The answer to the question is actually yes and no.
Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063 for PC and Mobile devices, which was released late Monday night here in the U.S., is likely the final full build in the Redstone 2 development branch. This build, the 28th for PCs and 19th for Mobile devices - 47 overall, puts both platforms on the same base build number which is exactly how Microsoft handled the release of their Windows 10 Anniversary Update last August. Windows Insiders received build 14393 at that time just a couple of weeks ahead of its public release so that final testing and analysis could be completed.
During the course of that two week period Microsoft moved that build from the Fast Ring out to the Slow Ring and then eventually in the Release Preview Ring while they collected telemetry on its performance. Prior to its release Microsoft did issue a Day 1 update for Insiders to test and it fixed a couple of final known issues and tweaked system performance. When the Anniversary Update was released on 02 August 2015, that same Day 1 update was then pushed out to everyone running the freshly installed Anniversary Update.
Well, I expect history to repeat itself with the Creators Update.
Barring a major blocking issue popping up as Windows Insiders install Build 15063 from the Fast Ring over the next day or so, Microsoft should move this build to Slow and then ultimately to the Release Preview Ring. A final cumulative update could be issued about 7 to 10 days before General Availability to test any required fixes prior to the public gaining access to the third feature update for Windows 10.
There is also no reason to believe that Microsoft will not roll this update out on a staggered schedule so they can monitor the upgrades along the way. This is exactly how they handled the roll outs for the Anniversary and November Updates.
Of course, just like with those updates, there will be methods to immediately upgrade a Windows 10 Anniversary Update system to the Creators Update by using the Media Creation Tool (MCT). The MCT will create media that can be used to perform an in-place upgrade or a clean install on any Windows 10 Anniversary Update system.
As I monitored social media throughout the day yesterday it was obvious the Windows Team was making a strong push to get this final build out for both PCs and Mobile devices. It is indeed rare to see a Monday build release to Windows Insiders and to see it released so late at night. The download for Build 15063 hit Windows Update at 10 PM Eastern Time (7 PM Pacific) and for many in Europe it was in the middle of the night. Of course, testers on the other side of the world received a rare daytime release of a new build.
This build has all the indicators that would point towards it being the final step in the Redstone 2 development journey.
No desktop watermark in Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063
This indicator is no longer fool proof as we had builds a couple of weeks ago that also did not have the desktop watermark and they ended up not being the final builds.
No expiration date for Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063
Here is another one we have seen in past Redstone 2 builds over these last couple of weeks that ended up being a false indicator.
Note: I honestly believe that Microsoft had every intention to make those builds from a couple of weeks ago that had no watermark or expiration the final build for the Creators Update. However, that was also around the time they had those upgrade and other issues which likely blocked those builds from their intended destiny and why the watermark and build expiration returned a couple of builds later.
Windows Insider Program Settings in Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063
One thing that has appeared in Build 15063 that we have not yet seen in the last several builds is the option to place the device in the Release Preview Ring. The normal options for Fast Ring builds that are being tested is just Fast or Slow Rings. Under normal build releases in the Fast or Slow Ring a system can be easily moved back and forth without requiring a reinstallation of the operating system. However, a move to Release Preview for those builds would almost always mean the installation of a different build to get properly synched with the Release Preview Ring so it is simply not available as a choice.
Now that the Release Preview Ring is an option in the Windows Insider settings menu in Build 15063, that would indicate there is no need for that system reset/clean install to a different build. That is normal behavior for Current Branch releases of Windows 10 feature updates and a good indicator that Microsoft intends this build to be the final.
Of course, under the premise of Windows as a Service (WaaS), Windows 10 is constantly being checked for fixes, updates, and tweaks for the standard monthly cumulative update releases so nothing is ever really final.
So just to summarize - what should we expect to see as we get closer to the General Availability of the Creators Update in the next few weeks?
1. Windows 10 Creators Update Build 15063 should move to the Slow Ring over the next few days and then to the Release Preview Ring afterwards.
2. A cumulative update will then likely be made available to address final concerns and known issues in this build so that Insiders can test it prior to availability of the feature update to all users.
3. Several inbox app updates, which have not been rolling out to Fast Ring builds over the last few weeks, should finally begin arriving on Windows Insider devices so those teams can collect telemetry and make sure everything is working as planned.
4. An official announcement from Microsoft about the availability date for the Creators Update and how they plan to conduct the roll out to Windows 10 Anniversary Update users should surface soon. Like I said earlier, it will most likely be a staged rollout so it can be monitored by the Windows Team to make sure no issues are cropping up along the way but it will be good to hear from Microsoft on the plan.
So are you ready for the Creators Update?