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Windows Server 2019 and the latest version of Windows 10 are back six weeks after Microsoft pulled them off the market because of a critical flaw -- but IT shops should be wary that the issues are fully resolved.
Microsoft released the Windows 10 October Update and the long-awaited Server 2019 in early October. It quickly pulled back the offerings and all media from distribution channels when a small fraction of users reported missing files after updating their Windows 10 desktops to the latest version.
Yesterday, after Microsoft conducted "extensive internal validation" and monitored diagnostic data from its Windows Insider -- and found no further evidence of data loss -- it re-released Windows Server 2019, Windows Server version 1809 and all related versions of Windows 10, including the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
The company pledged to take a more measured approach with the Windows 10 October Update and carefully study device health data to gauge if a user's device is ready to accept the new code. If Windows Update decides a device may have an unresolved technical issue, it will not install the update.
Despite these cautionary steps, some analysts advised large user organizations that plan to adopt Windows Server build 1809 and Windows 10, especially Windows 10 October Update, should sit tight before they deploy it in production environments.
"No one should be rushing to grab ... [Windows 10 October Update]," said Michael Cherry, senior analyst at Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash. "Build 1803 is the last known good version [of Windows 10]. It has been out there for a while, and an awful lot of people are using it and not having any problems."
Michael Cherrysenior analyst, Directions on Microsoft
Also worrisome is Microsoft's slow response to the initial reports of data loss in the latest release of Windows 10 before they pulled the product back, and a lack of visibility into how Windows 10 technical problems are reported and fixed.
"What gets glossed over is these problems that were reported and missed," Cherry said. "But we have no insights into what was reported and when, or how each incident was chosen to be examined and triaged. So we aren't sure about how many other problems there are."
As an added safeguard, Microsoft plans to add a Windows update status dashboard over the coming year to provide more information about issues that could cause the company to block an OS update. As for the October Update, the company said it will offer regular updates for any future issues on the Windows 10 update history page.
Users with valid licenses of Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server version 1809 can now download the offering through the Volume Licensing Service Center. Azure users can access the Windows Server 2019 image in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace sometime this week, according to the company. Microsoft also said it will make the Windows Server 2019 evaluation available on the Microsoft Eval Center.
Nov. 13, 2018, is now the revised start of the servicing timeline for both Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10, via the Long-Term Servicing Channel and Semi-Annual Channel. Additional information about both support programs is on the Support Lifecycle page.