Microsoft starts its 'phased rollout' of Win10 1809, now controlled by a next-generation machine-learning model

It’s official. In the mind-bending (and internally inconsistent) quagmire that has become Windows updating terminology, Win10 version 1809 is now in 'phased rollout' but not yet in 'Semi-Annual Channel (not Targeted).' If you don’t want Win10 1809, get your machine locked down.

Microsoft Windows update arrows on laptop and mobile phone
Microsoft / IDG

Looks like Microsoft has upped its game on deploying the September-October-November-December 2018 Update for Windows 10, with forced upgrades on the menu.

Yesterday evening, Microsoft updated the status of Win10 1809 to say:

Current status of Windows, version 1809, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server, version 1809

Windows 10, Version 1809 Rollout Status as of January 16, 2019

  • We are now starting our phased rollout to users via Windows Update, initially offering the update to devices we believe will have the best update experience based on our next generation machine learning model.
  • Fully available for advanced users who manually select “Check for updates” via Windows Update.

At the same time, however, the official Win10 Release Information page says that Win10 Version 1809 is “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” — which means that Microsoft has not yet determined that Win10 1809 is suitable for deployment in businesses.

No doubt you recall Win10 1809’s truly abysmal history — yanked for deleting data, then blocked for interfering with all sorts of hardware and software, and taken back to the woodshed, er, workshop repeatedly for retooling.

Now, it seems, Microsoft is going to start forcing the upgrade, particularly on Windows 10 Home users, and on Pro users who haven’t learned how to turn it off. Starting today, it isn’t sufficient to avoid clicking “Check for updates.” You’re now on notice that you have to actively block Version 1809, or you’re going to get it.

I’m sure that the “next generation machine learning model” will do a much better job of picking targets.

It looks like the timing’s linked to a resolved bug in Cisco AMP. Per Günter Born:

The background for the announcement on the Windows 10 Update History page is probably the cicumstance that Microsoft and Morphisec announced that they solved the issue with the Morphisec Protector as of January 15, 2019. Software created with older versions of the Morphisec Software Development Kit (SDK) (e.g. Cisco AMP for terminals) caused problems. This protection software may have caused trouble saving documents via Save As in Microsoft Office applications.

To be fair, though, Win10 1809 is the first version of Windows 10 that’s gone through a thorough testing process. The. First. Version. In three and a half years.

Right now, there’s a cumulative update for 1809, KB 4476976, going through testing in the Insider Preview Ring. Presumably Microsoft has determined that the cumulative update isn’t dire enough to warrant holding back on pushed Win10 1809 upgrades.

With a little luck, we may be witnessing the beginning of a much improved relationship between Microsoft and its, uh, customers. For now, though, if you don’t want version 1809 and its marginal feature improvements — a clipboard that works almost as well as decade-old third party add-ons, a new screenshooter with markup, a slightly better disk-cloud arbitrator — the old blocking method still works.

Grab a box of popcorn and join us on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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