Microsoft today started rolling out the free Windows 10 November 2019 Update. For those keeping track, this update is Windows 10 build 18363 and will bring Windows 10 to version 1909. You can grab it from Windows Update when it’s served to you, or try to download it manually.
Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released seven major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, April 2018 Update, October 2018 Update, and May 2019 Update. The eighth one arrives this month.
(Microsoft today also ended support for the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Most Windows 10 users are no longer using this version, so this is largely a reminder for stragglers to update.)
Windows 10 November 2019 Update is small
The Windows 10 November 2019 Update (version 1909) is odd because it shares the same Cumulative Update packages as the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903). That means version 1909 will be delivered more quickly to version 1903 users — it will install like a monthly security update. The build number will barely change: from build 18362 to build 18363. If two computers have the same servicing content, the build revision number should match: 18362.xxx and 18363.xxx. For developers, this means a new Windows SDK will not be issued in conjunction with this version of Windows (there aren’t any new APIs).
Again, the Windows 10 November 2019 Update is not a typical release. It’s a much smaller update, though it is still worth getting. Windows 10 version 1909 brings improvements to Windows containers, inking latency, and password recovery. User-facing features include letting third-party digital assistants to voice activate above the Lock screen, being able to create events straight from the Calendar flyout on the Taskbar, and displaying OneDrive content in the File Explorer search box. You may also notice some changes to notification management, better performance and reliability on certain CPUs, and battery life and power efficiency improvements. A handful of features is also being removed.
An update for nearly 1 billion devices
Windows 10 adoption started out very strong but naturally slowed as the months progressed. Microsoft was aiming for 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in two to three years but backpedaled on that goal. It’s now set to hit that milestone next year.
The operating system was installed on over 75 million PCs in its first four weeks and passed 110 million devices after 10 weeks. Growth was fairly steady afterwards: 200 million in under six months, 270 million after eight months, 300 million after nine months, 350 million after 11 months, and 400 million after 14 months. Growth naturally tapered, though: 500 million after 21 months, 600 million after 28 months, 700 million after 38 months, and 800 million after 44 months.
In September 2019, Microsoft said Windows 10 was running on over 900 million devices. A month earlier, Windows 10 passed 50% market share.
GamesBeat Gift Guides: Everything we recommend this holiday season