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Windows 10: A guide to the updates

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Here’s what you need to know about each update to the current version of Windows 10 as it’s released from Microsoft. Now updated for KB4571744, released Sep. 3, 2020.

Windows 10: A guide to the updates

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The launch of a major Windows 10 update isn’t the end of a process — it’s really just the beginning. As soon as one of Microsoft’s twice-yearly feature updates is released, the company quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we’ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the latest version of Windows 10 — version 2004, known as the May 2020 Update — with the most recent updates on top.

(Note that Microsoft has not yet begun actively pushing 2004 to users. You can seek out and install the release on your PC, but why rush things? In fact, we recommend keeping 2004 off your machine for now to avoid any bugs that may crop up with the new release.)

Next come updates to version 1909, known as the November 2019 Update; version 1903, the May 2019 Update; version 1809, the October 2018 Update; version 1803, the April 2018 Update; version 1709, the Fall Creators Update; and finally version 1703, the Creators Update. For each build, we’ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it.

Note: If you’re looking for information about Insider Program previews for upcoming feature releases of Windows 10, see “Windows 10 Redstone: A guide to the builds.” And if you’re still using an earlier version of Windows, see the Microsoft support site for details about updates to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 version 1607 / Windows Server 2016.

Updates to the May 2020 Update (version 2004)

KB4571744 (OS Build 19041.488)

Release date: September 3, 2020

This build fixes a laundry list of minor bugs, including one that prevented apps from downloading an update or opening in certain scenarios, another that prevented users from reducing the size of windows and another that caused File Explorer to stop working when you browsed directories of RAW images and other file types.

There is one known issue in this build: Users of Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese and Japanese might have issues with input.

(Get more info about KB4571744.)

KB4566782 (OS Build 19041.450)

Release date: August 11, 2020

This build includes security updates for the Microsoft Scripting Engine, Internet Explorer, Windows Graphics, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Kernel, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Media, Windows Shell, the Windows Wallet Service, Microsoft Edge Legacy, Windows Cloud Infrastructure, Windows Authentication, the Windows AI Platform, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Windows Update Stack, Windows File Server and Clustering, Windows Hybrid Storage Services, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, the Microsoft JET Database Engine, and Windows SQL components.

For details, see the Release Notes for August 2020 Security Updates.

The build also fixes an issue in Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that allows single sign-on authentication when an app does not have the Enterprise Authentication capability.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

There is one known issue in this build: When using some apps, such as Microsoft Excel, users of the Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese and Japanese might receive an error, or the app might stop responding or close when attempting to drag using the mouse.

(Get more info about KB4566782.)

KB4568831 (OS Build 19041.423)

Release date: July 31, 2020

This minor build addresses a wide variety of bugs and issues, including one that caused the Settings page to close unexpectedly, which prevented default applications from being set up properly, and another that prevented some applications from printing to network printers.

There is one known issue in this build, in which when using some apps such as Excel, users of the Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese and Japanese might receive an error, or the app might stop responding or close when users attempt to drag using the mouse.

(Get more info about KB4568831.)

KB4565503 (OS Build 19041.388)

Release date: July 14, 2020

This build fixes several bugs, including one that might prevent you from connecting to OneDrive using the OneDrive app. It also has security updates for the Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, the Microsoft Store, Windows Graphics, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Media, Windows Shell, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Management, Windows Kernel, Windows Hybrid Cloud Networking, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Windows Update Stack, Windows MSXML, Windows File Server and Clustering, Windows Remote Desktop, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge Legacy, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine. For details, see the Release notes for the July 2020 Security Updates.

There is one known issue in this build, in which when using some apps, such as Microsoft Excel, users of the Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese and Japanese might receive an error, or the app might stop responding or close when attempting to drag using the mouse.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4565503.)

KB4567523 (OS Build 19041.331)

Release date: June 18, 2020

This minor build fixes a single issue, in which certain printers could not print, generated print errors, or caused apps and print spoolers to close unexpectedly.

There is one known issue in this build, which affects the ImeMode property to control the Input Method Editor (IME) mode for individual text entry fields to increase typing efficiency. Some IMEs in this build might have issues using the ImeMode property with certain apps, for example the input mode will not switch automatically to Kanji or Hiragana.

(Get more info about KB4567523.)

KB4557957 (OS Build 19041.329)

Release date: June 9, 2020

This build improves the reliability of voice assistants that use keywords and has security updates for the Microsoft Scripting Engine, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Media, Windows Kernel, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Shell, Windows Silicon Platform, Microsoft Xbox, the Microsoft Store, Windows Cloud Infrastructure, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Management, Windows Authentication, Windows Cryptography, Microsoft HoloLens, Windows Virtualization, Windows Peripherals, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Windows File Server and Clustering, Windows Hybrid Storage Services, the Microsoft JET Database Engine, and the Windows Update Stack. For details, see the Release Notes for June 2020 Security Updates.

There are no known issues in this build.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4557957.)

Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004)

Release date: May 27, 2020

Version 2004, called the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, is the most recent update to Windows 10. This is a relatively minor update but does have a variety of new features for both users and system administrators. For more details, see: “Review: Windows 10 May 2020 Update delivers little tweaks that add up to… well, not a lot.”

Here’s a quick summary of what’s new in 2004:

    Cortana now runs as a standalone app in a resizable window. It also loses a variety of capabilities, such as playing music, controlling home devices, and working on the lock screen.
    Task Manager now displays new information, including the temperature of your GPU and your disk type.
    Settings gets many small tweaks, including adding a header with account information, and a redone network status page that combines information that used to be found on multiple pages, such as your IP address, current connection properties and data usage.
    The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) gets more features. It now uses a real Linux kernel, and is faster than previously.
    IT can now take advantage of Windows Hello biometrics logins rather than passwords, by setting that up as the default on enterprise devices.
    Installing and setting up Windows for others has been made easier thanks to new controls added to Dynamic Update, which can lead to less downtime during installation for users.
    A variety of new commands have been given to PowerShell for Delivery Optimization, a Windows networking service that reduces bandwidth consumption by sharing the work of downloading update and upgrade packages among multiple devices in business deployments.
    The security of the Chromium version of Edge has been improved, thanks to porting Application Guard to it.

Updates to the November 2019 Update (version 1909)

KB4556799 (OS Build 18363.836)

Release date: May 12, 2020

This build updates the 2020 start date for daylight saving time (DST) in the Kingdom of Morocco, and has security updates for Internet Explorer, the Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Media, Windows Shell, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Edge, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Cryptography, Windows Authentication, Windows Kernel, Windows Linux, Windows Update Stack, Windows Network Security and Containers, Windows Active Directory, Windows Storage and Filesystems, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine. For details, see the Release Notes for May 2020 Security Updates.

There are no known issues in this build.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4556799.)

KB4550945 (OS Build 18363.815)

Release date: April 21, 2020

This update fixes a variety of small bugs, including one that turned off notifications for devices that use a VPN on a cellular network, and another that generated unexpected notifications when you change the default application settings.

(Get more info about KB4550945.)

KB4549951 (OS Build 18363.778)

Release date: April 14, 2020

This security update fixes a variety of security holes in Windows 10, including for Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and a Win32k Information Disclosure Vulnerability. For more details, see the April 2020 Security Update Release Notes.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4549951.)

KB4554364 (OS Build 18363.753)

Release date: March 30, 2020

This optional update fixes a bug that could cause Windows to display a limited or no internet connection status in the notification area on devices that use a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN). The bug also could prevent some devices from connecting to the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinINet.

Note: Microsoft recommends that the update be applied only to devices that are affected by the bug.

There are no known issues in the update.

(Get more info about KB4554364.)

KB4541335 (OS Build 18363.752)

Release date: March 24, 2020

This minor update fixes half-a-dozen small bugs, including one that caused an error when printing to a document share, and another that prevented applications from closing. There are no known issues in the update.

(Get more info about KB4541335).

KB4551762 (OS Build 18363.720)

Release date: March 12, 2020

This security-only update has a patch for Microsoft Server Message Block 3.1.1 (SMBv3), a network communication protocol issue that provides shared access to files, printers, and serial ports. For details, see the March 2020 Security Updates Release Notes.

There is one known issue with the update: when using Windows Server containers, you might encounter problems with 32-bit applications and processes.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4551762.)

KB4540673 (OS Build 18363.719)

Release date: March 10, 2020

This build fixes one small bug and plugs a series of security holes. It fixes an issue that prevented some users from upgrading Windows 10 because of corrupted third-party assemblies.

The update also has security patches Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Media, Windows Silicon Platform, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Authentication, Windows Peripherals, Windows Update Stack, and Windows Server. For details, see the March 2020 Security Updates Release Notes.

There is one known issue with the update, in which when using Windows Server containers, you might encounter problems with 32-bit applications and processes.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4540673.)

KB4535996 (OS Build 18363.693)

Release date: February 27, 2020

This build fixes a wide variety of minor bugs, including one that prevented some applications from printing to network printers, and another that caused Microsoft Narrator to stop working when a user session is longer than 30 minutes.

(Get more info about KB4535996.)

KB4532693 (OS Build 18363.657)

Release date: February 11, 2020

This Patch Tuesday build fixes two small bugs and plugs a series of security holes. It fixes problems people experienced when migrating cloud printers during an upgrade and improves the installation experience when updating to Windows 10, version 1903.

The update also has security patches for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Cryptography, Windows Virtualization, Windows Network Security and Containers, Windows Server, Windows Management, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Media, the Microsoft Scripting Engine, and Windows Shell. For details, see the February 2020 Security Updates Release Notes.

There are no known issues with the update.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4532693.)

KB4532695 (OS Build 18363.628)

Release date: January 28, 2020

This build improves the accuracy of Windows Hello face authentication and fixes a variety of small bugs, including one that caused a gray box to appear when you searched within Control Panel and File Explorer, another that prevented File Explorer’s Quick Access control from pasting clipboard content using the right mouse button, and another that caused the touch keyboard to close when you selected any key. There are no known issues with the update.

(Get more info about KB4532695.)

KB4528760 (OS Build 18363.592)

Release date: January 14, 2020

This build has security updates for Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Management, Windows Cryptography, Windows Storage and Filesystems, the Microsoft Scripting Engine, and Windows Server. For details, see the January 2020 Security Updates Release Notes. It also has updates for Microsoft HoloLens (OS Build 18362.1044).

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4528760.)

KB4530684 (OS Build 18363.535)

Release date: December 10, 2019

This minor update fixes two minor issues — one that might cause error 0x3B in cldflt.sys on some devices, and another that might prevent you from creating a local user account using the Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean languages when setting up a new Windows device during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE).

The update also has security patches for Windows Virtualization, Windows Kernel, the Microsoft Scripting Engine, and Windows Server. For details, see the December 2019 Security Updates Release Notes.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4530684.)

KB4524570 (OS Build 18363.476)

Release date: November 12, 2019

This update fixes security issues in Windows, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge (EdgeHTML-based). For details, see Microsoft’s November 2019 Security Update notes.  

There is one known issue in this update, in which you may not be able to create a local user when setting up a new Windows device during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) while using Input Method Editor (IME). This issue might affect you if you are using the IME for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean languages. 

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

(Get more info about KB4524570.)

Windows 10 November 2019 Update (version 1909)

Release date: Nov. 12, 2019

Version 1909, called the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, is the most recent update to Windows 10. There are very few new features in this update, making it more like a service pack of old than a feature update. At this point it’s not clear whether in the future there will be one full-featured update and one service-pack-like update per year or whether Microsoft will go back to its two-feature-updates-a-year schedule. For more details, see “What we know so far about the unusual Windows 10 1909” and “5 unanswered questions about Windows 10 1909.”

Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for users in 1909.

    It lets you create calendar events straight from the taskbar. To do it, click the time on the taskbar and you’ll open the Calendar view. Now click a date and time, then type the event’s name into the text box. You’ll also be able to choose the date, time and location.
    When you type a search into the search box, it will now search through files in your OneDrive account as well as on your PC. Also, as you type, a drop-down menu with suggested files appears. Click a file to open it.
    Voice assistants in addition to Cortana, including Amazon’s Alexa, will be able to run on Windows 10’s lock screen.
    Under-the-hood improvements should speed up the performance of some PCs, as well as increase the battery life in some laptops.
    The Start Menu has gotten minor tweaks. When you hover over items in the navigation pane on the left side of the menu, the items clearly show what you’re about to click.

What IT needs to know: The ing features in 1909 are of note for IT staff.

    Windows containers no longer need to have their host and container versions match. That requirement restricted Windows from supporting mixed-version container pod scenarios. Previously, containers from older versions of Windows 10 couldn’t be run on newer versions of Windows 10. In this update, it’s possible, so that a container made using 1903, for example, can be run on 1909.
    Windows Defender Credential Guard, which protects enterprise users’ logins and credentials against theft, is now available for ARM64 devices. Some Windows 10 convertible PCs use ARM64.
    Enterprises can now use Microsoft’s Intune enterprise mobility management (EMM) service to allow devices running Windows 10 in S mode to install and run Win32 (desktop) apps. Before this, S Mode only allowed devices to run apps from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft Store apps don’t run on the desktop.
    The security of BitLocker encryption has been improved. Whenever BitLocker is used to encrypt a device, a recovery key is created, but before this security improvement, it was possible for an unauthorized user to get access to the recovery key and decrypt the device. Now, PCs have additional security if a key is exposed. Here’s how Microsoft explains the change: “Key-rolling or Key-rotation feature enables secure rolling of Recovery passwords on MDM managed AAD devices upon on demand request from Microsoft Intune/MDM tools or upon every time recovery password is used to unlock the BitLocker protected drive.”

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