Though on a slow boil since Microsoft first began announcing the changes to updating Windows 10, there's clearly some great thinking going on in this regard.
Two items we've found to be of great value in our first few weeks of Windows 10 are:
- Cumulative Update Rollups
Like many of their Server products, Microsoft is now rolling all of the Windows 10 Updates into single packages that replace the previous, and are also smart packages that only download what's new and changed to an individual system. Plus, unlike older Windows releases that always promised to (but never really did) update during the Setup phase, this time it really does seem to work!
What's wonderful about both of these changes is you don't finish installing a brand new copy of the OS only to sit fore 6 hours longer installing hundreds and hundreds of updates. At most it's a few and a single reboot. For almost all consumers and small business this is a huge win!
- Smart Updater
Unlike Windows XP, Vista or 7 which obsessively nagged with popups and prompts, or Windows 8 that didn't seem to tell you much of anything then would jarringly slap a full screen notification or do weird things with "Maintenance Cycles" that nobody understood, Windows 10 finally seems to have an updating system with some smarts.
The OS will quietly do its thing with updates in the background, then throw an alert in the notification center that it needs a reboot. You can go schedule a new time and - get this - if you're actually busy working away when the scheduled reboot time comes, it knows you're in the middle of work and just shuts up and goes away. It doesn't just mindlessly start rebooting! Genius.
It appears the system looks for interactive input on the machine, and silently reschedules in the background for later in the middle of the night. Good stuff!
Coming soon are a lot more changes as part of the Threshold 2 release (i.e. the real version of Windows 10) including the various Servicing Branches: Current Branch (CB), Current Branch for Business (CBB), and Long Term Service Branch (LTSB). Plus, the related back-end service Windows Update for Business. We can't wait!
We did, however, find it difficult to find documentation on the branches and what options and features comprise each. The best information we've found is on a Betanews page linked here. It includes information on what is forced by default, what can be delayed, what components and apps are included by default, the delivery options (i.e. WSUS, WUB, SCCM, etc.), and how long the various updates can be pushed back before the system mus be brought up to a certain build. The article includes a great Infographic from a company called Adaptiva which we've included below, as well.
What does seem consistent across the board is that for all branches except LTSB, security/critical updates will be pushed immediately - direct to the OS via WU/WUB or to WSUS/SCCM - regardless of the chosen options for "deferring upgrades" in Settings. So it should be relatively easy to stay secure, but test new features on a more leisurely schedule. (i.e. wait for others to have problems.)
Microsoft really would do well to talk and document more about this soon. Momentum is building, and some information would go a long way to inspiring confidence in this new system.