Windows 10 19H2 falls behind schedule as Microsoft fails to hit spring target for testing

Windows Update
Windows Update (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's officially the start of summer, and Microsoft still hasn't begun previewing the next Windows 10 update, codenamed 19H2, that's expected to roll out later this year. This is because Microsoft has fallen behind schedule with its plans for this release. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would begin testing 19H2 in the spring. Spring is now over, and Microsoft still isn't ready to start previewing or talking about its plans for 19H2.

Frustratingly, as is ever the case with Microsoft, the company has communicated this delay poorly. It has given no reason as to why testing has been delayed, only that there is a delay. While I can't comment on why this delay has happened, I think now is a good time to talk about what Windows 10 19H2 is all about, and why it doesn't matter that 19H2 isn't in testing with Insiders yet. Simply put, 19H2 is not a major feature update like 19H1, or previous Windows 10 feature updates have been.

I'm unsure if Microsoft will ever admit this, but Windows 10 is not getting two major feature updates this year. Windows 10 19H1 is the only major feature update rolling out in 2019, with Windows 10 19H2 being a much smaller cumulative-type update that will essentially sit on top of 19H1. Microsoft has done this kind of thing before with Windows 8.1, releasing smaller "roll-up" updates with minor new features, OS changes, and overall system performance and stability improvements that apply to the current Windows OS release.

Why even have a 19H2 release?

Windows Insider Program

Windows Insider Program (Image credit: Windows Central)

So, if 19H2 is just a normal roll-up update with maybe a couple of minor features, why even mark it as a feature update with a codename like 19H2? It's to keep support cycles in check and to keep with the overall twice a year update cadence that Microsoft has so stubbornly kept to. The "H2" update for Windows 10 every year is the one that most businesses are interested in updating to because it has an extended support cycle of up to 30 months. The "H1" release of the year is only supported for 18 months.

Businesses like to remain on a version of Windows 10 for as long as possible, so the H2 updates of the year are essential for enterprises, and indeed Microsoft, who are continually encouraging said businesses to update. So, Microsoft will likely playoff 19H2 as just like your other Windows 10 feature updates, but on a technical level, it's nothing like them at all. It's more like an old school service pack update for 19H1.

This is good news. Many have called for Microsoft to move to a tick-tock type update cadence, with one update being major, and one being minor, every year. Now this year we're only getting one major feature update, with the second one being a service pack that fixes issues and touches up things where necessary. I'd call that a minor update.

So that's why it's not a big deal that 19H2 isn't in testing with Insiders yet, because there's not going to be an awful lot to test. It's unclear if this new way of doing two updates a year is something that Microsoft will carry into 2020 and beyond. As far as I know, this year's H2 release is only like this because platform work schedules didn't line up. Assuming all goes to plan, next years H2 release should be back to normal.

Hopefully, Microsoft will find the time to begin talking about 19H2 on an official level in the next few weeks. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on 19H2 being a smaller service pack type update? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads