The push to Win10 version 1903 takes in more 1809 machines, yields few complaints

Those of you running Windows 10 version 1809 with the branch readiness level at Semi-Annual Channel are now part of the countdown to 1903 hegemony. The old Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) no longer exists, but there are few gripes. Is Microsoft showing restraint?

hand at keyboard with Windows logo
Thinkstock/Microsoft

In February, Microsoft’s John Wilcox blew away the “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” terminology for blocking Windows 10 version upgrades. At the time, Microsoft declared its old terminology obsolete, replacing it with a statement that those who are actually using the Win10 1803 and 1809 Pro settings to select a branch readiness level would instead be subject to an arbitrary 60-day delay in version upgrades.

The 60 days are up. Win10 version 1903 was released on May 21. Add 60 days and you get July 20. (Microsoft officially says the alarm went off on July 23. I guess they hit Snooze a couple of times.)

What this means in plain English: In Win10 1809 Pro, Windows Update advanced settings, if you have "Choose when updates are installed" set to Semi-Annual Channel (see screenshot), the baseline for feature update deferrals started yesterday.

Windows 10 1809 sac branch Microsoft

The countdown for the number of days you specify in the setting, “A feature update includes new capabilities and improvements. It can be deferred for this many days: XXX” started yesterday, or thereabouts.

I’d put both of those setting descriptions up for an obfuscation award, but never mind.

Even though “Semi-Annual Channel” and “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” are no longer recognized, they’re still in the settings panes for Win10 1803 and 1809.

You aren’t going to get pushed from 1809 to 1903 unless Microsoft’s new, improved Machine Learning algorithm determines that your PC is ready. (So, for example, higher end Surface Book 2 machines won’t get the push just yet.) But 1809 machines are now officially fair game, only protected by their own deficiencies and the feature update delay setting.

There’s one additional change that wasn’t explicitly documented. As @zero2dash reports, "On my 1803 machines, Semi-Annual Channel, if I change feature deferral to 0, I’m now offered 1903. [Earlier, it was 1809.] If feature deferral is 1 day or more, I’m offered 1809… there is no more Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) starting today."

We’re seeing more and more Win10 1803 and 1809 machines showing the expected “Download and install now” come-on for the 1903 upgrade. At the same time, I’ve heard few complaints from people who have been pushed unexpectedly onto 1903. Perhaps we really are seeing a kinder, gentler Microsoft.

Time will tell.

Thx @b, @zero2dash, @abbodi86

Join us for the 1903 nightwatch on the AskWoody Lounge.

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