back to article Microsoft: Get in, IT nerds, you're now using Insider builds and twice-annual Windows rollouts

Living up to its Windows-as-a-service promise, Microsoft has laid out the schedule it will use to roll out Windows 10 and Office 365 updates in future. The Redmond giant says that from now on, Windows and Office for desktop and notebook PCs will get roughly two updates a year that add features and fix bugs. Meanwhile, embedded …

  1. EL Vark
    IT Angle

    Acme of Perfection

    Wellsir, I'm just a lowly private user not attached to any Enterprise conflagration (I think I'm using that right... yes, definitely "conflagration"), but it's mighty satisfying to know that Redmond have my back in addition to my balls. And my money.

    Right this minute the Update system is hung trying to download a "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703", which is #terriblysad as I'm running version 1607. Perhaps it's a "feature" that will remove winver so that I'll no longer be able to easily determine my version number.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Acme of Perfection

      I doubt Windows update is hung, it's just not written to run in a timely manner any more. As no one seems to schedule the updates to run at a quiet time I guess they've decided to make it effectively a background task. It's not like speed of updates is a concern for your average user, they usually just see the "I need to reboot" message at the "end" of the process.

      I think it's best to stop watching it and just leave it for a couple of hours. In my experience it gets there in the end.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Acme of Perfection

        "As no one seems to schedule the updates to run at a quiet time I guess they've decided to make it effectively a background task. It's not like speed of updates is a concern for your average user"

        It is for _THIS_ user. I watched, as multiple parallel downloads effectively nuked my bandwidth during their all-important update download, and ate my bandwidth for HOURS. And I was only TESTING Win-10-nic. But, I refuse to use it, _ALSO_ because of CRAP like THAT.

        (the short explanation is that a single TCP stream will share bandwidth with other TCP streams. but if you create 20 TCP streams simultaneously, and max out bandwidth on all 20 of them, when #21 comes along (i.e. you're watching a video or listening to streaming radio), it's effectively DOS'd by that all-important goddammit you MUST get this done IMMEDIATELY (because, Microshaft) update download! And on my necessarily pathetic connection, it takes *HOURS*)

        a) someone at Micro-shitaft must own stock in a telcom or something that gets a percentage of the revenue whenever ginormous amounts of traffic go across "teh intarwebs" from those updates...

        b) Micro-shaft doesn't give a rat's backside about what their "bandwidth theft" does to customers, from not being able to stream live radio/video to effectively being DDoS'd (and that includes ISPs with the torrent-like "sharing" of bandwidth that exempts MICRO-SHAFT from having to serve it up, basically burdening EVERYONE ELSE with it)

        c) Even though they say " Windows and Office for desktop and notebook PCs will get roughly two updates a year that add features and fix bugs" it's really "TAKE AWAY features that you want, cram a bunch of 'new, shiny' up your ass down your throat, and trade in 1 old bug for 3 NEW ONES"

        And to think the chaos that one 'windows update' cycle can cause! And has done. On several occasions.

    2. psychonaut

      Re: Acme of Perfection

      "Right this minute the Update system is hung trying to download a "Feature update to Windows 10, version 1703","

      yup, im seeing this on many customer machines...(the ones who didnt listen to me about staying on 7 and dont go anywhere near win 10 or new customers who have win 10) you are not alone. got 2 here right now.

      had to rebuild one of them as it completely fucks the machine when it is just tryiong to download it. 100% disk usage, 100% cpu usage..cant do anything on the machine unless you want to wait for 20 minutes while it thinks about it. this isnt even installing it, its just trying to assess the machine to download it.

      crazy shit man...

  2. Carl D

    No thanks. Keep your Windows 10, MS.

    I'll just keep using my Windows 7 which runs perfectly on my new Kaby Lake system which I built a month ago - including all of the motherboard chipset drivers, etc, which allegedly were only available on the supplied Gigabyte MB driver disc for 6th but not 7th generation processors like Kaby Lake.

    Oh, I also have all of the Windows Updates installed despite MS's ham fisted attempt back in April to block them for 7th generation processors (still waiting for the lawsuits to happen over that - I won't hold my breath though).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Heh, I'm still on Vista from 2008!

      Security updates be damned.

      Sooner or later, however, once the hardware gives up its ghost I shall have to upgrade to Win 10. Win 10 needs to be tamed and shackled greatly before it can be used.

      Microsoft, if we need new 'features' we would have bought a newer edition of Windows after Win 10... ah, but that's too hard work You just had to shove everything down the users' throats, eh? You think you're so clever with Paint 3D and the Skype 'revamp' eh?

      Honestly, I wouldn't mind if Microsoft adopts Apple's OSX upgrade model. You pay a nominal sum to upgrade to the latest version of OSX, but you still keep getting security updates for your existing older version of OSX.

      But I guess SatNad's coterie of bean counters at Redmond have convinced him that the WaaS model is the best way to roll in the cash.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Heh, I'm still on Vista from 2008!

        You pay a nominal sum to upgrade to the latest version of OSX

        Where "a nominal sum" == £0.00 ?

        (Upgrades between version have been free for quite a while).

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      I'll just keep using my Windows 7 which runs perfectly

      You seem to have mis-spelt "FreeBSD"..

  3. Sandtitz Silver badge

    ...

    If the updates were called Service Packs, there wouldn't be so much furor from both side of the aisle, even though the situation has turned to worse with Win10.

    With each earlier Windows version you needed to install the Service Packs to receive support and updates. Windows 7 RTM lost support two years after SP1 was released and while there undoubtedly have always been cases where Service Packs broke something in some specific system configuration or the applications needed updates to continue working - every operating system got better over time. This has been the case with Windows 10 as well - the updates have broken things but the OS has gotten better. (and in some cases also worse)

    It's just the 18 month update policy that needs extra effort from the IT to handle these major updates. MS wants companies to pony up for the enterprise agreements and the LTSB versions with 10-year support.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows As A Service... Official ???

      Probably a subscription for some of the pro/enterprise/virtualization features, but 'free' to use for everyone else (cost of Windows factored into device purchase cost).

      Besides subscriptions (Azure, OneDrive and Office 365), SatNad's main revenue stream these days comes from data mining everyone and selling advertising. Usually, it's less data mining and more of a case of users foolishly letting Cortana 'learn more about you', using the Windows Store and linking all your social media accounts through Microsoft.

      Oh, and Linkedin has been acquired by Microsoft. Joy.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Windows As A Service... Official ???

      "Are Microsoft psychologically preparing people to pay for Windows with a subscription in the future ?"

      Reading THOSE tea leaves has been OBVIOUS for a VERY long time...

      The answer is: YES. They want a TOLLBOOTH. And on the low end, it will be PAID FOR with ADS. f they must boil us slowly like the proverbial "frog soup" then THAT is what they will do. It's how they see US, not as CUSTOMERS, but as MINIONS.

      /me recalls the movie Idiocracy, where "the Lawyer's" giant screen TV screen is 3/4 covered with ads, and only the middle 25% has the actual content you want in it. And he's watching the #1 rated show, "Ow, My Balls!"

  5. JustWondering
    Thumb Down

    Right!

    What if I don't trust the clowns in Redmond any more than the "Microsoft division" in Bangalore that phones me, wanting to help me?

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What if I don't trust the clowns in Redmond

      Use Linux? Buy a Mac? Run Android on a tablet with a keyboard? Bitch on a tech forum so you get lots of helpful suggestions?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right!

      It's not bitching, that comment has quite a clever underlying statement regards Microsoft. People don't forget what MS did regards the "Get Windows 10" campaign, in terms of borking Win7 Updates/forcing Win 10 installs, via the back door. If you kill "Trust", you ultimately, kill your product.

      Be careful, if you try to prevent criticism of Microsoft by shooting the messenger, you're going to end up with an even shittier product than "Windows 10 as a Service", already is. Windows Update/Software as a Service (regards 10) is still a clunky bag of nails, make no mistake, seamless it ain't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right!

        What we need is a competent rival to Windows that runs win32 apps flawlessly. It could be ReactOS, it could be something else.

        As what DOSBox was for DOS, so shall that ReactOS thing be for Windows, minus all that crud introduced since Sinofsky's Win8 and SatNad's Win10.

        Make no mistake about it, Windows or the Windows ecosystem will become more and more like a walled garden.In future, you probably can't install anything without going through the Windows Store.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Right!

          "What we need is a competent rival to Windows that runs win32 apps flawlessly. It could be ReactOS, it could be something else."

          As much as I'd love to make THAT happen, using Linux (or FreeBSD) and WINE (if possible), the #1 disadvantage it would have is NOT the quality of the OS, the compatibility of the win32 API, nor people's willingness to "re-learn LESS and Go Linux" to switch to it [over what happened with "Ape" and Win-10-nic].

          The problem is *MARKETING*. This is THE MOST EXPENSIVE PART, and Micro-shitshaft has (unfortunately) NAILED THIS for 3 DECADES since the inception of Windows 1.01 in 1985.

          For this, I'd need a BEELION dollars. At least. And no hope for return on investment for at LEAST a decade. But, it would be FUN, wouldn't it?

          Now, if we could convince Intel and AMD and Dell and HP and Lenovo and others that THEIR SALES REVENUE could be greatly IMPROVED by this, I think they'd be on board. So THAT might get the necessary BEELION dollars going. But yeah. That's what it would take.

          [and I'd *LOVE* to do it!]

          /me waves the Jolly Roger, being the 'privateer' type

  6. gerdesj Silver badge

    Bollocks to that

    I have a fully documented build of Arch Linux for my workstation. It is AD joined and is finally, fully feature complete compared to all Windows workstations in my company. I have taken all requirements and met them via a VM running on my PC and then moved the config over to the parent PC and tested, tested, tweaked etc. When I say my company, it is actually mine - I'm the MD. It will take me something like another five years to transition everyone over, away from Windows but I am very, very patient.

    Why Arch? - simple: it is clean and as close to the source as you can get and a rolling distro so never has that nasty major upgrade thing. I'm a fan of Gentoo but that takes nearly as long as Windows updates, so not good for general office use. My laptop runs Gentoo and keeps my lap warm.

    1. fnusnu

      Re: Bollocks to that

      So it runs Office 2016? Impressive...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bollocks to that

        Who said anything about Office? You simply don't need Office to run a business.

      2. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks to that

        "So it runs Office 2016? Impressive..."

        I don't do regressions

  7. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Has my browser broken?

    What's with all the wasted space to the left of the main stories?

    Is it a nod to the sad farewell of windows mobile? OK, just for its remaining user:

    There is a lo

    making it har

    can't see the

    width of the

    poor layout

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Has my browser broken?

      If you had discovered any wonderful mathematical proofs you could write them in the margin

      1. Tim 11

        Re: Has my browser broken?

        If you weren't using an ad blocker, you'd probably find that the narrow column of text is all that's left after the rest of the screen is full of adverts (I don't know for sure though, and there's no way I'm turning my ad blocker off to find out)

        1. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: Has my browser broken?

          Yes that's the case. I reinstalled recently and nearly choked on my tea when I saw the state of this site without an ad blocker (having forgotten to install it). Amazingly the other sites I visited looked much the same so it might just be the Reg left with such shitty adverts - perhaps as a reminder to switch on the ad blocker. I can't imagine anyone with an IQ over 4 would think people will use the site in that state.

          Sorry Reg - I know you need to make money, and I'd love to help you do that, but you'll get no revenue from me that way!

    2. gryff

      Re: Has my browser broken?

      >Is it a nod to the sad farewell of windows mobile? OK, just for its remaining user:

      > There is a lo

      > making it har

      > can't see the

      > width of the

      > poor layout

      anks!

      uch app

      iated

  8. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    What's the problem?

    Just installed the Redstone 4 insider build that'll be released next Spring. It's not difficult to do any testing well before the s/w hits desktops.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What's the problem?

      "before the s/w hits desktops."

      Typo?

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: What's the problem?

      "It's not difficult to do any testing well before the s/w hits desktops."

      Still with the bugs the testing flags up...

  9. really_adf

    From the article: Microsoft said that every twice-a-year release will get 18 months of support, dubbed the Semi-Annual Channel, meaning you should plan to update at least once every couple of years if you want to maintain support.

    Unless I've missed something, no, it means you have up to six months from release to reach full deployment, and an annual upgrade.

    March - release 1, earliest point you can begin testing

    September - full deployment of release 1

    March - release 3

    September - release 1 support ends, but you've just deployed release 3, phew!

    etc

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 is the new

    Involuntary Suppository.

    M$: pushing shit backwards since Time Immemorial.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Windows 10 is the new

      users: Oi! Stop pushing Win10 down our throats!!

      MS: Er, OK then. bend over...

    2. wallaby

      Re: Windows 10 is the new

      And the M$'s start........................ YAWN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Play nice, my 4 year old does

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Windows 10 is the new

        "Play nice, my 4 year old does."

        Because he has Windows to play on?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 10 is the new

          "Because he has Windows to play on?"

          No SHE plays with Linux, mind you she's also happy to play with an empty cardboard box.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Windows 10 is the new

            "No SHE plays with Linux,"

            Oops, sorry for the missing 's', using a Microsoft keyboard...

  11. Novex

    Still not 'buying' it

    I have a new laptop coming with Windows 10 on the HDD. The HDD will be cloned to a 'backup' file (using Acronis) and that file buried deep within my file store. Then the HDD will be wiped for other use.

    Then I will fit a replacement SSD which will have Linux Mint installed on it. From there, I'll install Win 7 in a VM so I can do the few software things I need to that Linux can't handle.

    Win 10 won't even figure, because I cannot trust Microsoft won't grab data from me they simply shouldn't (confidential documents, passwords, etc), even on their 'basic' privacy setting. Also, with the forced updates there is too much risk of destabilizing the PC and leaving me without an essential work tool. OK, those updates don't have to be installed straight away, but even after 18 months there remains the possibility that components of the OS could be removed that I use (Paint, anyone?)

    So even with all my reservations about the Linux having too much reliance on CLI, I'd rather tackle that fight than the whack-a-mole with Win 10's lack of privacy and unpredictable results of the updating.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Still not 'buying' it

      "I have a new laptop coming with Windows 10 on the HDD."

      PC Specialist will sell you a laptop without Windows of any variety.

    2. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Still not 'buying' it

      I just did precisely the same thing on a new Acer Aspire...and it's working pretty much perfectly, other than the odd systemD screwup. Happy camper here. I don't see *reliance* on CLI in Mate 18.2, but it's nice to have once you are adept with it - it's faster than clicky for a lot of things. I did edit a couple of config files to my liking, but that's not CLI, that's just editing text. Might as well actually use all those buttons in front of you once in awhile...

  12. MrDamage

    FTFY

    > "Sysadmins who have only just upgraded from Windows 7, there's a brown paper bag on your doorstep that's just been set alight."

  13. Digitall
    Big Brother

    Windows, what a pane!

    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-info.aspx

    Windows 7 and 8.1 are keepers

  14. John Crisp

    Did we mention...

    we are updating your machine this morning and you have no chance of doing anyway work until it is finished. Which is probably lunchtime.

    Please send the bill for your lost time to someone who actually gives a fcuk. Because we don't.

    Love, M$

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Did we mention...

      yup. its killing the machine before it even finishes downloading it. win 10 upgrade assistant and windows update consuming entire machines resources on several i have here in the lab. crazy shit man....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did we mention...

      Funny,

      my RPi running Linux, and my Linux mint box wont do anything until they have updated either.... whats that you say - switch auto updates off - Good idea.

      Oh wait - you didn't say that re Microsoft did you

      My bad.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Did we mention...

        "my RPi running Linux, and my Linux mint box wont do anything until they have updated either.... "

        Lies. Stick to Windows... you can't work a Pi...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did we mention...

          "Lies. Stick to Windows... you can't work a Pi..."

          Call me any things never a liar

          I've run Linux systems for years and have developed industrial applications for the RPi.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Did we mention...

            You are any things, but no Linux user.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Did we mention...

          My RPis either run with FreeBSD or I'd shut off "auto update" (it doesn't appear to be enabled in the Raspbian that's based on Debian Wheezy). If I want to update, there's the apt package utilities and a command line. And ONLY if _I_ want it, at a time chosen by _ME_.

          So, just don't use a Raspbian version with either systemd or auto update running, and you'll be fine. the one based on Debian Wheezy still works, and it's only a couple of years old... [and apparently still being maintained/updated]

          https://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian/images/raspbian-2015-05-07/

          apparently THIS guy has a version that he ran the updates on, and he says it boots ok on an RPi 3

          https://sourceforge.net/projects/raspbian-wheezy-pi/

          You're welcome

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Did we mention...

            I turned off updates for the Pi, just the same as someone using Windows can - So to whinge about Windows updating when its not convenient is the same as if I whinged about my Linux based kit doing the same and chose to do nothing about it - i.e. My own fault.

  15. Lusty Silver badge

    Not all bad

    Assuming the upgrades work (and they usually don't bork a machine these days) I think this is a good thing from the perspective that it forces normalisation of upgrading. This means admins will practice, finally implement proper automation, and stop falling behind. It also means the boss will have to listen.

    Yes, it's a pain. But if you concentrate on the good aspects of this it's not quite as bad as it looks on first sight.

  16. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Did anyone else read that line as:

    The Redmond giant says that from now on, Windows and Office for desktop and notebook PCs will get roughly two updates a year that add features and bugs.

    Because I did.

    2 years on and it's still a hodgepodge.

    Control panel and the new settings menus? still? And I've been hearing complaints about Windows Update installing bad video drivers again this week.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Did anyone else read that line as:

      yeah that and the shite user account page that does different things depending on what day it is. add password to account. sometimes its there, sometimes it isnt, thats just in the old style one.

      i use net user now cos its so much fucking quicker

      cant send shortcuts to the desktop from the programs list....aargh ffs!!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Did anyone else read that line as:

      No, I was too busy wondering where "rough" should really have been placed.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why?

    And why does it always do a massive update, with 'do not turn off' warning, just as you're rushing for the door?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Because you have updates turned on - funny that

  18. FatGerman

    Small Typo

    Windows and Office for desktop and notebook PCs will get roughly two updates a year that add features and fix bugs.

    TFTFY.

  19. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh god.

    So I do most of my own project work on the train on the way to/from work. And there is nothing worse than powering up my laptop only to be confronted with "Installing updates - do not turn off your computer".

    Will it finish the job in time, or am I going to have to fight my way through the crowds at Baker Street with an open laptop?

    Common sense would dictate that when an update downloads, it detects whether or not the device it's on can run on batteries and if so, allow an option to install - ideally warning if a restart is required. But oh no, not Microsoft...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Oh god.

      Common sense would dictate that when an update downloads, it detects whether or not the device it's on can run on batteries asks for permission to apply the updates.

  20. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    Welcome to the 2000's IT people. Software developers like me have had to get used to continuous delivery already, at my company we put out releases every 2 months (and bug fixes as necessary). Keeping the same OS for 5+ years may have been ok in the 1980s, but in today's always-connected world people demand constant updates.

    Now for old guard whinging:

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      @Jonathan 27

      Back in the '80s when we first used RCS I checked after a few months & discovered we'd been releasing changes on average of every 2 weeks for our in-house application system so I'm not impressed by your idea of every 2 months as continuous release*. This was for adding functionality for business reasons (mostly requests from the beancounters which was handy because it kept them from complaining that we were a cost centre). OTOH we did expect a much slower rate of churn on the underlying platform, OS & RDBMS.

      *We also had the same team as developers, DBAdmin & Unix Admin so I'm not impressed with the idea of DevOps as the latest shiny. Everything old is new again.

  21. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "two updates a year that add features and fix bugs"

    I originally read that as "two updates a year that fix features and add bugs".

    I suspect I've been doing support for too long and have got all twisted, jaded and cynical.

    Either that or I've just woken up to reality.

  22. Lion

    Shifting sands

    The OS usage number currently sits at 15 billion Windows PCs world wide. It is estimated that 26% (+,- 1%) of that number is Windows 10 (Jun 2017). Of those most are consumers.

    Large corporations will have W10 PCs installed in pilot mode right now but the bulk of the organization will still be on W7 through to the end of 2019. IT worth it's salt never expects Utopia when it comes to migrations of this magnitude. The legacy applications will have to work well on the new hardware and W10. It is likely that they will have to build and test some application tweaks and hopefully not have any major rewrites. Even tweaks are going to be difficult on a base that resets itself every six months. Feature updates every 18 months will add more complexity and instability to the migration effort, not to mention what it will have on a full production environment. Shifting sands below the foundations make for shaky buildings.

    The brown bags had better be the size of the ones they use in supermarkets. First to heavily breath into and then to place over one's head.

  23. stephanh Silver badge
    Windows

    a simple solution?

    "The two-to-three-year updates for embedded and specialized versions of Windows, meanwhile, will be given 10 years of support, dubbed the Long-Term Servicing Channel."

    Well, I'll be taking one of those "specialized" versions then, please.

    https://www.howtogeek.com/273824/windows-10-without-the-cruft-windows-10-ltsb-explained/

    1. psychonaut

      Re: a simple solution?

      stephanh - this is gold dust mate, that is a seriously useful piece of info, thankyou.

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