Windows 10: End of Servicing
As Microsoft releases Windows 10 builds, we are getting a clearer idea of the Windows 10 Servicing Model. Establishing your Windows 10 servicing strategy has become critical as Windows 10 1507 falls out of support. Any systems running this version will soon no longer be able to receive updates, including security updates. So tracking which branch is used in your environment is an important part of managing Windows 10.
Recap of Windows 10 Servicing
Instead of releasing Windows every 2-3 years, Microsoft is now releasing Windows 10 multiple times a year. These releases are considered Current Branch (CB). IT organizations can then use these releases to ensure compatibility with existing apps and infrastructure before broad deployment. Then, after about four months, the feature update will be considered Current Branch for Business (CBB) by Microsoft.
Businesses using the CBB will have up to eight months to validate and deploy the Windows 10 CBB. To ensure compliance, Microsoft will be making updates dependent on branches. Businesses have the flexibility to have different systems running different branches. Branches can even be skipped since they are cumulative. Microsoft has stated they will only ever support two CBB releases at a time.
Microsoft offers several different methods to deploy and test CBB. The Windows Insider program gives IT access to pre-releases code before the Current Branch release. Current Branch can be deployed to a pilot group before deploying CBB company-wide. The deployments of CB and CBB can be delivered, controlled, and automated using existing tools sets such as WSUS and SCCM.
Current Windows 10 Releases
We have had three release of Windows 10:
- Windows 10 1507
- Windows 10 1511
- Windows 10 1607
At the end of January 2017, Microsoft released Windows 10 1607 CBB to Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). When this release happened, the 60-day grace period was triggered on the oldest 1507 CBB release. Now, normally after this period ends, that version of Windows will no longer be able to apply updates. However, Microsoft has extended the grace period this time to give organizations additional time to plan and upgrade.
If you are currently running Windows 10 1507, you have until sometime in May 2017 to upgrade. We recommend that you plan to do this as soon as possible to give you enough time to move to a supported release. It is also recommended that any new deployment of Windows 10 is on 1607, as Microsoft will soon be releasing a new Current Branch.
If you have more questions about establishing your Windows 10 servicing strategy, contact us to learn more. As a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and award-winning multi-practice IT consulting firm, we have a breadth of depth to grow your business across a full spectrum of IT solutions.