Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Version 20H2

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 18 Comments

Microsoft today announced that the next version of Windows 10, called version 20H2, will not be a true feature update, just like version 19H2/1909.

“Windows 10, version 20H2 will offer a scoped set of features to improve performance and enhance quality [over Windows 10 version 2004],” Microsoft’s John Cable explains. “It will also be the first version of Windows 10 to include the new Microsoft Edge, based on Chromium. We will again deliver 20H2 using servicing technology (like that used for the monthly update process) for customers running [Windows 10 version 2004] who choose to update to the new release.

So that mystery is put to bed.

Additionally, Microsoft revealed that the 20H2 branding is official and that it will not name this as Windows 10 version 2010 or whatever. Going forward, the firm will use the H1 and H2 branding in version numbers to indicate that a Windows 10 version was released in the first or second half of the year, respectively.

So that’s good news, too.

Related to all this, Microsoft has issued the first build of Windows 10 20H2 to Windows Insiders in the Slow ring. Yes, that’s how they described it despite the recent channel announcement.

And because this is the Windows Insider program, they’re being coy about it. To get the new build, you’ll have to “seek” it by manually checking for updates in Windows Update like a peasant.

In the good news department, Microsoft is at least not A/B testing anything in 20H2: It says that it heard our feedback and is “not doing that for 20H2.” So anyone who chooses to download and test 20H2 will actually be able to do so normally.

Common sense prevails. Victory at last.

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Version 20H2”

  1. will

    This is all things they should have done from day one. Hopefully going forward the H2 releases are always refinements and updates for the H1. This works well for the Long Term Branch and organizations that want stability and only update 1x a year.

    The naming system works a lot better, as does the new Beta branding for testing.

  2. jchampeau

    It's almost like someone might have said something out loud about how releasing a whole new version of Windows twice a year was unsustainable.

  3. adamstaiwan

    When can we uninstall the Windows Experience Pack and install in the Linux Experience Pack?

  4. Winner

    I wonder if Windows 10 21H1 will add inking to my desktop?

  5. dftf

    Not keen on 20H2 being the official name, but I guess it means they don't look silly releasing an OS a month-or-two after when it was due this way as the naming-convention is now non-committal.

    Why not do what Apple do and just call it Windows 10.11 or Windows 10 (Update 11).

    Or, given the H2 updates are less-major, how about "Windows 10, 2020 Update with SP1" ;)

  6. anderb

    Who wants to bet they somehow manage to release 21H1 in H2?

  7. benisaacs

    The past two days have been the most positive news about Windows 10 we’ve had in some time. It finally seems we have an adult in Panos in charge.

    The new channels make sense and so does keeping 20H2 as the name - I never saw the point in a release code named 20H1, with release branch vb_release, but “done” in December 2019 yet “final build” done in April (hence 2004) and released in May (hence May 2020 update).

    If only we saw more of this and the quality start improving...

  8. olditpro2000

    New branding is good; reduces confusion.

  9. BizTechSherpa

    I cannot remember the last Windows 10 release that had significant improvements in capability. And I do not count dark mode as significant. It's a color scheme; like hot dog stand.

  10. Cdorf

    Mary Jo may not have to use the gong tomorrow

  11. compuser

    Do we even need two releases every year? What does the H2 do that isn't already being done with the Patch Tuesday patches/updates every month?

    • miamimauler

      In reply to CompUser:

      "Do we even need two releases every year"

      At this point MS should revert to one yearly update until they get it right. Every update has become buggier and buggier over the past couple of years.

      It really is becoming an embarrassment for MS.

      • illuminated

        In reply to miamimauler:
        At this point MS should revert to one yearly update until they get it right.

        The less frequently they do it the bigger the update becomes and more likely it would break something.

        • Paul Thurrott

          They literally are making one yearly update. The H2 update is not just a cumulative update. It's a good compromise.
      • epguy40

        In reply to miamimauler:

        a "one yearly update" approach without extending the life support span of every feature update is NOT good enough. need to also increase the time or life support span for home & pro editions to maybe 24 months [2 years] (I mean why do enterprise & education editions of the recent Win10 autumn/fall feature updates get 30 months of support while Win10 home & pro edition feature updates get a measly 18 months of support)

  12. stevek

    The numbers are better from a management side of things. Having letters in there make comparison operations harder. I'd be happier if they just made it XX06 and XX12 instead of the H1 H2 thing...