In a surprising and unexpected change, Microsoft will no longer force feed updates on Windows 10 users. Instead, it will adopt a more thoughtful approach that balances the needs of its customers with the desire to keep the user base safe and up-to-date .
"We are excited to announce significant changes to the Windows update process, changes designed to enhance the experience, put the user in more control and improve the quality of Windows updates," said Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Fortin. face. "We heard clear feedback that the Windows update process itself can be harmful, particularly that Windows users would like to have more control over when updates happen."
As you may know, Microsoft has long pretended that it can upgrade Windows 10 as if it were an online service, a scheme it calls Windows as Service, or WaaS. Unfortunately, WaaS was problematic from the outset: Microsoft provided two major feature updates – in fact, Windows version updates – every year, and its monthly scheduled quality updates exploded to include multiple updates in a few months. Users are forced to restart their PCs much more often than before.
But it's worse than that: the ability of a user (or company) to defer updates to a later date varies greatly, depending on the Windows 10 product edition being used. Windows 10 Enterprise and Pro users can defer quality and feature updates over long periods, for example, but Windows 10 Home users can not. Even worse, anyone foolish enough to check for updates – long considered prudent – was considered a Microsoft "seeker", and was then forced to provide any available updates, including large and disruptive resource updates when available.
I will write separately about my years of attempts for Microsoft to change this behavior. For now, I'll just say that these changes prove that Microsoft was listening. And this is finally acting.
Here is what is changing.
Starting with Windows 10 version 1903 – the feature update for which Microsoft is now calling the May 2019 update – the software giant will let its customers decide when updates are installed.
"We will provide a notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will largely be up to the user to start when the update occurs," Fortin explains. "All customers will now be able to explicitly choose whether they want to update their devices when they check for updates or pause updates for up to 35 days."
This confirms a suspicion I had in March that Microsoft would finally allow Windows 10 Home users to post updates like the adults using Windows 10 Pro. Now, everyone who uses Windows 10 will be treated equally, as it is correct.
For feature updates, you will see the text in Windows Update explaining the update and a link will allow you to download and install it. Now, all users can delay both types of updates for up to 35 days, 7 days at a time.
Microsoft is also working to ensure the quality of this feature update, which is important given the disastrous updates of two features that Microsoft and its users had in 2018.
"We will increase the time that the May 2019 Update spends in the Release Preview phase," continues Fortin, although it is not pointing out that the previous feature update actually ignored the Release Preview phase, contributing to their reliability issues.
And yes, the May 2019 update is complete; this is what we used to call RTM. It will be made available to Windows Insiders next week in the Release Ring Preview. Microsoft plans to start public availability of this update by the end of May for commercial customers, those who choose to install it by Windows Update, and customers whose devices are nearing the end of support for a particular release. "
This last bit is interesting because it represents an exception to the new update scheme. In other words, PCs near the end of support will be updating using the original forced WaaS approach.
"When Windows 10 devices are on, or will arrive shortly, at the end of the service, the Windows update will automatically start a feature update," Fortin explains. "Keeping machines supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health."