Microsoft publishes an “End of Service” date for each version of Windows 10. While you might think you can hold onto your version of Win10 until that date, Microsoft starts pushing you onto the next version four months early. That takes a big bite out of the promised 18-month lifespan.
Windows 10 version 1809 Home and Pro hit "End of Service" on Nov. 10. But users on version 1809 have been reporting for more than a month that they’re getting pushed onto Win10 version 2004.
This is a hard push – there’s no “Download and install” invitation (see screenshot below). You wake up one morning, your version 1809 machine takes forever to get started, and surprise! it wakes up running Win10 version 2004.
It isn’t a bug. Microsoft has said that it intends to roll out Win10 version 2004 this way. Here’s the official notification on the Windows Release Information Status page:
We are now starting a new phase in our rollout. Using the machine learning-based (ML-based) training we have done so far, we are increasing the number of devices selected to update automatically to Windows 10, version 2004 that are approaching end of service. We will continue to train our machine learning through all phases to intelligently rollout new versions of Windows 10 and deliver a smooth update experience.
I’ll refrain from making a snide comment about the efficacy of Microsoft’s “ML-based” rollout routines.
It may seem a bit draconian that Microsoft is pushing 1809 customers onto 2004 while 1809’s still officially in support for another four months. But that’s the way it’s been for the past several versions. “End of Service” means that Microsoft stops issuing security patches, not that you can continue to use the product until the cutoff date.
If you think you’re getting 18 months of support for a new version of Windows, it doesn’t work out that way. The patches will continue – but your machine will likely get pushed after 14 months.
The 1809 push is particularly frustrating because it comes on the back of Microsoft extending the End of Support date. We were told back in April:
Microsoft has been deeply engaged with customers around the world who are impacted by the current public health situation. As a member of the global community, we want to contribute to reducing the stress our customers face right now. To that end, we have delayed the scheduled end of support and servicing dates for the following products to help people and organizations focus their attention on retaining business continuity…
Windows 10, version 1809... The final security update for this version will be released on November 10, 2020, instead of May 12, 2020.
So Microsoft determined that the global public health situation was dire enough in April to extend 1809 support by six months – then started turning the 2004 screws four months early. We all know how the global public health situation has improved.