Microsoft surprised everyone late last night with the release of Windows 10 Build 16294 for Redstone 3, aka the Fall Creators Update, in order to remedy a significant bug on the companies Surface Pro 3 devices.
This build is the 21st overall public Fast Ring build since Microsoft began testing Redstone 3 in April of this year.
This corrupted boot issue for users on Surface Pro 3 cropped up shortly after Build 16288 was released to the Fast and Slow rings last week. A workaround for this bug was provided by the Windows Insider team when they released Build 16291 earlier this week. That build still had the bug in it but Microsoft confirmed that the fix was already in the pipeline in subsequent builds starting with 16294 and beyond.
I wrote yesterday that the next build to most likely come from Redmond for Redstone 3 would be at least 16294 because otherwise testers would have to perform the workaround for the corrupted boot on Surface Pro 3 multiple times. I suspect that was the last thing Microsoft wanted to ask Insiders to do at this point.
So in order to reduce the need for applying that work around multiple times, Windows Insiders on Surface Pro 3 and running build 16288 or 16291 would only have to do the work twice to get build 16294 containing the fix. So seeing this build was released late Thursday night here on the East coast confirmed the companies desire to get the remedy out there and in the hands of testers.
I would not be surprised to see build 16294 quickly head to the Slow Ring within a few days just like 16288 did last week. We are square in the middle of the final days for development of the Fall Creators Update and Microsoft will most certainly want that broader base of telemetry from Slow Ring testers to validate this builds readiness for release.
Beginning with build 16288, Microsoft has removed the desktop watermark indicating these are pre-release versions of Windows, they renamed it to Windows 10 Version 1709 to indicate the release is in September 2017, the name of the OS now reads Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home instead of adding the phrase Insider Preview to it, and there is no longer an expiration date for these builds.
These are all the right signs showing that we are indeed very close to the final build that will ultimately become the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update which is scheduled for a global release on 17 October 2017.