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Microsoft rolls out first 'major update' to Windows 10

IT managers get to pick and choose patches

Microsoft has released an update it says is the first major release for Windows 10.

Redmond said the new version of Windows 10, version 1511, will offer better performance and compatibility with third-party hardware.

"With this update, there are improvements in all aspects of the platform and experience, including thousands of partners updating their device drivers and applications for greater Windows 10 compatibility," wrote Microsoft Windows and Devices executive vice president Terry Myerson.

"Windows 10 also starts rolling out to Xbox One today, and select mobile phones soon."

Microsoft is also courting enterprise customers with the addition of two new services aimed at IT. The Windows Update for Business will allow IT departments to manage how updates and profiles are sent to end users and when patches will be applied for various user groups, which could prove handy considering this week's Redmond patch failure.

The Windows Store for Business, meanwhile, will allow IT to control how applications are delivered and installed on company machines. Businesses can maintain their own "store" services for users, and assign different bundles of applications based on user profiles.

The update will also add a new Azure Active Directory to assign a single user profile, and settings for multiple Windows 10 devices and a Mobile Device Management tool allowing IT and management to remotely control and wipe data on Windows 10 devices.

Among the consumer improvements Microsoft is touting with the update are additional features for Cortana, including the ability to add movie reminders and Uber reservations. Microsoft is adding support for Cortana in Japan, India, Australia, and Canada.

The update release comes as Microsoft continues its not so subtle campaign to migrate those running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs onto the latest version. Users have reported Redmond to be increasingly pushy in getting users to move over to the new OS.

With the "major update" now out, those who typically wait for a large update or service pack release to migrate, as is often the case with large businesses, could now begin to move over to Windows 10 in earnest.

According to research house Netmarketshare, Windows 10 currently has less than 8 per cent of the total PC market, behind even the now-unsupported Windows XP. ®

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