Update Servicing Branches Available for Each Windows 10 Edition

Update Servicing Branches Available for Each Windows 10 Edition

With Windows 10, Microsoft is introducing new methods for updating Windows. To accommodate a Windows operating system that won't see a major version update in the next 10 years or so, the company intends to deliver new features through updates, similar to how it delivers security patches and fixes. Taking the same methodology it has used for delivering Windows 10 betas to Windows Insiders through "rings" of updates, Microsoft will provide updates through "branches."

Here's a quick look at which branches will be available for each Windows 10 edition:

* Data source: Frequently Asked Questions: Windows 10

Current Branch – For home users, updates will deliver through Windows Update as they are released. This means that home users' PCs and devices will be the most up-to-date Windows editions on the planet. Home users will be constantly secure and will be able to use newly released features immediately. Security Updates, Features and Fixes are automatically applied and there is no option to delay or customize the updates.

Current Branch for Business (CBB) – CBB takes the speed of update delivery of Current Branch, but gives companies the ability to customize when security updates, fixes, and features are applied, as well as which ones. But, the big caveat is that they cannot be deferred forever. Eventually, the updates will be required. CBB gives companies a short time to test before rolling out updates. Microsoft has yet to say how long companies can delay updates before they roll out themselves. The updates as part of CBB will be delivered to WSUS servers and can be managed using the forthcoming Windows Update for Business and also compatible patching mechanisms like System Center Configuration Manager. CBB allows company assets to keep current on Windows 10 versioning yet retain a smidgen of control.

Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) – LTSB will only be available for volume licensing customers running Windows 10 Enterprise. While LTSB is the most flexible for management and control of updates, it's also the least rewarding. Companies that choose to delay new features indefinitely will quickly fall behind those using Current Branch or CBB. Microsoft plans to release new features constantly and if draconian measures are used with LTSB, the Windows 10 version being used in the business could be very different than the one used by everyone else in the world, forcing IT staff to do mass upgrades yearly (or longer) just like they have in the past. Considering most business users will also have home devices, they might eventually come to ask why their company-supplied PCs don't work the same as their home PCs. Companies using LTSB can also choose to only accept security fixes, ensuring that the PCs and devices are at least protected. Windows Update for Business, WSUS, and other applicable patching tools can also be used to manage the updates.

Additional resources:

Microsoft Describes New Business Servicing Branches for Updating Windows 10

Understanding the Long Term Servicing Branch and Current Branch in Windows 10

Windows 10's Proposed Peer-to-Peer Updating is Not New

Microsoft's Windows 10 Upgrade Policy for Business Not What You Might Think

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