Microsoft Promises a “Remarkably Fast” Windows 10 20H2 Update Process Through a “Master Switch” – Pre-Release Validation Begins

Aug 21, 2020
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Microsoft has been testing Windows 10 20H2 for quite a while now. Similar to last year, the 2020's H2 feature update will be delivered through an enablement package for devices running the May 2020 Update, version 2004, making sure the update process is extremely quick and fuss-free. To help its commercial customers see just how easy the process would be and test the upcoming features, the Windows maker has opened Windows 10 version 20H2 for commercial pre-release validation.

"Windows 10, version 20H2, is now available for commercial customers to begin feature exploration and validation prior to being released for general availability," Microsoft's Aria Carley wrote.

How to Get Windows 10 Version 20H2 Before Everyone Else

As previously announced, version 20H2 will be delivered to devices currently running Windows 10, version 2004 using an enablement package. This is the same technology we used to update devices from Windows 10, version 1903 to version 1909. Do you want to see how quickly devices update from version 2004 to version 20H2, and how little downtime is involved? Do you want to explore the new Local Users and Groups mobile device management (MDM) policy, which allows administrators to make granular changes to a local group on a managed device? Now you can!

Who exactly is eligible for this early Windows 10 20H2 feature exploration process

Windows 10 20H2 (version 2009) is available for commercial users through all the regular channels, including Windows Update and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Alternatively, you can also choose to download an ISO file for manual installation. Microsoft said that if you are signed up with the Beta or the Release Preview Channels, you don't need to take any action to get the upcoming feature update. Windows 10 version 2009 will be "automatically deployed to all commercial devices in the Beta and Release Preview Channels."

If you are wondering if your device is eligible for this testing process, Microsoft noted the following conditions:

  • Any device that isn't running Windows 10 Home edition.
  • Is being managed by an IT administrator - whether via Microsoft Endpoint Manager or a third-party MDM tool.
  • Or, if the device has a volume license key, a CommercialID, or is joined to a domain.

Microsoft's new approach of installing H2 feature updates through an enablement package works to the advantage of users and businesses since it did considerably reduce the installation time with last year's version 1909. A single restart is all it takes to get your device from version 2004 to version 2009 (Microsoft hasn't yet confirmed the version number and continues to call it 20H2), significantly reducing update downtime.

This is made possible because both the updates delivered in a year now share a common core operating system with an identical set of system files. "New features are included in monthly quality updates for version 2004 in an inactive and dormant state," Carley explained. "These new 20H2 features remain dormant until they are turned on through the 'enablement package,' a small, quick-to-install 'master switch' that activates the Windows 10, version 20H2 features."

To learn more about what's coming with Windows 10 20H2, check out the changelog here. 

- Relevant: Microsoft Backports WSL2 Support for Versions 1909 and 1903

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