Updated Microsoft's explained how often it intends to offer “feature updates” to Windows 10: twice a year in March and September.
That schedule will bring Windows 10 into line with the update schedule already used by Office 365 ProPlus.
Knowing when updates will land is useful. But Microsoft's announcement says “Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months. This is consistent with our current Windows 10 approach, but adds further clarity and predictability to organizations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus.”
How much predictability? Microsoft muddies the waters a bit by saying “The next Windows 10 feature update will be targeted for September 2017.” Which sounds like it could run late and make a mess of the schedule.
Knowing when Windows will be refreshed is handy. But Microsoft's schedule also means you're now looking at the prospect of having to refresh and re-deploy your standard operating environment every eighteen months. Which also means ensuring your application fleet will be happy with new versions of Windows.
Microsoft seems to recognise that's going to be a bit of a chore, so says “System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, making both easier to deploy and keep up to date.”
The Register has asked Microsoft for more information on this schedule and will update this story if it offers any comment on how it feels businesses will cope with frequent Windows re-deployments and a schedule that “targets” September but doesn't commit to it. ®
Updated to add
Microsoft's been in touch to say: "We want to provide customers time for planning which is why we are announcing 3.5 years before the support policy takes effect. There is a lot of demand from customers to bring the Windows and Office cadence together because they are modernising their clients with Windows 10 and Office 365 PP at the same time."
So at least Microsoft shops have time to get ready for faster refreshes.
Microsoft also hints that this new regime should mean less work, overall, as Windows 10's improved security and frequent updates have "made large-scale, costly wipe-and-replace Windows deployments every few years a thing of the past."