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Microsoft Releases Window 10 Version 22H2

The general availability channel release of Windows 10 version 22H2 is now available, Microsoft announced on Tuesday, plus Windows 10 IoT Enterprise version 22H2.

The release is a so-called "feature update" that delivers a new operating system. Windows 10 version 22H2 will arrive as an optional update through the Windows Update process, the same process that's used to deliver Microsoft's monthly patches.

Additionally, Windows 10 version 22H2 in trial form can be downloaded from Microsoft's Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation page, which offers a free 90-day evaluation copy.

Microsoft now releases feature updates for Windows 10 once per year in the fall. Windows 11 kicked off that once-per-year update model, which Windows 10 now also follows.

What's New in Windows 10 Version 22H2?
Exactly what's new in Windows 10 version 22H2, also known as the "the Windows 10 2022 Update," appears to be a mystery.

John Cable, vice president for program management of Windows servicing and delivery, suggested that Windows 10 version 22H2 will be bringing "productivity and management" features, without further elaboration.

"Windows 10, version 22H2 will have a limited set of features focused on productivity and management," Cable tersely noted, in a "How To Get" the OS article.

Super-informed veteran Microsoft journalist Mary Jo Foley was stumped again, as she was with the preview, on the new OS' features.

"I asked again today for a feature list for Windows 10 22H2," Foley wrote in a ZDNet article. "No word back."

Microsoft's "What's New" page lacked an entry for Windows 10 version 22H2 at press time.

Nonetheless, Cable suggested organizations should "begin targeted deployments to validate that their apps, devices and infrastructure work as expected with the new release." The "targeted" term probably just refers to Microsoft's testing-rings concept. The idea is for IT pros to test the new OS in small groups ("rings") before broader organizational rollout.

Microsoft used to have a so-called "targeted release" of Windows 10, but it dropped that nomenclature years ago. Microsoft's "Release Health" document made it clear that this release is a "general availability" release, which means it's deemed ready by Microsoft for use in production environments.

Windows 10 End of Support
There may be other motivators besides the new unnamed features in Windows 10 version 22H2 that may drive individuals and organizations toward an upgrade. Namely, earlier Windows 10 versions soon will be reaching their end-of-support phases.

The following Windows 10 versions are nearing end of support, according to Cable:

  • Windows 10 version 21H1 (all editions) will be unsupported on Dec. 13, 2022
  • Windows 10 version 20H2 (Enterprise and Education editions) will be unsupported on May 9, 2023, and
  • The very last version of Windows 10, when it arrives, will be unsupported on Oct. 14, 2025.

OS support varies by Windows 10 edition, with Home and Pro getting 18 months of support, while Enterprise and Education editions get 30 months of support. When an OS falls out of support, Microsoft stops delivering monthly updates, including security fixes.

Windows 10 Version 22H2 Availability
Windows 10 version 22H2 is available to organizations via all of the usual venues, such as Windows Server Update Services and Windows Update for Business. It can be downloaded via " Visual Studio Subscriptions, the Software Download Center (via Update Assistant or the Media Creation Tool), and the Volume Licensing Service Center," Microsoft explained in its "IT Tools" announcement.

Individuals can get Windows 10 version 22H2 by just "seeking" it via the Windows Update pane. Devices that meet Windows 11 requirement will be offered that OS as an installation choice, Cable noted.

If there's an application compatibility issue with Windows 10 version 22H2 that's detected by Microsoft's "telemetry" data, then a so-called "Safeguard Hold" may be placed by Microsoft "until that issue is resolved," Microsoft explained, in this "Known Issues" document.

If an upgrader is using Windows 10 versions "20H2, 21H1, or 21H2," then the upgrade will be accelerated by Microsoft's enablement package approach. This approach leverages dormant bits of the new OS that are already installed on a device, thereby reducing the overall download size.

New Security Baseline and Tooling
Microsoft has already released a new security baseline for Windows 10 version 22H2, which is described in this announcement. The announcement listed baseline improvements for printer security, credential theft protection and attack surface reduction. There's also a new Admin account lockout policy to respond to "brute-force authentication attacks."

Microsoft is planning to release a download of Administrative Templates for Windows 10 version 22H2 "later this week." However, they are also now "natively accessible via the C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\ folder in Windows," according to the "IT Tools" announcement.

IT pros can get the "Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10" through Microsoft's Features on Demand capability. Microsoft also noted that the "Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 2004 supports all currently supported versions of Windows 10, including version 22H2."

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