Windows 10, version 20H2 is now available through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Windows Update for Business, and can be downloaded today from Visual Studio Subscriptions, the Software Download Center (via Update Assistant or the Media Creation Tool), and the Volume Licensing Service Center. Today also marks the start of the 30-month servicing timeline for this Semi-Annual Channel release.
Just like we did for devices upgrading from Windows 10, version 1903 to version 1909, we will be delivering Windows 10, version 20H2 (also referred to as the Windows 10 October 2020 Update) to devices running Windows 10, version 2004 via the new streamlined fashion, which we call an enablement package. For those updating to Windows 10, version 20H2 from earlier versions of Windows, the process will be similar to previous updates.
For those of you that are new to “enablement packages,” Windows 10, version 2004 and Windows 10, version 20H2 share a common core operating system with an identical set of system files. As a result, the new features in version 20H2 were included in the monthly quality updates for version 2004 released on September 8, 2020, but were delivered in a disabled/dormant state. These features remain dormant until they are turned on with the Windows 10, version 20H2 enablement package: a small, quick to install “switch” that activates these features. Using an enablement package, the update to Windows 10, version 20H2 should take approximately the same amount of time as it does to install monthly quality updates.
Note: If you are running Windows 10, version 2004 and have not installed the September 8, 2020 updates, you will not see the version 20H2 enablement package offered to your device.
With today's release, we recommend IT administrators begin targeted deployments of Windows 10, version 20H2 to validate that the apps, devices, and infrastructure used by their organizations work as expected with the new features. If you will be updating devices used in remote or hybrid work scenarios, I also recommend reading Deploying a new version of Windows 10 in a remote world. For insight into our broader rollout strategy, see John Cable's post on How to get the Windows 10 October 2020 Update.
If your organization is currently running Enterprise or Education editions of Windows 10, version 2004, you have 18 months of servicing. By using the enablement package to upgrade your devices to version 20H2, you will receive 30 months of servicing. Devices running Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education will receive the standard 18 months of servicing. For more information, see the Windows lifecycle FAQ.
As you begin to roll out Windows 10, version 20H2 to your organization, here are some of the new features and enhancements that will allow you to benefit from intelligent security, simplified updates, flexible management, and enhanced productivity.
To keep up the latest improvements for end users, follow the Windows Insider Program Blog.
Aside from Windows 10, version 20H2, we've been busy with other new, exciting products and features that you may have heard about! Note that some of these may require additional licensing or services. Check out the links for details.
Is there also a Windows Server release with this release?
Yes. The next Windows Server semi-annual channel (SAC) release is also available today. The Windows Server semi-annual channel is designed for customers who wish to take advantage of new operating system capabilities at a faster pace. Windows Server, version 20H2 is focused on reliability, performance, and other general improvements. It is also available on Azure Marketplace or the Volume Licensing Service Center.
Will there be a 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 2018. The next LTSC release can be expected toward the end of 2021. Customers currently using Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) 2015 for special-purpose devices should start working to upgrade those devices to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019, as mainstream support for LTSB 2015 ended on Oct. 13, 2020, and it entered into extended support. See the lifecycle policy here.
Can I upgrade our devices from Windows 7 directly to Windows 10, version 20H2?
Yes. You can directly upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, version 20H2. We strongly encourage you to begin your upgrade process immediately as Windows 7 is no longer supported.
How can I preview versions of Windows 10 before they become available? I want to start testing these new features early so I can deploy them when they are released!
The Windows Insider Program for Business team has focused on enabling IT administrators to view and provide feedback on upcoming security, management, and productivity features ahead of release. And you can manage the installation of Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds across multiple devices in your organization! Read the Windows Insider Program for Business documentation for more information.
Where can I ask specific questions about rolling out Windows 10, version 20H2 and managing updates in general?
We hold monthly "office hours" in the Windows 10 servicing community on Tech Community with a broad group of servicing, deployment, endpoint management, and security experts. Submit your questions live during the one-hour event—or post them in advance by adding a label for "Office Hours"—and we'll do our best to help! Visit https://aka.ms/windows/officehours for more information and calendar links for upcoming events. Or click here to save the date for our November 19th session!
To support the release of Windows 10, version 20H2, 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 20H2 rollout, details on any safeguard holds or 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 20H2 IT pro content on Docs.
And finally, 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 the latest updates on new releases, tools, resources, AMAs, Ask the Experts, or Windows Office Hours, stay tuned to this blog and follow us @MSWindowsITPro on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter @LURIE_MSFT for the latest on Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Windows, and other exciting news and events for IT pros.
 Enhanced sign-in security requires specialized hardware and software components that can be leveraged starting on devices shipping with Windows 10 October 2020 Update configured out of factory. Documentation will be available later this year.
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