Microsoft change feature updates frequency for “home” Windows 10 users

Microsoft has announced changes to how Windows 10 get feature updates [that is/was the big one roughly every 6 months – assuming no issues]. For OEM and retail Windows 10 editions [think the “Home” version], feature update installations are no longer mandatory. Instead, the feature update is offered as an optional update. The PC’s owner has to approve of the installation manually. You’re free to ignore that prompt for as long as the current version is supported, or a maximum of 18 months.

For Pro, Education, and Enterprise editions, it is the status quo.

Microsoft lists versions for Windows 10

Not counting the three embedded/Internet of Things (IoT) versions, there will be six Windows 10 SKUs: Home, Mobile, Pro, Enterprise, Education and Mobile Enterprise, according to a May 13 blog post from Windows Marketing chief Tony Prophet. Microsoft is not yet disclosing the standalone pricing or the detailed feature set and licensing specifics of its Windows 10 SKUs.

On all SKUs: Edge browser, Continuum tablet-mode for touch-capable devices; Cortana integration; free Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar; Music and Video apps; and Windows Hello face-recognition/iris/fingerprint log-in for devices that support those technologies.

Windows 10 Home: The consumer-focused desktop edition. On devices with screen sizes of 10.1 inches or less, users also will get the Universal Office apps for free [once they are available].

Windows 10 Pro: It will allow users to opt for Windows Update for Business [which will allow admins to opt to not receive all feature and security updates from Microsoft immediately after they are available]. Unsure what non-domain users will get.

Windows 10 Enterprise: The Enterprise version customers get access to the Long Term Servicing Branch of Windows 10 [allows them to opt to receive security fixes only and no new features as Microsoft rolls them out] and is for volume-licensing customers. No free upgrade like the other SKUs but software assurance clients will get the option to get it for free for deployments.

Windows 10 Education: In this version for staff, administrators, students and teachers, it will be available through academic Volume Licensing.

Windows 10 Mobile: This is the SKU for Windows Phones and small Intel- and ARM-based tablets. It will include the free Universal Office apps [once they are available]; and support for Continuum for Phone, allowing customers to use phones as PCs connected to larger screens [good only on new devices supporting certain screen resolutions].

Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise: It will incorporate the latest security and feature updates to Windows 10 [once they are available]. Unknown if the test/stagger their delivery, which is offered under Windows Update for Business, will be included.

A lot of the information is still changing by the day. Don’t be surprised if some things do change.