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Updates and Patches for Windows 10 – The Last Windows Operating System


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In previous versions of Windows, the operating system was serviced with major upgrades (such as Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1), service packs, and updates released each month on Patch Tuesday. Windows 10 leverages the “Windows as a Service” (WaaS) model by releasing two types of updates: Feature Updates, sometimes referred to as build updates, and Quality Updates.

Feature Updates are released twice each year and add/update functionality to Windows 10. Feature Updates released recently are Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, and most recently the April 2018 Update. Each build of Windows 10 has a lifecycle of roughly 1.5 years before reaching End of Service.

What this means:

  • Microsoft has begun to handle their Feature Updates exclusively.
  • IT service providers no longer have the ability to deploy updates from a management service.
  • Feature Updates will be automatically installed by Microsoft unless deferred.
    • Each Feature Update can be deferred up to 365 days, but cannot be denied. After 365 days from the release, your system will get the update.

Servicing Channels are an option

Don’t lose hope though, there are “Servicing Channels” that you can use to change how Windows 10 is deployed and patched in your environment.

  • Semi-annual Channel
    • Feature Updates are available once released by Microsoft.
    • The standard Servicing Channel can be deferred up to 365 days.
  • Long-term Servicing Channel
    • Should be used only on specialized devices. Not a recommended option for all machines in an environment.
      • POS Systems
      • Media Systems
      • Medical Equipment
    • Feature Updates are not automatically installed and are released every 2-3 years.
    • Quality Updates are still available once released to ensure security.
    • Does not include Windows 10 Integrated applications such as Edge, Microsoft Store, Cortana, etc.

Quality Updates are monthly updates that roll entire sets of updates into one. In previous versions of Windows, the number of updates each month was overwhelming, and updates could be missed, causing fragmented security on each system. With the Quality Updates, each new month’s update supersedes the previous month and includes all previous Quality Updates. This makes patching more well-rounded and simple.

The Big Picture

Windows 10 is quite different than previous versions of Windows, but Microsoft is set on ensuring security for these systems. Management of devices has been simplified by giving Microsoft more control over which version is installed and supported. Instead of releasing new versions of Windows every three to five years, Microsoft will continue improving Windows 10 with each Feature Update, changing the Operating System gradually as opposed to a sharp contrast seen in version changes such as that of Windows 7 to Windows 8.

There is no anticipated end for Windows 10. Instead of releasing major new versions like Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, Windows 10 is just supposed to continually change. If you need assistance with managing updates for Windows in your organization, contact the professionals at Yeo & Yeo Technology.


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