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Microsoft Gives Testers a Head Start on 2020 Windows Update

Microsoft is working on an update that it won't release until 2020, suggesting major changes are coming to the Windows 10 next year. The software giant released on Thursday a new 18836 build, the first in the development branch codenamed 20H1.

While we don't know much about the update, it's very unusual for a build to be released so far in advance. After all, Microsoft isn't finished developing its April update (development branch 19H1) and testing won't start on the October update (19H2) until later this spring.

The only explanation Microsoft provided for why this 2020 release is already in the hands of some Insiders is simply because “some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time.” For now, only testers who are part of Microsoft's Skip Ahead program were granted access to the early build.

Microsoft listed a number of changes and fixes in the 18836 build, but it didn't reveal any new features that will make their way to this mysterious update. However, Microsoft confirmed to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that the 20H1 build for the 2020 update, in its current state, is very similar to the recently released 19H1 build for the April update.

"Right now 20H1 and 19H1 builds are largely the same and haven't diverged too much yet in terms of code. It'll be a little bit before they do," Microsoft's Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc told ZDNet. "Eventually, 20H1 builds will start seeing behind-the-scenes changes etc."

The additional time Microsoft is giving testers for its 2020 will hopefully flush out any bugs. Last year's October update was riddled with issues, with some users reporting that their documents, files, and photos were vanishing after the update.

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.