Windows 10, version 2004, officially known as the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, is now available through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Windows Update for Business, and can be downloaded from Visual Studio Subscriptions, the Software Download Center (via Update Assistant or the Media Creation Tool), and the Volume Licensing Service Center. For those of you exploring your deployment options in a remote work scenario, check out Deploying a new version of Windows 10 in a remote world.
Note: If you are using Check for updates from your Windows Update settings (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update) you may not see Download and install on your device as we are slowly throttling up availability, or as your device might have a compatibility issue for which a safeguard hold is in place until we are confident that you will have a good update experience.
Today marks the start of the 18-month servicing timeline for this Semi-Annual Channel release. As such, we recommend that IT administrators begin targeted deployments of Windows 10, version 2004 to validate that the apps, devices, and infrastructure used by their organizations work as expected with the new features. For the servicing timeline for the other editions of Windows 10, please see the Windows lifecycle fact sheet.
As you look to roll out this new update to your organization, this post outlines some of the new, key capabilities and enhancements that will enable you to benefit from intelligent security, simplified updates, flexible management, and enhanced productivity, specifically in the areas of:
This post also covers:
Now let's get into the details.
Just as features continually evolve in Windows 10, servicing, updating, and Windows setup continue to get better with each update. Based on your feedback, we've improved the Windows setup experience, added more PowerShell cmdlets to Delivery Optimization, added a cloud recovery option, and made some additional enhancements.
Based on direct feedback and requests from customers like you, we've added new PowerShell cmdlets to help you better take advantage of the bandwidth savings offered by Delivery Optimization:
In addition to the PowerShell cmdlets, Delivery Optimization in Windows 10, version 2004 offers:
We've continued to evolve the technologies available to support your Windows deployment efforts and the way you manage updates. With Windows 10, version 2004, you can take advantage of the following improvements:
With Windows 10, version 2004 comes several improvements to deploying updates using Windows Update for Business. Specifically:
Cortana, your personal productivity assistant in Microsoft 365, has been updated and enhanced in Windows 10, version 2004. Here are some of the new Cortana enhancements we're releasing:
For more information on these enhancements and to learn about additional updates available starting today with Cortana in Microsoft 365, see the Microsoft 365 Blog or watch the short walkthrough below.
Whether you have a personal preference, a unique workstyle, or a disability, Windows 10 Ease of Access features let you choose how to interact with your screen, express ideas, and simply get your work done. Here are some of the new accessibility enhancements we're releasing:
If you are installing Windows 10 in a multi-language environment, or in multiple countries, take a look at the improvements we've made to dictation, SwiftKey intelligence, and east Asian IMEs (Quick Input Method Editors):
The Windows Subsystem for Linux lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment. Here's some enhancements we've made in Windows 10, version 2004.
Security is at the forefront in all of every Windows 10 update. Here's a look at some of the built-in security features you'll find in Windows 10, version 2004:
FIDO2 security key support has been expanded to include hybrid Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)-joined devices, enabling even more customers to take an important step in their journey towards passwordless environments.
In Windows 10, version 1903, System Guard added a new feature called SMM Firmware Measurement. This feature is built on top of System Guard Secure Launch to check that the System Management Mode (SMM) firmware on the device is operating in a healthy manner - specifically, OS memory and secrets are protected from SMM. In Windows 10, version 2004, System Guard Secure Launch checks and measurements have been increased—enabling you to achieve further security hardening and posturing for protection for sensitive resources like MMIO, IO ports, and registers. This feature is forward-looking and requires new hardware, which will be available soon!
Windows Sandbox was introduced in Windows 10, version 1903 to provide a lightweight desktop environment to safely run applications in isolation. When the Windows Sandbox is closed, all software and files are deleted (as is the state), and a new instance of sandbox launches each time you open the application. Enhancements in Windows 10, version 2004 include:
The following enhancements don't fit easily into the categories above, but are equally important to IT pros as they involve Search, Task Manager, Bluetooth pairing, network camera support, and more:
To complement your Windows 10, version 2004 experience, we've been busy with other new, exciting products and features, such as:
Universal Print is a Microsoft 365 subscription-based service that organizations use to centralize print management through the Universal Print portal, hosted in Azure. It's fully integrated with Azure Active Directory and supports single sign-on scenarios. Universal Print requires a minimum of Windows 10, version 1903. To keep with the latest news on Universal Print, bookmark the Universal Print blog.
The following updates, features, and enhancements have been made to Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Microsoft Defender ATP) since January of 2020. For the latest information, bookmark the Microsoft Defender ATP blog. (Note: these features do not necessarily require Windows 10, version 2004.)
We continue the work with our partner community around Secured-core technology that combines identity, virtualization, operating system, hardware, and firmware protection to add another crucial layer of security underneath the operating system and ensure the integrity of the boot process. New devices that include AMD's new Ryzen Pro 4000 chip, built on Microsoft's Secured-core technology, help prevent sophisticated data theft attacks and can be easily managed with Microsoft Endpoint Manager.
Before I close out this post, I also wanted to highlight a couple of Office features I came across recently as they can help your personal productivity and documentation efforts.
The first is a Microsoft Outlook calendar feature that enables you to schedule meetings that end x minutes early. In a recent update of Office, I noticed that I now have the ability to schedule my meetings to end a few minutes early. If you're like me, you are scheduled for back-to-back-to-back meetings with no time to stretch, grab a cup of coffee, or take a moment to attend to personal matters. If you're now working from home, your work/life balance may be taking a further hit. In Outlook go to File > Options > Calendar. In the Calendar options, select End appointments and meetings early and then select the appropriate number of minutes.
The second is Microsoft Word's new proofing and inclusivity options. If you're a single-spacer like me, you like to put a single space between sentences. But many of us learned to type by entering two spaces. Microsoft Word can help us single-spacers by marking two spaces as incorrect grammar! And, for those of us in the “Oxford Comma Club,” the absence of an Oxford comma can also trigger an incorrect grammar marking. To check out these new rules, including Inclusiveness, and more, open Word and navigate to File > Options > Proofing. Next to Writing Style, ensure Grammar & Refinements is selected. Select Settings and scroll down to Punctuation Conventions then select the appropriate checkboxes and drop-down options.
Windows Virtual Desktop continues to evolve and you can keep up with the latest enhancements by bookmarking the Windows Virtual Desktop community and staying tuned to the Windows IT Pro Blog. Most recently, we've published new PowerShell modules to PSGallery, including Remove-RdsRoleAssignment with the -AadTenantId parameter to remove role assignments of principals not associated to the Azure AD tenant, and Update-AzWvdHostPool -PersonalDesktopAssignmentType to automatically assign users to virtual machines. For more details, see the Windows Virtual Desktop PowerShell release notes.
Is there a Windows Server release with this release of Windows 10?
Yes! Windows Server, version 2004 is also available beginning today. To learn more, see Windows Server, version 2004 now generally available.
How can I test new builds of Windows 10 prior to their release, so I can begin my testing early?
The Windows Insider Program for Business is open for anyone to join. This program gives you access to preview builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server so you can try out the new features and provide feedback directly to Microsoft. As an additional benefit, you can deploy6 these early builds of Windows across your organization to test your apps, hardware, and processes.
Will there be a new Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release with this release?
No. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 is the current LTSC option, and was released with Windows 10, version 1809 in November. The next LTSC release can be expected toward the end of 2021. Customers currently using the LTSC for special-purpose devices should start working to upgrade those devices to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 as mainstream support for that release will continue until January 9, 2024.
Can I upgrade our devices from Windows 7 directly to this new update?
Yes. You can upgrade directly from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, version 2004. We strongly encourage you to begin your upgrade process immediately, as Windows 7 reached end of support date on January 14, 2020, and Windows 8.1 will reach end of support on January 10, 2023.
I know that I can defer updates using Windows Update for Business, but what exactly does that mean?
Windows Update for Business allows you to set policies that specify that you only want specific devices, or groups of devices, to receive updates that are xx days old. For example, if you are running Windows 10, version 1909 and set a deferral policy for feature updates of 180 days, that means when the next release (version 2004 in this case) is 180 days old (180 days past its GA release date), it will begin to deploy on the devices to which you have applied that policy.
Do I have to have a single Windows Update for Business deferral policy in my organization?
You can have as many deferral policies as necessary. This provides great flexibility, enabling you to roll Windows 10 out in waves. For example:
Things to consider when setting deferral policies:
What if my applications are not compatible with Windows 10, version 2004?
Windows 10 is the most compatible Windows operating system ever. However, if you do encounter an application compatibility issue as you deploy Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 apps, or with a subsequent feature update, Desktop App Assure will help you fix them at no additional cost with an eligible subscription (150+ seats). For more information about Desktop App Assure, see Standing behind our application compatibility promise.
To support the release of Windows 10, version 2004, we have released updated versions of the following resources:
Also, if you haven't seen it yet, the Windows release health dashboard (introduced with the release of Windows 10, version 1903) provides you with timely information on the status of the Windows 10, version 2004 rollout, details on any known issues (including the status of those issues, workarounds, and resolutions), and other important announcements, such as those related to lifecycle updates, upcoming events, and best practices.
For help with configuring and deploying updates, please see the following resources:
To see a summary of the latest documentation updates, see What's new in Windows 10, version 2004 IT pro content on Docs.
For information on what's new for developers, see What's new in Windows 10 for developers, build 19041. For a full list of new namespaces added to the Windows SDK, see New APIs in Windows 10 build 19041. And, for a list of features and functionality that have been removed from Windows 10, or might be removed in future releases, see Features and functionality removed in Windows 10.
For a closer look at these improvements, save the date for a one-hour webcast on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time with live Q&A. (Update: This webcast will be rescheduled. Stay tuned to the Windows IT Pro blog for an update.) And, if you need help with deploying and managing updates across your organization, myself and members of the Windows and Microsoft Endpoint Manager engineering teams will be holding office hours on Tech Community for the next two weeks. For more details, see http://aka.ms/windows/officehours.
Finally, for the latest updates on new releases, tools, and resources, stay tuned to this blog and follow us @MSWindowsITPro on Twitter.
 Productivity-focused capabilities, such as finding people profiles, checking schedules, joining meetings, and adding to lists in Microsoft To Do, are currently available to English speakers in the U.S.
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