Microsoft winds up work on Windows 10 Creators Update

Other cues and clues point to April 4 or April 11 release

New clues signaled that work has wrapped up on Microsoft Windows 10's next feature upgrade, dubbed the Creators Update, with a release to customers expected in one week, perhaps two.

Build 15063, first issued to participants in Microsoft's Windows Insider preview program on March 20, has been identified by Windows experts as the likely RTM candidate for Creators Update.

Although Microsoft no longer publicly tags builds with the labels "release to manufacturing" (RTM) or "release candidate" (RC), they remain shorthand for the milestone -- even though the upgrade is shot straight to users, not to floppy disk, CD or DVD duplicators and computer makers, as "manufacturing" once implied.

Other evidence pointed to 15063 as Creators Update, including the leak of a tool that downloads and installs the build. The tool, called Update Assistant, debuted with 2016's Anniversary Update, and will again be a way for users to cut Microsoft's deployment line and retrieve Creators Update manually.

Another clue was spotted by an eagle-eyed Insider, who on Twitter asserted that build 15063 would launch as Creators Update on April 11. His proof: The text string 20170411 in a leaked XML file.

The upgrade may appear sooner than that. In 2016, Microsoft issued build 14393 -- which was correctly pegged as the Anniversary Update's RTM -- to Insider testers on July 18, or 15 days before the official launch on Tuesday, August 2. The same 15-day interval from 15063's March 20 debut would be April 4, Tuesday of next week.

On April 4's side is the fact that the week-later date of April 11 is also next month's Patch Tuesday, when Microsoft will, unless it repeats the cancelation of February, issue a slew of security updates for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. None of the three Windows 10 upgrades so far -- the 2015 original nor the two follow-ups -- were released on a Patch Tuesday, a scheduling that, if nothing else, avoided overloading Microsoft's content delivery network on an already-busy day of customer downloads.

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