The Windows 10 November 2019 Update is small in size, installs very quickly, does not add controversial new features, and does not disrupt the system.
Major Windows 10 updates every 6 months
Since the official release of Windows 10, Microsoft has released one major update to the operating system every six months. The first update was the November Update (version 1511), released in 2015.
Often these updates came with major new features that took a long time to develop, such as the People Panel, Paint 3D, and the Timeline. They made major changes to Windows 10 and could cause compatibility issues with installed software and drivers. Some updates deleted, moved, or reset important system settings.
The size of large updates exceeded several gigabytes, and to complete their installation, a lengthy reboot was required. Until recently, Microsoft installed feature updates on its own schedule, but now users can independently choose the optimal time for deployment.
November 2019 Update – a small and well-developed update
Against the background of its predecessors, the November 2019 Update is like a breath of fresh air. This is a small package that installs as quickly as a regular monthly update for Windows 10. The update does not make any fundamental changes to the system, but only includes several visual improvements, useful functions for working with notifications, calendar and Explorer, as well as internal improvements.
Typical feature updates every six months are actually a completely new version of the operating system. They use the same update mechanism that is used when upgrading from Windows 7 to 8 or from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. When deploying feature updates, the Windows.old folder is generated on the system drive, which contains files from a previous Windows installation.
Unlike traditional feature updates, the November 2019 Update (version 1909) is more like a classic Service Pack.
Why is the November 2019 Update different from other feature updates?
As part of the normal update preparation process, Microsoft adds as many features as possible, conducts a testing phase using a pre-assessment program lasting several months, and then makes the update publicly available. However, in the case of version 1909, Redmond decided to slow down.
Microsoft took as its basis the May 2019 Update (version 1903), the successor to the October 2018 Update (version 1809), which was the most problematic update in history and improved it by fixing problems, introducing optimizations and minor changes. The company then tested the update and focused on fixing bugs.
Compared to other feature updates, the November 2019 Update had a longer period of monotonous work, including bug fixes and performance improvements. In practice, it is a May 2019 Update after six months of further development.
Windows Cable Development, Services, and Distribution Manager John Cable called the November 2019 Update a less distracting update. For users of the May 2019 Update, version 1909 is delivered using service technology (which is used to deliver monthly updates).
The next update will be major
Microsoft has not completely abandoned major updates for Windows 10. The next update to Windows 10, version 2004 (20H1) is scheduled for the first half of 2020. The release is expected in April-March next year. This update will receive important changes, for example, the Download from the cloud function to restore the computer to its original state and the new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL 2) with the integrated Linux kernel.
Test versions of 20H1 became available before the November 2019 Update insider builds. Both updates were developed in parallel. Major changes were made to 20H1, and not to the November 2019 Update, which was codenamed 19H2.
By all indications, Microsoft has completed work on major changes to 20H1 ahead of schedule. The company claims that the work is not finished, but even a major update to Windows 10 will receive a much longer period of completion. This may be due to the preparation of Windows 10X, but this is good news for all Windows users.
It is unclear whether the November 2019 Update model will be used in future releases. Microsoft has not officially confirmed that major updates will be replaced by small updates each year.
During a broadcast on the Mixer streaming platform, Microsoft called the script from the November 2019 Update a pilot program.
During the discussion, a Microsoft spokesperson received a related question:
Question: Will this cycle be used every year? A major feature update in the first half and a small one in the second with general cumulative updates?
and answered him as follows:
Answer: Delivery of 19H2 using cumulative updates and an activation package is a pilot program. We do not have a formal plan to deploy future updates for this model. We closely listen to user reviews and hope to gain maximum experience from this type of release to adjust future plans.
We hope that it will be implemented on an ongoing basis.
One can only hope that Microsoft will listen to positive reviews about this update and continue developing Windows 10 in this scenario.
After all, Google Android, Apple macOS and Apple’s iOS receive major updates once a year. Ubuntu releases new versions twice a year, but LTS versions focused on maximum stability come out every two years.
Switching to a model with one major update per year followed by a small update after six months would be welcome for many people. Now that Windows 10 even allows you to skip updates, any user can skip a major update and receive it only after 6 months, when it becomes more stable.
No need to rush into new features
Most home and corporate users of Windows 10 want to get well-tested and stable updates and are ready to wait a few additional months before getting new features.
Even the November 2019 Update is not perfect. Some users have encountered problems with the search bar in Windows Explorer. The update added the ability to search online in Explorer, so this is not surprising. This is another argument in favor of the fact that the November 2019 Update should include even fewer changes, and they should be reserved for the next major update.
Other major features, such as the People Panel, did not receive significant development after the release. If Microsoft had more time to develop, the function could become more attractive to developers.
Many users really want Microsoft to save Windows 10 from many meaningless functions and stop adding raw features.