What’s Next for the Windows 10 Field Guide?

Posted on December 14, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 27 Comments

One year ago, I decided to support the Windows 10 Field Guide through the end of 2020. That date is now rapidly approaching.

I’m still not entirely sure how to move forward, but I have a few ideas.

First, I’ve been updating the book for Windows 10 version 20H2 in recent weeks, so if you’ve not downloaded the book recently, you might want to grab a new version (it’s in your Leanpub library and you can always access the latest version).

Some additions to come include a new chapter about command-line shells, a major update to the Install Windows 10 chapter, and content related to Meet Now, Your Phone, and Microsoft Edge. So I think it’s fair to say that supporting/updating the book “through at least the end of 2020” will basically turn into “through as much time as it takes me to get it completely updated for 20H1.” Through sometime in early 2021, I guess.

As for the future, I’d like to move the book to the web somehow, perhaps as a series of Premium articles with a table of contents on Thurrott.com. Updating that—and/or the book in its current form—after that will depend on what happens with Windows 10 next year, and as I’m sure most of you know, Microsoft hasn’t been at all clear about its release 2021 roadmap. There are rumors that things are going to change quite a bit.

If Windows 10 is updated with some minor release in the first half of 2021, I can imagine updating the book to support that. But if Windows 10 is served by a major release sometime in 2021, I could also imagine releasing a new edition of the book that would be, in effect, a “new” book in the sense that it wouldn’t be provided free to existing customers. We’ll see.

The other option is a different book. Perhaps something that focuses on Windows 10X, if that makes any sense at all. I’m also interested in writing a book about Google Pixel. (Actually, two books. I’ve considered a Windows 10 Field Guide-like book that supports Pixel users, and also a history of the business I call Pixel Imperfect. I don’t know.) And then there’s that whole Programming Windows thing too.

For now, I need to focus on the 20H2 updates to the Windows 10 Field Guide, but I’ve been thinking about a way forward for a while now, and I will continue to do so. But let me know if any of this strikes you as particularly interesting or not.

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Comments (29)

29 responses to “What’s Next for the Windows 10 Field Guide?”

  1. Chris_Kez

    Paul, I just want to thank you for the Field Guide. It is quietly one of the best values for anything I’ve ever purchased. It’s been what— five years? Please do not feel obligated to continue updating it for free. I’d be interested in Pixel Imperfect (great title by the way), but given how few actual Pixels were sold, who knows what that market looks like. Keep up the great work, though!

  2. noelt1955

    Happy to pay again for a 2nd edition whenever you decide edition 1 is done Paul. I'd have actually declared that some time back if I were you - but them I'm clearly less generous. Have a wonderful Christmas (or Holiday Season as you Americans so correctly describe it) with your family Paul and thanks for another year of the site I visit most often after the NY Times and the Melbourne Age. Cheers, Noel

  3. mikemai

    I'm a Pixel + Windows user. I for one, would be grateful for a Pixel book written by the person who knows Windows deeply.

  4. RossNWirth

    Feels like a great set of content for Sway :-)

    But I do agree new edition/version/purchase is more than warranted (and happy to purchase)!

  5. mattbg

    I don't know how you do this, to be honest - but would happily pay again for a v2 book. v1 has been updated long beyond the point I would have expected it to be kept up to date at this point.

  6. justme

    As many others have already said - more than happy to pay for a second edition if it means we, your readership, get more of the same. It is a fantastic reference, and while I (like all of us) have appreciated you keeping the book updated as Windows 10 changes, I have absolutely zero issue with you making a break. I cant envision perpetual updates as being sustainable long-term besides the fact that this is your work and I am happy that you should be compensated for it. I also like the idea of a Premium hub of some sort. If you do manage to get the book on the web, I would be interested in a series of articles not only covering how you went about that, but how you *update* the content. To me, updating seems like the biggest challenge to any web reference you devise.

  7. csteinblock

    I think a clean break is a good idea. I don't think it's fair you would be obligated to perpetually update your book.

    However, an online accessible, searchable, guide sounds awesome! I am forever doing that search: "how do you... In Windows 10"

  8. mebby

    Paul, I would pay for 2nd edition, especially if it included the late 2010 Win 10 major release and 10X. (I bought the 1st edition twice. Because... well just because.)

  9. faustxd9

    Definitely will be buying the new copy as soon as you stop the current version so I can keep supporting the great work you do. Definitely interested in the Pixel book(s) as well!

  10. gregsedwards

    Thanks for your dedication to continuous updates over the past five years. It's an excellent resource, and I've turned to it on several occasions. I'll agree that committing to ongoing updates to a book like this is probably untenable long term. I love the idea of turning the Windows 10 Field Guide into a sub-site under Thurrott.com. Perhaps those articles could also be recorded video podcast-style for easy online consumption. And you could publish it behind the paywall as an additional incentive for premium subscribers.

  11. brduffy

    Whenever you get back to "Programming Windows", I would be interested in seeing a project or projects implementing WinUI. Something in C# / XAML preferably.

  12. saturn

    Just my 2 cents worth: I think it might be time to wrap up the idea of a Windows 10 guide. I'm not confident a version of the book accessible and updated through the website would attract much attention or readership.

    I personally quite like the idea of Pixel Imperfect. I also like the potential idea of a series of web articles spread over time about the best and worst of Windows throughout the years - a reflection series on how Windows has changed, triumphed and faulted over time. Something tech enthusiasts can sink their teeth into.

  13. oscar90

    Why would you write a book about a product that almost no one wants? Pixel has a market share of 0.3 %, barely noticeable.

  14. dlc96_darren

    I had to log into Leanpub just to remember how long it's been since I bought the Field Guide. At the time, I had no idea how much value I'd get out of that purchase. No issues with buying it again.

  15. ronh

    I'll pay for a new Field Guide!

  16. JH_Radio

    I like the idea of having a premium hub for all of this stuff. I'd be curious about Pixel imperfect too.

  17. starkover

    Whatever else you do, I have no problem with a Field Guide 2nd edition. That will allow me to not feel as much like I didn't pay enough for all the revisions to edition 1.

  18. walterwood44

    Paul, if you choose to put this up as web publication, I would love to watch how you do it. I have 700 pages of documentation for a product that the company I work for sells. support and we have been mulling over the same issue. Right now it is maintained in Word and published in PDF. It is so large it is getting unworkable.

  19. solomonrex

    Don't be afraid to do a version 2.0 if MS continues forever with 10. And no need to philosophize publicly about monetization. Just think it through.

    I'd love to see something about xbox more than pixel. It's really enough to write about, esp if you know some of the nitty gritty of hdmi, uhd, 4k,

  20. dc696969

    And it’s a +1 from me for Windows 10 Field Guide as a new book. You have spent an inordinate amount of time on the original. I don’t need the Pixel book, but that’s just me. Thanks Paul.

  21. phytio

    To be honest, if you write it, I'll read it. Thank you for the huge amount of work you put into your books!

  22. cwfinn

    I, for one, have NO problem with paying for a new Windows Field Guide. I've received WAY more than I paid for so far. You deserve to be rewarded for your work. Ho, ho, ho...

  23. nine54

    Add a vote for Pixel Imperfect--I would buy that. Something on 10X could be interesting, too.

  24. Doctor_K

    This book is BY FAR the best value for money purchase I have ever made, Thank you for you dedicated time and effort along this long journey of Windows 10 releases and updates to your book!

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