Why Windows 10 1909 should not be a one-off

Microsoft last week released Windows 10 1909, an oddball update that was far more rehash than refresh.

Purportedly the second upgrade for the year, in reality 1909 – also dubbed Windows 10 November 2019 Update – has so few new features that Windows veterans have compared it to old-school service packs,, the feature-free collections of fixes Microsoft used to issue every couple of years for the then-current OS. (The last time Redmond released a service pack was 2011, when it issued SP1 for Windows 7, the operating system staring at retirement in less than two months.)

Although Microsoft has never given a straight-forward rationale for this change to its upgrade model, outsiders have speculated that it was linked to the disastrous roll-out of Windows 10 October 2018 Update, aka 1809. Pulled from distribution almost as soon as it landed – the upgrade erased customer data – 1809 was months late getting to users. To restore the schedule, the thinking went, Microsoft skipped an upgrade by building an un-upgrade.