Windows 10 1803-to-1903 forced upgrades gather speed

Windows 10 1803-to-1903 forced upgrades gather speed

In one month, the percentage of Windows 10 PCs running this spring’s feature update almost doubled, though it still lags behind older versions.

Microsoft has focused its Windows 10 attention on upgrading hundreds of millions of machines before they lose rights to security updates in three months.

From June 26 to July 25, the portion of all Windows 10 systems running the May 2019 Update, a.k.a. 1903 in Microsoft’s four-numeral format, almost doubled, climbing 5 percentage points to 11.4%, according to analytics company AdDuplex.

To compensate, in the same period Windows 10 1803 — the “April 2018 Update” — fell 4.3 points to 53.7%. However, the next feature upgrade, 1809, dipped just three-tenths of a percentage point to 29.7%.

The likeliest explanation for the changes — 1903 up, 1803 down, 1809 flat — was Microsoft’s July 16 announcement that it had started forcible upgrades “for customers with devices that are at or nearing end of service and have not yet updated their device.”

Windows 1803 is the only version that meets the “at or nearing end of service” requirement: It is to fall off the support list Nov. 12.

Managed PCs can be upgraded to a version other than 1903, but those that have been left for Microsoft to service — every consumer system and many small- and even mid-sized business devices — now running 1803 will be pushed onto 1903 because of an April upheaval to Windows 10’s upgrade model. It was then that Microsoft said it would add a “Download and Install Now” (DaIN) option to Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, for the first time giving users of the former control over when they moved to a newer version of the OS. But to maintain a secure ecosystem, Microsoft reserved the right to intervene when an upgrade’s support lifecycle came to a close.

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Microsoft Windows