Fast Ring is Switching to Windows 10 21H1 in Late June

Posted on May 23, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10, Windows 10X with 4 Comments

Or, at least that’s the plan, according to a Microsoft blog post that was mysteriously edited to remove this information.

“The Windows Insider Fast ring is currently on our Manganese (Mn) OS branch,” the removed part of the post originally read. “We expect the Fast ring to switch over to our Iron (Fe) branch toward the later part of June.”

That post is about the new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) features that Microsoft showed off at Build this past week; the Pravda-like history scrubbing was discovered by Windows Latest. (I was tipped off to this by Neowin.) But combined with other recent news—like the demotion of Windows 10X—it does raise some interesting questions about the future.

We know, for example, that Microsoft’s strategy of releasing major Windows 10 upgrades—called feature updates—in the first half of the year (H1) and minor updates—called cumulative updates, but marketed as feature updates for some reason—in the second half of the year (H2) is working. And that it has likewise extended the testing period for the H1 releases to ensure that that they are as bug-free as possible.

20H2 was always going to be a minor release (a cumulative update masquerading as a feature update). But it was also supposed to be the basis for the first release of Windows 10X, which wasn’t going to be tested publicly. But that release has been pushed back to calendar year 2021, and now there are rumors that some core technologies that were previously going to be 10X exclusives, including the new container-based architecture for Win32 apps, are heading to Windows 10 desktop instead.

These two changes will make 21H1 a lot more interesting: Not only will Insiders be testing the Win32 container technology this summer, but they could be testing Windows 10X and its simpler new user interface as well; 10X is such a mess that using the Insider program to test it makes a lot of sense. Together, that’s a lot of new. And it could inject some much needed excitement into the Insider program.

You know, assuming they don’t muck it up with A/B testing.

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