The first major update to Windows 10 was released for U.S. customers today, with Microsoft unveiling a host of handy new Cortana features, enhancements to Edge, and several adjustments focused squarely on making life easier for IT managers.
“For anyone who has been waiting, Windows 10 is ready for business,” said Brad McCabe, group product marketing manager at Microsoft.
The latest update includes:
- Windows Update for Business which allows more control over when and what updates are pushed to corporate devices, and offers setting policy for staggered updated policies, that push updates out first to a segment of users and then to the rest of the company when potential issues are mitigated.
- Windows Store for Business which provides easier company-wide distribution of both standard Windows Store applications as well as customized line-of-business applications, including offering a “private store” available to just employees.
- Azure Active Directory Join allows easier roaming of user settings across multiple Windows 10 devices, with a particular focus on safely integrating Bring Your Own Device scenarios.
It also includes security tweaks and upgrades, such as the ability to turn off gathering of telemetry data for enterprise customers (Rod Trent previously reported this was coming, and offered some perspective on the controversy around why the data was gathered in the first place).
McCabe also emphasized improvements to Windows 10 Hello, which offers passwordless access to computers based on various biometric inputs.
“With security, the more we lock things down, the harder it gets for users,” McCabe told me. “With windows hello, not only is it more secure, but from the user perspective, I sit down with the device and it recognizes me — before I’ve even sat down in my chair it’s already unlocked.”
When asked about finer-grained control of patches, an issue a majority of IT pros expressed concern about in a recent informal poll, McCabe pointed to tools like the staggered rollout and Windows Insider program.
“We are looking around the enterprise and we’re seeing a lot of older operating systems running, we’re seeing a lot of locked down PCs,” he told me. With Windows 10’s “continuous cadence” of updates, he’s hoping Microsoft can spark a “renaissance of enterprise computing” that ensures more users have the latest and greatest.
“I’d encourage [IT professionals] to sign up for the Windows Insider program,” he said. “If you’re not actively testing, now is the time.”
Down the road, he said one of the next features aimed squarely at IT was improvements to enterprise data protection.
“Customers are going to love the upgrade,” he said. More details about the update are available at Microsoft’s Windows Experience blog.