Windows 10 19H2 Update: Everything you need to know

The next Windows Update will bring bug fixes aplenty. Here's all the latest info

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Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

Following the May 2019 Update, the next major release of Windows 10 will be the 19H2 Update. Appropriately code-named for the second half of the year 2019, this update has completed beta testing with Slow Ring Windows Insiders and is already being distributed to the Release Preview ring — and it’s set to be released to everyone in November.

It will not bring a major overall to Windows, as previous versions have, but there are still a few important changes coming in 19H2. Here’s everything you need to know about the next major update to Windows 10.

Price and release date

windows 10 october update

After months of testing with Windows Insiders, Microsoft has announced the official name and release schedule for the next update of Windows 10 — code-named 19H2. Now dubbed the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, it will be coming to PCs everywhere sometime this November. That would fall in line with the previous October 2018 Update.

“With the Windows 10 November 2019 Update now being finalized, we are planning to move Windows Insiders in the Slow ring forward to 20H1. We are looking to make this change in the coming weeks,” wrote Windows Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc, in a blog post announcing the date.

With Windows 10 19H2, Microsoft made significant changes to the way that major updates to Windows are delivered and installed. If your PC is running the May 2019 Update, 19H2 will not be delivered through Windows Update as a full-on “new” operating system as it has before.

To ensure a quality Windows experience, the 19H2 update is instead dedicated to “servicing” the existing Windows 10 May 2019 Update. This is akin to the “Service Packs” from the Windows XP and Windows 7 era.

If your PC is running the May 2019 Update, 19H2 will appear in Windows Update as a regular servicing update. In non-technical terms, it will install on your computer just like a standard Windows 10 security patch. The wait time between installing will be shorter, and so will the download size.

According to Microsoft, only if you’re on an older version of Windows that pre-dates the May 2019 Update will you see and download it as a “new” release through Windows Update — just as it has worked the past.

As always, the Windows 10 19H2 update will be free and will be delivered to your PC via Windows Update for no additional cost. You’ll have the choice to download or install it. Only if your PC is on an older version of Windows 10 that is closer to the end of support will it be installed automatically.

Lots of bug fixes

The Windows 10 19H2 update is still in development, so there are a lot of changes that could be yet to come. What we do know, though, is that this update is partially dedicated to fixing the bugs reported with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. It is also focused on performance improvements and enterprise features.

Some of these current bug fixes and changes include technical fixes for Windows containers hosts and some fixes for laptop makers to reduce inking latency based on hardware. For enterprises, there’s also a fix for key-rolling and key-rotation to enable the secure rolling of recovery passwords on Microsoft Azure Active Directory devices.

At the time of writing, Microsoft has released only three preview versions (or “builds”) of the 19H2 Update to its Windows Insiders. None of these builds have come with major new features.

Third-Party Digital Assistants on the Lock Screen

One of the only major changes confirmed to be coming with 19H2 so far is a new ability to enable third-party digital assistants to be voice-activated on the Lock screen. Cortana has long been available on the lock screen for tasks such as checking the weather or sports and making new reminders, but it will now also be possible to enable third-party assistants like Alexa as well.

Given the demise of Cortana, many PCs now ship with Amazon Alexa as an option. For those who enjoy the convenience of Alexa over Cortana, this will likely speed up their day.

Windows 10 20H1 promises bigger changes

While Windows 10 19H2 won’t bring any major changes, the first version of Windows for release in 2020 — currently codenamed 20H1 — will. Windows Insiders enrolled in the Fast Ring are beta testing this release, but it will likely not be released to the public until April of 2020.

Some new features coming in this version include more rounded corners in the user interface across the operating system, a more chat-based Cortana, security changes for Windows Hello, and new features for Virtual Desktops.

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