This communication serves as a notification of the upcoming Windows Release, named “Windows October 2021 Refresh” (for clarity, this is referencing the Windows October 2021 Release LCU Refresh planned for Fall 2021), and the Market Development Agreement (MDA) Windows Release Testing requirement details associated with its release.
MDA testing for Windows October 2021 Refresh is required testing to meet the milestone requirement.
Per the MDA Program Letter, Microsoft will provide notification that a Windows Release is forthcoming and requires testing. This communication is to serve as a notification.
Windows Release Testing Timeline
The MDA Windows Release Testing window for Windows October 2021 Refresh will take place between June 28, 2021 and August 20, 2021. Any new build posted to EEAP or WIP at that time will be acceptable to start testing.
Windows Release Test Guidance Document
The Windows October 2021 Release Test Guidance document, which contains the testing details such as the reporting template, bug template, and test cases, can be found on Collaborate June 24, 2021 for review.
Windows Release Testing Requirement
Under the MDA Windows Release Testing requirement, partners are required to test Windows devices distributed two years prior to the latest Windows release to manufacturing (RTM) date to ensure compatibility of Windows devices with the latest Windows Release.
For this test cycle, please focus on testing devices that have been identified as meeting the minimum hardware requirements to support the new Windows October 2021 Refresh OS, and that have been identified by you as Priority Equipment Upgrade (PEU) devices.
In summary, the testing requirements include:
- Making commercially reasonable efforts to test distributed Windows devices, dating back two years prior to the latest Windows RTM date, to ensure the devices will support the latest Windows Release. This includes devices under development that will be released or are planned to be released to the general public.
- Ensuring that the Commercial ID supplied by Microsoft has been entered into the device Registry.
- Updating the status of the tested devices by submitting your test report to the MDA Help alias at least one time a week during the testing period, until the testing of the tested devices is completed.
- Filing a bug for each issue that is found during testing, and the identified bugs are to be fixed in a mutually agreed upon manner prior to Windows Release RTM (release to manufacturing). This includes bugs found by Independent Hardware Vendors(IHVs).
- Submitting your final test results for each device that has been tested to Microsoft using the template supplied in the Windows Release Testing Guidance document to the MDA Help alias no later than August 27, 2021.
Windows Release Testing Scope
For the Windows October 2021 Refresh, there are two testing paths you will be testing: Upgrade and Update.
The Upgrade testing is testing Windows 10 to the Windows October 2021 Refresh. The Update testing is then testing updating from the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM to the Windows October 2021 LCU Refresh September RTM.
There are three scenarios that a device can align to. These are listed below with guidance for each scenario.
- Models shipping with the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM preinstalled.
- Start with the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM image installed.
- Test the update from the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM to the Windows October 2021 LCU Refresh.
- Models shipped with Windows 10 20H2 or later preinstalled. These Devices must meet the minimum hardware requirements for the Windows October 2021 Release. It is suggested that you concentrate on devices on your PEU list first.
- Start with the Windows 10 20H2 or Windows 10 21H1 image installed.
- Apply all updates from Windows Update.
- Test the upgrade of the customer system with Windows 10 20H2 or Windows 10 21H1 installed to the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM, and then test the update from the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM to the Windows October 2021 LCU Refresh.
- Models shipped with any Windows releases prior to Windows 10 20H2 preinstalled. These Devices must meet the minimum hardware requirements for the Windows October 2021 Release. It is suggested that you concentrate on devices on your PEU list first.
- Start with the respective Windows release which is preinstalled.
- Apply all updates from Windows Update (updates will include Windows 10 20H2).
- Test the upgrade of the customer system with Windows 10 20H2 installed to the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM, and then test the update from the Windows October 2021 Release June RTM to the Windows October 2021 LCU Refresh.
Windows Release Testing Test Builds
Accessing test builds of Windows October 2021 Release can occur in two ways:
- Partners who take part in the Enterprise Early Access Program (EEAP) can get access through that program.
- All OEM partners may get access through the Windows Insider Program (WIP).
- Partners are to move to and utilize the latest build immediately upon its release through EEAP or WIP, to ensure the latest build is used to complete testing.
- Testing should be performed against a build that is no later than a week old as that latest build will contain bug fixes.
Microsoft Partner Center and Microsoft Collaborate Onboarding
To meet the Windows Release Testing requirement under MDA, it is necessary to create a Microsoft Partner Center account. It is also necessary to have access to Microsoft Collaborate tab on the Microsoft Partner Center. Microsoft Collaborate allows you to download builds, specs, documents, and other information, as well as submit bugs during testing.
- Microsoft Partner Center: If you do not already have access, follow the instructions Create a Partner Center account to create your account. When you have created your Microsoft Partner Center account, request access to the Hardware tab by contacting your Account Manager for details.
- Microsoft Collaborate: To onboard and get access to the Microsoft Partner Center Collaborate tab, follow the Microsoft Collaborate Onboarding Instructions. This will register the Microsoft Partner Center account you created above, with Microsoft Collaborate.
Best practice and added guidance
- You are advised to begin testing and filing bugs early in the testing period. You do not need to wait for the start of the official MDA testing timeline.
- Please concentrate your testing on PEU devices early in the test cycle.
- You are to enter bugs, especially those related to IHV issues, immediately when they are found and not wait until the end of the testing window.
- You should prioritize by testing devices with Windows October 2021 Release preinstalled, followed by newer devices (e.g. released in 2021) Windows 10 20H2 or Windows 10 21H1, followed by the rest of the devices preinstalled with Windows 10 19H2 and Windows 10 20H1.
- You are advised to prioritize testing on high-volume and high-risk PCs, including systems with minimal storage as well as systems with custom hardware.
- In the bug filing process, you should include details on whether the issue happens prior to upgrade or when the device runs the previous operating system, to ensure the accuracy of the bug statement and to ensure the issue is indeed an upgrade related incident.
- You are to attach log files generated by Feedback Hub Advance Diagnostics to each bug and accurately describe each bug.
- When reporting, you are to list any firmware or non-Microsoft drivers that caused the Windows Release to fail.
- You should fix identified drivers or application issues prior to Windows October 2021 Release being made available to the general public.