Microsoft has finally released the Windows 10 1903 May 2019 Update after a longer-than-usual incubation period to avert a repeat of the Windows 10 October 1809 2018 Update disaster.
Windows 10 version 1809 should have been an easy roll out for Microsoft based on the relatively problem-free previous releases. But when a bug in the version 1809 feature release destroyed gigabytes of user files, Microsoft admitted its pushy release strategy needed tweaking.
Version 1903, which comes with a nifty sandbox feature for running untrusted files, has been sitting in a previously unused Release Preview Ring since early April. It should have been released in April, but due to widespread concerns over how Microsoft is testing Windows releases, it was put through extra testing before being unleashed it to the general public.
Microsoft has also refreshed its Windows 10 update status page to help users stay informed of the latest issues and bugs, and is trying to be more transparent about how it tests new Windows 10 builds.
As of Windows 10, version 1903, users of the Home edition will also gain more control over when the update is installed. Until now, Windows 10 Home users had no choice but to accept a feature update when Microsoft deemed a device was ready.
Now Windows 10 users can pause feature and monthly updates for up to 35 days, thanks to a tweak to the Windows Update setting, which previously only allowed users to pause updates for seven days.
Microsoft’s Windows 1809 troubles meant that that version has largely been missed by users.
Part of Microsoft’s new controls for users is a "Download and install now" update option available for Windows 10 Home and Pro within Windows Update. It's being rolled out to all currently supported versions of Windows 10.
The "Download and install now” click option addresses an issue where clicking the “Check for updates” button could download security updates but also could download a feature update if it was available.
The new option means that users won’t accidentally run into a feature update by clicking “Check for updates”, but they can choose to proceed with a feature update by clicking "Download and install now” underneath a title explaining that what they’re agreeing to is a feature update. When choosing this, users have up to 35 days to defer the update in 7-day intervals.
“In previous Windows 10 feature update rollouts, the update installation was automatically initiated on a device once our data gave us confidence that device would have a great update experience. Beginning with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users will be more in control of initiating the feature OS update,” said Mike Fortin, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows.
“We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs.”
Windows 10 machines will be updated if they’re running a version of Windows 10 that’s nearing end of service. For Home and Pro edition users, version 1803 or the April 2018 Update reaches of end of service on November 12, 2019.
Fortin notes that the new ‘Download and install now’ option “is available for devices running Windows 10, version 1803 or version 1809 that also have the May 21st updates (or later) installed.”
From June 2019 Windows users on 1803 and earlier will be pushed up to the latest version of Windows 10.
“We are starting this machine learning (ML)-based rollout process several months in advance of the end of service date to provide adequate time for a smooth update process,” said Fortin.