Microsoft still hasn’t re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. Now, PC manufacturers are shipping PCs with unsupported software, and Battlefield V is coming out next week with real-time ray-tracing technology that won’t work on NVIDIA’s RTX hardware.
Some New PCs Are Running Unsupported Software
The holiday shopping season is almost upon us. PC manufacturers have been working on new hardware and want to release it in time for Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season.
As Brad Sams points out over at Petri, PC manufacturers were testing their new hardware on a pre-release version of the October 2018 Update, also known as Windows 10 version 1809.
According to Microsoft’s processor requirements, new devices with an Intel 9th generation or Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor are only officially supported on the October 2018 Update.
Update: After we wrote this article, Microsoft changed the web page to say that Windows 10 version 1803 does officially support Snapdragon 850 processors. Changing the website to say they’re officially supported is one way to fix the problem!
But the holiday shopping season is nearly here, and these PC manufacturers have to release this hardware. So Microsoft has let them release it with the older version of Windows that isn’t officially supported and hasn’t been properly tested.
Sams found a Lenovo ARM-based Windows 10 laptop with a Snapdragon 850 chip on it at Best Buy, and it was running that old version of Windows. That hardware may not work properly with its current operating system. That’s not all, though. As Sams puts it:
Companies who created marketing material for their devices that highlighted features from 1809 can’t start using that material until this version of Windows 10 ships. Considering that we are about 7 weeks from Christmas, the clock is ticking louder and louder each day that passes.
You wouldn’t want to use a PC with an Intel 9th-generation (Coffee Lake) processor without Windows 10’s October 2018 Update, either. As Microsoft’s documentation makes it clear, those CPUs are not officially supported on the April 2018 Update and may not work properly.
Battlefield V Won’t Support Ray-Tracing at Release
Microsoft trumpeted real-time ray tracing technology earlier this year. NVIDIA’s RTX 20-series graphics cards support this fancy new graphics feature and were released a few months ago. But they can’t actually use DirectX Ray Tracing yet.
That’s been okay because very few games are actually supporting this technology. Everyone could wait.
But EA will release Battlefield V on November 15, which is next week. Ray-tracing will be part of the day one patch. If you purchased an NVIDIA RTX graphics card and were excited to try out ray tracing at Battlefield V’s release—well, too bad. You’ll have to install the unstable build of Windows 10’s October 2018 Update if you want to do that. That’s what EA’s documentation says.
Not only are new PCs shipping with an unsupported version of Windows, Microsoft is also holding back the PC gaming industry. Gamers who purchased an NVIDIA RTX card will be disappointed, and both NVIDIA and EA won’t be able to trumpet and advertise this new technology at the game’s launch.
Thanks to Thinus Swart for pointing out this issue on Twitter.
Microsoft’s Windows Development Process Is Broken
Windows 10’s October 2018 Update was originally released on October 2, but it was pulled a few days later because it was deleting some people’s files. Even after that bug was released, Microsoft found another bug that could result in data loss while using .zip files.
It’s now a month later and Microsoft hasn’t said anything about when we should expect the update. Both the big show-stopping data loss bugs have been fixed, so perhaps Microsoft found another huge bug we don’t know about.
As Peter Bright eloquently explained at Ars Technica, Microsoft’s Windows 10 development process is clearly broken. Windows developers integrate buggy code early in the development cycle and then scramble to fix it:
Either tests do not exist at all for this code (and I’ve been told that yes, it’s permitted to integrate code without tests, though I would hope this isn’t the norm), or test failures are being regarded as acceptable, non-blocking issues, and developers are being allowed to integrate code that they know doesn’t work properly. From outside we can’t tell exactly which situation is in play—it could even be a mix of both—but neither is good.
Is it any surprise that, sometimes, the bugs aren’t all found and fixed in time?
As Mary Jo Foley puts it at ZDNet, Microsoft needs to focus on fundamentals rather than new features. In the past few days alone, we’ve reported on problems with file associations not working properly and Microsoft accidentally deactivating some PCs. Worse yet, both of those problems are on the current stable version of Windows 10!
This broken development process is hurting the entire PC industry. With the constant storm of Windows 10 bugs, people are much more likely to consider Chromebooks, MacBooks, and maybe even iPads. Who wants to deal with all these problems unless they have to?