Ahhhhh…. Fall, where the leaves change color and Microsoft releases a new/updated version of Windows 10. The release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is looming, how is your Windows 10 migration going? Still trying to get your head around all these terms – Windows Insider Program, Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, Long-Term Servicing Branch and now Semi-Annual Channel. Oh, and let’s not forget updates and rings!? Remember the good old days of Windows 7 where all we had to worry about was patching and service packs. No wonder Enterprises are dragging their feet adopting Windows 10. Back when I was at RES (now Ivanti), I wrote a blog called “Branched Gone Wild”. Let’s revisit this topic and see where Windows 10 stands since last December.
The biggest change since last December is all the confusion and frustration around Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB). Now Microsoft calls this Semi-Annual Channel but if you read closer, the will still have CB and CBB… just “Targeted” versus not. That said there will NO LONGER be two releases, but rather guidance around how to update within the enterprise. I will explore more later.
The next change is rather simple… Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) will now be known as the Long-Term Servicing Channel. The stance is still the same… “Long-term Servicing channel is not intended for deployment on most or all the PCs in an organization; it should be used only for special-purpose devices. As a general guideline, a PC with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the Semi-Annual servicing channel.” (Source: http://bit.ly/2zc1SMQ)
It is sad I must define how to deploy Windows, so I will spin the definitions into more tangible concepts.
Running around with your hair on fire yet? Let’s simplify the deployment of a “Feature Update” and bring it down to a straightforward guide.
The reality is, two Feature Updates per year is unrealistic for enterprise organizations. A little secret… you can skip a release. Microsoft has pushed that each release will have an 18-month lifecycle but, they tend to throw on a grace period at the end. The reality… Software releases are not perfect and there will be delays! The other reality… It is unrealistic for larger enterprises to upgrade every 18 months and hopefully Microsoft will recognize that. Here is where we stand to date with present and future releases:
Windows 10 Initial Release 1507 RTM (OS Build: 10240.17236)
Windows 10 November Update 1511 (OS Build: 10586.753)
Windows 10 Anniversary Update 1607 (OS Build: 14393.693)
Windows 10 Creators Update 1703 (OS Build: 15063.138)
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Coming Any Day)
Expected Windows 10 “Redstone 4” Update
* This assumption assumes Microsoft is following their own initial rules for Windows Branching.
** This assumes Microsoft is following their new, simplified release cadence.
There is A LOT here and frankly, I could write a dissertation on this topic, but will spare you all and break into meaningful chunks. With the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update expected on October 17, 2017, I will write about ways to ease the pain by leveraging the many partners XenTegra works with as well as offer up insight on how to tackle the update. Parallel, I will offer up ideas on how to plan for Windows 10 if you have been waiting to upgrade, because let’s face it, time to start planning! Windows 10 is a massive shift, but once a strategy is put into place, it is not so bad! Let me help you and we will get through at least until 2020!