The next major Windows update is currently scheduled for sometime later this year, and it’ll be the first version of the operating system to ship with Microsoft’s new Edge web browser based on Google’s Chromium. While the browser has been available for months, users have had to download and install it manually to use it.
Expected to ship to the public in the second half of 2020, the first preview builds are rolling out now to members of the Windows 10 Insiders program on the beta channel. That channel used to be called the Slow Ring, but Microsoft is changing its naming conventions for a few things.
For example, the Windows Insider Preview program now borrows some of the names used by the Chromium and Edge teams. So instead of “rings” there are now channels:
- Fast Ring -> Dev Channel
- Slow Ring -> Beta Channel
- Release Preivew -> Release Preview Channel
And the Windows 10 version numbers are now going to use nomenclature that might be familiar to members of he Windows Insider program – the next version of Windows will be called Windows 10, version 20H2 (because it’s coming in the second half of 2020).
Microsoft says there will also be a “friendly name” like “Windows 10 October 2020 Update,” although that name probably won’t be announced until closer to launch.
Still the new names will help you understand quickly when an OS was released, which will also give you an idea of how long it will be supported.
Microsoft offers 18 months of support for Windows 10 Home and Pro customers, or 30 months for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education. That means the Windows 10 May 2020 Update will be supported until December 2021 or December 2022, depending on the version you’re using. but it might not be so easy to figure that out if you just look at the official name: Windows 10, version 2004.
Switching to a year/half naming scheme could help with that.
If you want to get a head start on trying out the new names, new browser, and other upcoming features, you can sign up for the Insider Preview program and follow Microsoft’s instructions for installing the first 20H2 builds. Once you’ve done that, you’ll automatically receive new 20H2 updates as they’re made available through the Windows Update process.