The October Windows 10 feature update is almost here, and that means it’s time to upgrade right away. Just kidding! You’ll want to ensure that your system stays on a supported prior version until the bugs are ironed out.

First off, let me introduce myself. I’m Susan Bradley, a certified public accountant who also runs the technology at my firm and dabbles a bit in computer forensics. Because I work at a small firm, I’ve kept track of security for the firm for many years. As a result, I’ve come to specialize in Windows and Office patches and am one of the moderators of the mailing list at patchmanagement.org.

For years, Woody Leonhard has been updating this article just prior to the release of each Windows 10 feature update, providing advice and instructions on how to prevent the newest release from installing until you’re ready for it. It’s been a moving target, as Microsoft has frequently changed Windows Update’s behaviors and defaults over the years.

I’ve been working with Woody for years — decades, in fact — and he’s asked me to update this guide for the fall release of Windows 10. I share his viewpoints on Windows 10 feature releases: Ultimately I will install them, but I prefer to do that on my schedule, not on Microsoft’s.

The Windows 10 October 2020 Update, also known as version 20H2, debuts a new numbering convention. Rather than using the YYMM format that we’ve come to know (e.g., version 2004), Microsoft is shifting to a YYH1/YYH2 system that indicates whether it’s being released in the first half or the second half of the year. So 20H2 means it is being released in the second half of 2020, and when it’s available for installation, you’ll see “20H2” instead of “2004” in Windows Update.

The next release of Windows 10 will be the 21H1 release and is expected in the first half of 2021, around April. If Microsoft keeps with the naming sequence, the second release of 2021 will be called 21H2. You’ll see this mostly in the naming of the updates you receive via Windows Update and on Microsoft’s Windows 10 release information dashboard.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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