bring a handful of small new features that we’ll presumably see in shipping versions of Windows 10 sometime in the next year or more. These include:
Optional drivers. I can’t tell what’s changed here based on the description. But it seems like they’re moving towards a system where “you no longer need to browse Device Manager for a specific device to update.” I can’t imagine anyone normal was ever doing that. I certainly never do.
Korean IME re-release. The Korean IME that Microsoft was developing for Windows 10 version 19H1 was pulled late in development. It’s back.
Family group during Setup. You will now see an option to create or use a Family group during Setup if you clean install (or, really, Reset this PC) with this build.
Confusion reigns. As usual.