Versions of Microsoft Windows 10
Version Chart / Overview
This is a brief chart of the versions of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system that Microsoft Corp. has produced for desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. Windows 10 Mobile editions (for cell phones) have different release schedules and support dates, since these are generally managed by your cellular service provider.
See below for some more information.
|Version||Build||Name||Rel. Date||End of Support*||Long Term|
|1607||14393||Anniversary Update||8/2/2016||April 2018**||LTSB 2016|
|1709||16299||Fall Creators Update||10/17/2017||4/9/2019||N/A|
|1803||17134||April 2018 Update||4/30/2018||11/12/2019||N/A|
*For customers running Enterprise or Education editions of Windows 10, Microsoft offers an additional six months of support beyond the stated end-of-support date.
**Devices with an Intel Atom processor with model designations Z2520, Z2560, Z2580, or Z2760 (also known as Clover Trail models) cannot run Version 1703 or later. Microsoft has extended support for Version 1607 on these computers until January 2023.
Version and Build: To find out what version/build your computer is running, you can run winver, or go into Settings, System, About. This chart shows the five-digit major build number only; the three digits after the decimal (as in 15063.540 for Version 1703) shows which of the cumulative security patch updates have been applied. The Build is incremented based on daily work by Microsoft developers; the Version number is for easier reference and recall, since it's derived from the release date.
Version 1507 (the original release) was not assigned a version number at the time it was launched. It was applied retroactively once the first upgrade was published later that year (1511) and the four-digit date-based version number created.
The Name given to updates are pretty mundane. They either describe the time period, or a general description of the added features. For example, "Creators" refers to the many updates and new apps for visual artists and videographers that were included in this upgrade.
Rel. Date is the date of general availability, when anyone could go to the Microsoft download site and download the software update package.
End of Support shows the date announced by Microsoft after which security patches or cumulative updates are not supposed to be available. As with prior products (such as Windows XP or Internet Explorer), though, Microsoft may still release critical security patches for unsupported versions. Of course, this is not guaranteed.
Long Term: If there is an entry here, it means this build formed the basis for a Long-Term Servicing Branch (now referred to as Long-Term Servicing Channel) version of Windows, only available through Volume Licensing for the enterprise, which Microsoft will support for ten years.
Upgrading to a given version shown above (such as 1803) can be applied with different timing, depending on your level of readiness. For small shops, you might generally just keep everything up-to-date. For larger enterprises, your IT department might have groups of users set to test releases (pilot groups) before they're deployed to everyone else.
Originally, Microsoft categorized their Windows 10 version upgrades by the intended timing, and called these categories "Branches". The regular feature updates were issued in three Branches: Insider (early), Current, and Current for Business (delayed). Then, there was a fourth, the Long-Term Servicing Branch, which was distributed separately and intended to be released irregularly—once a year or longer.
It was a bit confusing. The term "Current Branch" referred both to the upgrade software package itself, and to the group of computers set to receive the upgrade at the time of general availability (the pilot groups). The term "Current Branch for Business" wasn't remotely self-explanatory; it was meant to refer to a group of computers that were to receive the Current Branch upgrade at a later time (after pilot testing is complete).
In May 2017, Microsoft announced that feature upgrades would come on a regular six-month schedule going forward. At the same time, they updated their terminology. The two different upgrade types are now called Channels (that is, the software itself). The timing options are now called Deployment Rings.
So, here is a roll-up of the current terms:
- Semi-Annual Channel. This is the regular feature upgrade, managed within these Deployment Rings:
- Early Release (formerly called the Insider Preview Branch), which is a mostly-finished version of the upgrade released a month or two early, to users in the Insider program. This is intended for advance testing, or for those who want the latest features even if potential stability or compatibility problems haven't yet been resolved.
- Pilot/Targeted (formerly Current Branch, and before that known as Consumer Update), which is the final upgrade package released on the scheduled date, with fixes applied from the Insider testing feedback. For individuals and small businesses who have Automatic Updates configured, their Windows 10 computers will prompt them to install at this time—unless Microsoft has blocked it for their computer/device model due to unresolved known issues. For businesses that have configured pilot groups through a centralized automated upgrade deployment system (such as WSUS, SCCM, or Intune), the upgrade will be deployed only to computers and devices in the pilot groups.
- Broad (formerly Current Branch for Business), which describes a company's decision to deploy a given feature upgrade to all computers through their automated software deployment systems, once pilot testing is completed. The software deployed is the same as what was deployed to the computers in the pilot group.
- A company may configure additional Deployment Rings, and name them whatever they want, to more finely control which computers receive feature upgrades and when.
- Long-Term Servicing Channel (formerly Long-Term Servicing Branch). This is a scaled down version of Windows 10 without the new-style apps, suitable for kiosks or devices for machine control. That is, computers not intended for use by an individual. The current versions are LTSB 2015 and LTSB 2016, with the next upgrade due in 2019. This is only available for businesses with a volume license agreement.
Between feature upgrades shown in the table above, Microsoft will release cumulative packages with security and bug fixes, which will update the minor build number, as described above.
For more about the new Windows updating servicing scheme, please read Windows-as-a-Service.