Microsoft takes us to 2004 with new Windows 10 so you don't mistake it for Server 2003

Microsoft crossed the streams last night as both the Fast and Slow Rings of the Windows Insider Program synchronised ahead of the final fit and finish of next year's Windows 10.

While build 19033 was light on features, as is depressingly the norm with 20H1 these days, that watermark remained absent and, more importantly, the release hit the cautious Slow Ringers as well as the brave folk on the bleeding edge of Fast.

And because it wouldn't be Windows without a good few ways of referring to it, 20H1 will also now be known as "2004" rather than "2003" as one might have expected, based on the previous numbering convention (1909, 1903, 1809 etc).

The reason, according to the gang, was to "eliminate confusion with any past product names" such as Windows Server 2003. Presumably Microsoft Money 2004 was not deemed risky enough.

The synchronisation also opens a brief window for Fast Ring Insiders to take a breath and spend some quality time on the Slow Ring instead of being flung further into the future by the Insider team. Teasingly, Microsoft would only say that Fast Ring fans would soon be getting builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch of Windows 10 rather than using terms such as "20H2" or even "21H1" to give people a clue with regard to when the code would show up in the Windows Update of the general public.

As a reminder, the next version of Windows 10 is known as "20H1". Or "2004". Or "that thing Santa left on the lounge carpet". We made that last one up, but you get the idea.

As has been the norm of late, the release was light on features to enliven a keynote, but heavy on fixes. We've been told by more than one MVP (on condition of anonymity, in order to avoid a short, sharp, defrocking) that the bulk of the changes have been "under the hood" ahead of what should be an interesting 2020 for Windows fans.

The fixes themselves included dealing with the Start Code 38 issue that had cropped up with some USB 3.0 devices, although the Start Code 10 problem still remains, as well as the Start Menu crashing if a Windows Update was pending.

Those pesky compatibility problems with anti-cheat software continue to linger, as well as the Update process occasionally hanging and optional printer drivers reappearing in Windows Update after an install.

And, of course, while it looks like Microsoft is almost finished with this release, this does remain very much preview code and should be treated with caution lest something explode messily in your face. ®

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