A recent partner presentation by Helen Harmetz, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, gives us a few more details about what to expect for how Windows 10 updates will work for Enterprises.

You can view the presentation in its entirety here…

Here's some highlights:

The changes in Windows 10 updates are intended to fix customer pain points such as app breakage, needing additional time for customers and vendors to test, providing better notification plans, and solving complex and expensive deployments.

Windows 10 will try to strike the right balance between control and agility, i.e., between management and new features.

The Windows 10 free upgrade is focused on consumer devices. The update cadence is intended to help defragment the Windows ecosystem. These updates will come a "few times a year" and will drive a new active-listening base to allow Microsoft to provide fast fixes to reported problems.

Path to Enterprise: 

  1. Microsoft builds the OS update.

  2. Goes through internal validation (dog-fooding).

  3. Then gets limited external flights.

  4. …followed by broad external flights.

  5. After the next phase, the Current Branch (consumers), Microsoft will declare the update as ready for business after fixing consumer woes. Consumers will play the part of ultimate guinea pig.

  6. Once its declared business ready, the updates can be deployed using CBB or LTSB.

Enterprises can choose CBB or LTSB. Microsoft's hope is that business customers will choose CBB instead of LTSB, allowing them to keep up-to-date on new features as well as security. LTSB is considered similar to a Windows 7 SP1 upgrade experience in that it is a major in-place upgrade to go from one LTSB to the next. All the updated bits will be supplied in each LTSB so businesses can even choose to skip an update.

The Windows Insider program will still exist as the Windows Insider Preview Branch. By joining this program Enterprise customers will have the opportunity to preview upcoming and features and influence product development.

IMPORTANT: Those that choose to use CBB will have roughly 8 months to deploy it after Microsoft declares the update as business ready. If the business cannot deploy it within the allotted timeframe the company won't be able to move to the next update. The update needs to be consume in the allotted time or businesses won't be able to consume or see the next available update, and will have to switch to LTSB and perform an in-place upgrade instead.

Microsoft wants companies to consider putting only some of their devices on the LTSB. LTSB should be chosen for mission critical systems. Ptu another way, only for niche scenarios.

The hardware requirements are unchanged for Windows 10 and are based on the same requirements for Windows 7. For application compatibility Microsoft will ensure that Windows Store apps will be certified compatible – all others is a best guess.

Internet Explorer investments for enterprises still ongoing, but nothing more was detailed. We know that Edge won't be available for Enterprises, but it's possible that appropriate Edge features will make their way into IE.

Microsoft will provide the following Enterprise deployment options for Windows 10:

  • Wipe-and-load

  • In-place upgrades for Windows 7/Windows 8/8.1.

The different updating models are provided to give business customers a choice and to improve the updating experience based on differing requirements per business units. Businesses should start now to profile users and devices and place them into different updating groups of servicing needs.