Windows as a service

Windows as a service is the development model Microsoft has adopted for Microsoft Windows after the release of Windows 10. Instead of releasing a major version of Windows every few years, the company instead releases smaller feature updates in shorter intervals.

Since Windows transitioned to Azure's semester model in 2019, new features are planned with respect to the so-called semesters rather than feature updates. From a development viewpoint, semesters are equivalent to releases as the active development branch goes through feature development, stabilization and sign-off phases during each semester. However, they are independent from the actual releases available to the public as the company does not necessarily release a new version at the end of each semester, e.g. three semesters passed between Windows 11 and Windows 10 May 2020 Update (Manganese, Iron, Cobalt).

Recent rumors suggest that Microsoft might be moving back to a traditional release schedule, with a major version of Windows releasing every three years. The period between two major versions would then be spanned by shipping minor feature updates called Moments, up to four times a year.[1]

List of development semesters[edit | edit source]

Name Abbr. Semester Release Notes
Client Server AzSHCI Xbox[a]
Threshold 1 TH1 Windows 10
Threshold 2 TH2 Windows 10 November Update v1510
Redstone 1 RS1 Windows 10 Anniversary Update Windows Server 2016 v1608
Redstone 2 RS2 Windows 10 Creators Update v1704
Redstone 3 RS3 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update v1709 v1710
Redstone 4 RS4 Windows 10 April 2018 Update v1803 v1804
Redstone 5 RS5 Windows 10 October 2018 Update Windows Server 2019
v20H2 v1810
Titanium Ti 19H1 Windows 10 May 2019 Update v1903 v1904 First iteration under the Azure semester scheme
Vanadium V 19H2 Windows 10 November 2019 Update v1909 v1910 Cumulative update for 19H1 (Titanium)
Vibranium Vb 20H1 Windows 10 May 2020 Update
Windows 10 October 2020 Update
Windows 10 May 2021 Update
Windows 10 November 2021 Update
Windows 10 2022 Update
Manganese Mn 20H2
Iron Fe 21H1 Windows Server 2022 v21H2
Cobalt Co 21H2 Windows 11 v2108
Nickel Ni 22H2 Windows 11 2022 Update
Windows 11 2023 Update
v2208 Originally 22H1, later changed to 22H2 and expanded to cover the entire year.
Copper Cu 23H1 Development transitioned fluently into Zinc in November 2022 without the creation of release branches.
Zinc Zn 23H2 v23H2 v23H2 v2308
Gallium Ga 24H1 Development transitioned fluently into Germanium in August 2023 without the creation of release branches.
Germanium Ge 24H2 Windows 11 2024 Update Windows Server 2025
v24H2 v2408
Dilithium Dt 25H1 TBA TBA TBA TBA

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The year and month number from the OS branch name, since Xbox system software updates have no official names for the most part. For brevity, only the first update based upon each platform release is listed.

References[edit | edit source]