Welcome to Windows 10

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Welcome to Windows 10: Software updates

Source:  Fotolia/Rob Hyrons

Among the biggest changes Microsoft has made in Windows 10 is continuous updates to the OS code, mirroring the update that users of iOS and Android devices are accustomed to. But this approach may well cause IT departments plenty of headaches if they are not ready to rollout the updates.

As a result Microsoft has introduced what is called Long Term Service Branch, which is similar to the situation IT administrators have today with Patch Tuesday. In other words, Microsoft will only issue security patches in this branch

In a blog post, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said the company's long term service branch was not ideal in the fast-paced world of tablet computing, where devices are refreshed regularly.  "People at work expect the same Windows innovations which are being delivered to their Windows consumer devices. We have been working with IT professionals all over the world to design new capabilities in Windows Update, designed for end-user devices within businesses."

Meyerson said Windows 10 Update for Business offers

  • Distribution rings, where the IT Pro can specify which devices go first in an update wave, and which ones will come later (to ensure any quality kinks are worked out).
    Maintenance windows, where the IT Pro can specify the critical timeframes when updates should and should not occur.
  • Peer to peer delivery, which IT can enable to make delivery of updates to branch offices and remote sites with limited bandwidth very efficient.
  • Integration with your existing tools like System Center and the Enterprise Mobility Suite – so that these tools can continue to be that ‘single pane of glass’ for all of your systems management.

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This story seems to directly contradict the other story, “Welecome to Windows 10: The verdict.” In that one it says that “the idea of large-scale desktop deployments may be a thing of the past once IT trusts users to update desktop software themselves.” Am I missing something?
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I think to make the most of Windows 10, businesses will need to update desktops & mobiles then figure out how much freedom to give users, in terms of the ability to manage software themselves - like they do on iOS and Android. That way end users can rely on Windows Update to get the latest features. If IT chooses to keep control of desktop IT, then rollouts will be controlled (this is the Long Term service branch and only issues patches). Microsoft Update for Business appears to be the compromise - balancing the needs of the user for new functionality with the ability for IT to control when updates are issued.
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