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With Windows 10 1809 re-release, Microsoft decides not to cheat on promised support

Microsoft yesterday re-released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after a 38-day delay caused by multiple bugs, including two that deleted customer files.

As it re-issued the fall feature upgrade, Microsoft also reset its support, a move that Computerworld expected by the time the distribution stoppage had run through much of October. By ignoring the original launch date of Oct. 2 and pretending that the delay never happened, Microsoft ensured that users receive the promised amount of support, more or less.

According to the definitive "Windows lifecycle fact sheet," the original end of support for Windows 10 Home 1809 and Windows 10 Pro 1809 - the four-digit label is the upgrade's name in Microsoft's yymm format - was April 14, 2020. Support was to expire for Windows 10 Enterprise 1809 and Windows 10 Education 1809 on April 13, 2021.

Microsoft recently extended support for Enterprise and Education from 18 to 30 months for all upgrades released in the fall with the xx09 moniker.

But by relaunching 1809 on Nov. 13, Microsoft would have shortchanged customers a full month if it didn't also extend support at the same time.

Which is why it did just that: The new support expiration dates are now May 12, 2020 (Home and Pro), and May 11, 2021 (Enterprise and Education). Those dates provide the 18- and 30-month support timelines that Microsoft pledged as recently as September.

This was the second consecutive feature upgrade to be significantly delayed. In April, Microsoft released Windows 10 1803 on April 30. Rather than stick with an Oct. 8, 2019, end of support for Home and Pro - appropriate if 1803 had debuted around April 10 - Microsoft reset it to Nov. 12, 2019. That date gave users slightly more than 18 months of support.

The only problem with extending support this way is that Windows 10's cadence of releases and matching retirements slips out of sync. Under a strict 18-month schedule, 1809 should drop out of support around the same time that the 2003 (March 2020) version launches, so Microsoft simultaneously supports only three feature upgrades (N, the current upgrade; N-1; and N-2).

But the delays - as well as the 12-month support extension for Enterprise and Education customers - mean that Microsoft will be supporting more than a trio of upgrades at a time. In April 2020, for example (when 1809 would have been retired if it had launched on time), Microsoft will be supporting at least five upgrades: 1709, 1803, 1809, 1903 and 1909.

This story, "With Windows 10 1809 re-release, Microsoft decides not to cheat on promised support" was originally published by Computerworld.