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Microsoft Releases First “20H1” Windows 10 Test Build 18836 with Linux Files in WSL

Microsoft has offered the testers of Skip Ahead with its first ever Build from the 20H1 development branch of Windows 10 Insider Preview.

Although, Microsoft isn’t yet done with the 19H1 development, which is expected to be the RTM build 1903 of April 2019 Update, it get started with 20H

Unlike a typical scenario when the Fast ring skips to the next version, this time Microsoft is skipping two versions.

Hence, Skip Ahead is now reserved for 20H1 builds, which should begin shipping to mainstream users in April 2020, the company said.

Later this spring, the Fast ring will be reserved for 19H2 builds. It will happen only after the 19H1 is “nearly finished and ready,” says Microsoft.

The Release Preview ring will now use to preview drivers and quality updates on 19H1.

Microsoft did not say much on this unusual move by skipping ahead to the 20H1 branch beyond “some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time.”

When asked Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc responded:

“Right now 20H1 and 19H1 builds are largely the same and haven’t diverged too much yet in terms of code. It’ll be a little bit before they do. Eventually, 20H1 builds will start seeing a behind-the-scenes change, etc.”

Microsoft said it should be noted that once a user take a Skip Ahead 20H1 build, they can not downgrade.

Build 18836, a more of general fixation, has only one new feature, a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), that will also ship with the next Windows 10 Insider Preview 1903 from 19H1.

With the added ability to access Linux files from within Windows, users can simply type “explorer.exe” in Linux to get to the Windows File Explorer windows inside the distro.

Once there, users can perform any task as normally they would do with files in File Explorer.

A screen shot below shows Linus files in File Explorer:

Linux Files in Windows File Explorer

Changelog of new/improved features in Build 18836:

  • Added the ability for users to access Linux files in a WSL distro from Windows. These files can be accessed through the command line, and also Windows apps, like File Explorer, VSCode, etc. can interact with these files. Access your files by navigating to \\wsl$\>, or see a list of running distributions by navigating to \\wsl$.
  • Improved the capabilities of the wsl.exe command line interface, by adding new features such as importing and exporting distros and consolidating existing features from wslconfig.exe, such as listing distros and setting defaults.There are some new commands:
    • –user, -u
    • Run as the specified user
    • –export
    • Exports the distribution to a tar file.
    • The filename can be – for standard output.
    • –import
    • Imports the specified tar file as a new distribution.
    • The filename can be – for standard input.
    • –terminate, -t
    • Terminates the distribution.

    And, some consolidated commands:

    • –list , -lLists all distributions available on your machine
    • Can also contain further options:
      • –all
      • Lists all distributions, including distributions that are currently being installed or uninstalled
      • –running
      • Lists only distributions that are currently running
    • –setdefault, -s
    • Sets the distribution as default.
    • –unregister
    • Unregisters the distribution
    • –upgrade
    • Upgrades the distribution to the WslFs file system format.

Build 18836 being mostly dealing with fixes, full changelog can be accessed here.

In other related news, Microsoft has introduced some change to Windows Update for Business.

Starting with build 1903, Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) option will no longer available, says Microsoft.

This update will let organizations make use of “deferral” setting to manually choose an update.

Until now, Microsoft provides two options Semi-Annual Channel and Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) —also being referred to as SAC-T.

It’s available in the October 2018 Update version 1809 of Windows 10.

With SAC, businesses can opt to receive updates at the same time as of consumers.

SAC-T allow them to delay the update until Microsoft flags it as “ready for businesses.”

“Once your organization’s devices have been updated to Windows 10, version 1903, the configuration of Windows Updates for Business will be simpler, enabling you to choose a single deferral value based solely on the SAC release date.”

That means, “if you are trying to set up validation flights in your environment using Windows Update for Business, or stage updates in waves, you will do so from a common release start date, which should simplify the deployment process overall,” Microsoft says.

The changes will come into effect once Windows 10 version 1903 ships in April.

Update 02/23:

Microsoft is moving ahead with its 20H1 development branch, as the company today released the second build of 20H1 “18841” to Windows Insiders.

This test build is available now to all Windows Insiders, who have opted into Skip Ahead.

Like Build 18836, it too doesn’t contain any new features other than general improvements, and fixes.

For complete details on fixes, visit here.

Today, also saw a release of a new 19H1 test build 18343 19H1 to the Fast ring.

It’s a follow up of February 20 Windows Insider Preview Build 18342, and carries over Windows Sandbox support of configuration files.

These files allow users to configure some aspects of the sandbox, such as vGPU, networking and shared folders.

Like Windows Insiders Build 18836, today’s 20H1 build 18841 also does not contain any new features.

However, users can test features that were added to 18342, like “Chrome Extension for Timeline,” that adds users browsing activities directly to their Timeline in Windows.

For Timeline to appear, users can start by adding the Web Activity extension from the Chrome Web Store, then sign-into Microsoft account and visit a site in Chrome.

The Chrome activities will also sync with Timeline on Android devices for those using Microsoft Launcher app.

Windows Admin Center Preview 1902 launched today builds over the previous 1812 version with added functionality like software defined networking tools in HCI solution, and “shared connection lists.”

A top-requested customer features, it enables sharing of a single connection list across WAC gateway.

To add shared connections, administrators can go to WAC Gateway Settings -> Shared Connections, and add servers, clusters, and PC.

WAC gateway admins can use the pane to tag servers, which will appear to all users ob the home “All Connections” page.

Tags being immutable can not edit by users on shared server connections.

Microsoft also released a number of new Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities, including:

Access Control List Management (SDN)

This allows access control lists (ACLs) to manage the data traffic flow using Datacenter Firewall and ACLs on virtual subnets.

By creating ACLs users can configure Datacenter Firewall rules which get applied to a virtual subnet.

Gateway Connection (SDN)

A software based multitenant Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) supports IPSEC, GRE and L3 as gateway connections.

It’s designed for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and Enterprises that host multiple tenant virtual networks using Hyper-V Network Virtualization.

Gateway Connection tool help to manage and monitor gateway connections in an SDN environment.

Logical Network Management (SDN)

VM networks are abstract objects that act as an interface to logical networks.

In a virtualized network environment, VM networks can be used to abstract virtual machines from the underlying logical network.

Logical network can be managed and monitor via Locical Network tool.

SDN Feature enhancement – Connect VM to VLAN or Virtual Network

Microsoft now allow to connect a VM to a VLAN or a Virtual Network in the SDN environment.

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