Windows 10: A guide to the updates

The launch of a big Windows 10 update like the October 2018 Update isn’t the end of a process — it’s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft 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 currently shipping version of Windows 10 — version 1809, known as the October 2018 Update — with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the October 2018 Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1803, known as the April 2018 Update; 1709, known as the Fall Creators Update; and finally updates to version 1703, known as 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 the next major release of Windows 10, code-named Redstone 6, 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.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809)

Release date: October 2, 2018

Note: After some users who upgraded to version 1809 reported problems including the loss of all files in their Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos folders, Microsoft on October 5 paused the rollout of this update.

Version 1809, called the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, is the most recent major update to Windows 10. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for users in it. (For more details, see our full review.)

  • A new, powered-up Windows Clipboard can hold multiple clips, store clips permanently, let you preview clips and choose which one you’d like to paste into a document, and share clips across Windows 10 devices.
  • A new screenshot and annotation tool called Snip & Sketch lets you capture and annotate the entire screen, a rectangular portion of the screen or a freehand-drawn portion of it. After you take a screen capture, you can annotate it and then save it to a file, copy it to the Clipboard, open it in another program or share it via email, social media and other methods.
  • Storage Sense, which helps save storage space, now works with OneDrive Files On-Demand to clean out files you’ve downloaded from OneDrive cloud storage to your PC but that you don’t use any longer. You can choose how long you would like the cloud files to stay on your PC unused before you want them deleted, from never to 60 days.
  • The Microsoft Edge browser lets you set autoplay permissions for sound and video on websites on a site-by-site basis. It also lets you look up word definitions in its built-in eReader for books and PDFs, and mark up PDFs and books using a highlighter and by adding notes.
  • The new Your Phone app links Windows 10 devices to iOS and Android phones. It allows you to start web browsing on an iOS or Android device and then continue where you left off on your PC. It also lets you view photos on your Android phone from your Windows 10 PC.
  • Search Previews have been powered up slightly. You no longer need to click to display the preview panel; it opens automatically. It also now shows files found on your PC.
  • Smaller changes include a new dark theme for File Explorer; the addition of the SwiftKey swipe keyboard, which lets you enter text by swiping a finger across an onscreen keyboard; updates that are less intrusive; and faster sign-ins on shared PCs.

What IT needs to know: There are few significant changes that affect IT in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, other than New Microsoft Edge Group Policies that let admins enable and disable full-screen mode, printing, the favorites bar, and browser history saves. IT can also allow or ban Edge extensions (not that there are many available) and configure the Home button and new tab page and startup options.

Updates to the April 2018 Update (version 1803)

KB4458469 (OS Build 17134.319)

Release date: September 20, 2018

This non-feature update fixes several dozen issues, including one that prevents custom keyboard layouts from working correctly, another that prevents some Bluetooth devices from pairing with Windows, and another in which a daily, repetitive task starts unexpectedly when the task is first created or starts when the task is updated.

There are no known issues with the update.

(Get more info about KB4458469.)

KB4464218 (OS Build 17134.286)

Release date: September 17, 2018

This non-feature update fixes a single issue that occurs after installing any of the updates released between July 24, 2018 and September 11, 2018. In those updates, Windows no longer recognizes the Personal Information exchange (PFX) certificate used for authenticating to a Wi-Fi or VPN connection. So Intune takes a long time to deliver user profiles because it doesn’t recognize that the required certificate is on the device. This build fixes the problem.

There are no known issues with the update.

(Get more info about KB4464218.)

KB4457128 (OS Build 17134.285)

Release date: September 11, 2018

This non-feature update includes several security updates and fixes an issue that causes the Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA) service to have excessive CPU usage. It provides protection against a Spectre Variant 2 vulnerability (CVE-2017-5715) for ARM64 devices. And it also includes security updates to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft scripting engine, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows Media, Windows Shell, Windows Hyper-V, Windows datacenter networking, Windows virtualization and kernel, Windows Linux, Windows kernel, Microsoft JET Database Engine, Windows MSXML, and Windows Server. (See the Security Update Guide for details.)

There are no known issues with the update.

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

(Get more info about KB4457128.)

KB4346783 (OS Build 17134.254)

Release date: August 30, 2018

This non-feature update addresses a little more than a dozen problems, including one in which an issue in Microsoft Foundation Class applications may cause applications to flicker, and another in which Microsoft Edge or other UWP applications can’t perform client authentication when the private key is stored on a TPM 2.0 device.

There is one known issue in the update: Microsoft Edge may fail when using the New Application Guard Window, but normal Microsoft Edge instances aren’t affected.

(Get more info about KB4346783.)

KB4343909 (OS Build 17134.228)

Release date: August 14, 2018

This non-feature update addresses a handful of minor issues, including fixing a problem that caused high CPU usage and performance degradation on some systems with Family 15h and 16h AMD processors, and fixing another one that significantly reduced battery life after upgrading to Windows 10 version 1803, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

It also has security fixes, including several for Windows Server, and protections against a new speculative execution side-channel vulnerability known as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) that affects Intel Core processors and Intel Xeon processors

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

(Get more info about KB4343909.)

KB4340917 (OS Build 17134.191)

Release date: July 24, 2018

This non-feature update addresses a dozen minor issues, including problems updating time zone information, an issue that prevented OpenType fonts from printing in Win32 applications and an issue with Roaming User Profiles where the AppDataLocal and AppDataLocallow folders are incorrectly synchronized at user logon and logoff, among others.

There is one known issue: After installation of any of the July 2018 .NET Framework Security Updates, a COM component will fail to load because of “access denied,” “class not registered,” or “internal failure occurred for unknown reasons” errors. For more details, see KB4345913.

(Get more info about KB4340917.)

KB4345421 (OS Build 17134.166)

Release date: July 16, 2018

This non-feature update addresses a small number of issues, including one in which the DHCP Failover server may cause enterprise clients to receive an invalid configuration when requesting a new IP address, resulting in a loss of connectivity. It also fixes another issue that may cause the restart of the SQL Server service to fail occasionally, listing the error “Tcp port is already in use.” There are no known issues with the update.

(Get more info about KB4345421.)

KB4338819 (OS Build 17134.165)

Release date: July 10, 2018

This security update addresses a small number of issues, including one that may cause the Mitigation Options Group Policy client-side extension to fail during GPO processing. It also evaluates the Windows ecosystem to help ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows and enables debugging of WebView content in UWP apps using the Microsoft Edge DevTools Preview app that’s available in the Microsoft Store.

The update also includes security updates for Internet Explorer, Windows apps, Windows graphics, Windows data center networking, Windows wireless networking, Windows virtualization, Windows kernel, and Windows Server. All security updates fix vulnerabilities in the Microsoft .NET Framework.

The update has a known issue: After installing this update on a DHCP Failover Server, Enterprise clients may receive an invalid configuration when requesting a new IP address.  This may result in loss of connectivity as systems fail to renew their leases.

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

(Get more info about KB4338819.)

KB4284848 (OS Build 17134.137)

Release date: June 26, 2018

This non-feature update fixes a wide variety of bugs, including a performance issue on Windows Mixed Reality that occurred on some laptops with hybrid graphics adapters, such as the Surface Book 2, and another in which the Video Settings HDR streaming calibration slider stopped working due to a conflict with the panel brightness intensity settings configured by some OEMs.

The ancient, security-challenged SMBv1 protocol also has a fix for a bug in which users got the “An invalid argument was supplied” error message when accessing files or running programs from a shared folder using the protocol. The release also fixes a bug in which media content previously generated by Media Center didn’t play after the Windows 10 April 2018 Update was installed. There were more than a dozen other minor bugs squashed as well.

(Get more info about KB4284848.)

KB4284835 (OS Build 17134.112)

Release date: June 12, 2018

This update addresses a variety of issues, including several security problems. It fixes a problem that stops the GameBar from launching and also adds support for the SameSite cookie web standard to Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Among other changes, it also addresses an issue in which some systems started up to a black screen. That occurred because previous updates to Windows 10 version 1803 were incompatible with specific versions of PC tune-up utilities after installation.

The update also provides protections for an additional subclass of speculative execution side channel vulnerabilities known as Speculative Store Bypass  (CVE-2018-3639). The protections aren’t enabled by default. IT administrators who want to turn them on for the Windows client should follow the instructions in KB4073119. For Windows Server guidance, follow the instructions in KB4072698. This should be done in addition to the mitigations already released for Spectre Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754).

The release also includes security updates to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft scripting engine, Windows Desktop Bridge, Windows apps, Windows shell, Windows kernel, Windows Server, Windows storage and filesystems, Windows wireless networking, remote code execution, and Windows virtualization and kernel.

There is a known issue in this update, in which some users running Windows 10 version 1803 may receive an error “An invalid argument was supplied” when accessing files or running programs from a shared folder using the SMBv1 protocol. To work around the problem, enable SMBv2 or SMBv3 on both the SMB server and the SMB client, as described in KB2696547.

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

(Get more info about KB4284835.)

KB4338548 (OS Build 17134.83)

Release date: June 5, 2018

This extremely minor update fixes a single bug in which 2017 and 2018 versions of Intuit QuickBooks Desktop couldn’t run in multi-user mode on Windows 10 version 1803 devices.

(Get more info about KB4338548.)

KB4100403 (OS Build 17134.81)

Release date: May 23, 2018

This update fixes a variety of minor bugs, including one in which Internet Explorer might cause communication between web workers to fail in certain asynchronous scenarios with multiple visits to a web page, and another that caused Windows Hello enrollment to fail on hardware with dGPUs.

There are several known issues with the update, including one in which some users running Windows 10 version 1803 may receive an error “An invalid argument was supplied” when accessing files or running programs from a shared folder using the SMBv1 protocol.

(Get more info about KB4100403.)

KB4103721 (OS Build 17134.48)

Release date: May 8, 2018

This update fixes several minor bugs, closes security holes and introduces no new features. Among other fixes, it addresses one that causes some devices to stop responding or working when using applications such as Cortana or Chrome after installing the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. And security updates are included for Windows Server, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Microsoft scripting engine, Windows app platform and frameworks, Windows kernel, Microsoft Graphics Component, Windows storage and filesystems, HTML help and Windows Hyper-V.

The update has one known issue – when some devices with Intel SSD 600p Series or Intel SSD Pro 6000p Series hard disks attempt to upgrade to the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, they may repeatedly enter a UEFI screen after restart or stop working. Microsoft is working with Intel and hardware partners  to identify and block devices with Intel SSD 600p Series or Intel SSD Pro 6000p Series from installing the April 2018 Update. It also is working on a fix that will allow those devices to eventually install the update.

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

(Get more info about KB4103721.)

Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803)

Release date: April 30, 2018

Version 1803, called the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, is the major update to Windows 10 that preceded the October 2018 Update. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for users in it. (For more details, see our full review.)

  • The most important new feature is Timeline, which lets you review and resume activities and open files you’ve started on your PC, or any other Windows PCs you have. It also tracks what you’ve done on iOS and Android devices if you install Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana on them and are logged in. It shows a list of activities day by day for up to 30 days. Each activity shows up as a large tile, with the file name and document title or URL and website name across it, and the name of the application or app that created it across the top. Click any activity to reopen it. (Note that at present, Timeline only tracks activities in certain Microsoft programs such as the Edge browser and Office applications.)
  • The new Diagnostic Data Viewer is supported, which Microsoft is designed to let you see the “diagnostic data collected from your Windows devices, how it is used, and to provide you with increased control over that data.” However, the information is presented in such a complex, technical way that even programmers will likely have a difficult time understanding it. The viewer isn’t built directly into the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Instead, you have to download it from the Microsoft Store.
  • The My People feature now lets you pin up to 10 contacts on the Windows taskbar. Previously, you could only pin up to three.
  • Microsoft Edge gets several minor tweaks, including a revamped Hub, the ability to mute auto-playing audio in tabs, and a forms-filler for web-based forms.
  • The Notebook feature of Cortana gets a new, cleaner interface for its Notebook. It now has two tabs, Organizer and Manage Skills. The Organizer makes it easier to create lists and set reminders. The Manage Skills tab lets you add “skills” to Cortana, such as controlling your home and its appliances, connecting Cortana to music services such as Spotify, tracking your fitness and more.
  • You get more control over app permissions, such as whether they can access your camera, location and contacts.

What IT needs to know: IT staff should be aware of these features that are new in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update:

  • Windows 10 Professional now gets the Windows Defender Application Guard, which protects Microsoft Edge. There’s also a new feature in the application guard that lets users download files inside Edge instead of directly to the operating system, as a way to increase security.
  • There are new policies for Group Policy and Mobile Device Management (MDM) that can better control how Delivery Optimization is used for Windows Update and Windows Store app updates. You can also now monitor Delivery Optimization using Windows Analytics.
  • Windows AutoPilot also gets a tweak that lets IT make sure policies, settings and apps are provisioned on devices before users begin using them.
  • Windows gets the Linux curl and tar utilities for downloading files and extracting .tar archives built directly into Windows. Windows also now natively supports Unix sockets (AF_UNIX) with a new afunix.sys kernel driver. That will make it easier to port software to Windows from Linux as well as from other Unix-like operating systems.
  • There are a host of improvements to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which lets you run a variety of Linux distributions on Windows 10. Linux applications can run in the background, some launch settings for Linux distributions can be customized, and Linux applications have been given access to serial devices. The new Unix sockets report is available for the Windows Subsystem for Linux as well as Windows itself.
  • The Windows 10 Pro for Workstations version of Windows 10 gets a new power scheme called Ultimate Performance it’s only for desktop PCs, not those that can be powered by batteries. In addition, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations no longer ships with games like Candy Crush or other similar consumer-focused apps. Instead, it features enterprise- and business-related apps.
  • Administrators have been given the power to configure an enterprise’s PCs to run custom scripts during feature updates, which will make configuration and deployment easier.

For  more details, see the Microsoft blog post “Making IT simpler with a modern workplace.”

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