Windows 10 – It’s Gaining Traction but Still Requires Patch’n

kid at the window

In August, 2015 Windows 10 was officially released. Supporting more than 200 million devices, it has already surpassed Windows 8 and continues to grow in popularity. How long before this new OS impacts your enterprise?

Let’s recap some of the good and bad that Windows 10 has given us.

On the good side:

  • Significantly faster
  • Very stable
  • Runs on existing Windows 7 hardware

When it comes to the user experience, Windows 10 has struck a nice balance between keyboard and touch across multiple devices and may even challenge some of the defection to Mac OS X that’s happened in recent years. This could very easily represent a cost avoidance opportunity for IT—a faster, easier to use, more stable OS that runs on older hardware. It will give IT departments an opportunity to delay new hardware purchases while still keeping their end-users productive and happy.

On the bad side:

  • There are privacy issues
  • Wi-Fi and peer-to-peer sharing concerns
  • Advertising IDs
  • Cortana is storing personal and behavioral analytics in the cloud

Continual stream of patches still needed

One thing Windows 10 hasn’t alleviated is the need for a continual stream of patches and updates. It won’t matter what update branch you’re on (current, current for business, or long-term servicing—see my previous blog on Windows 10 to understand the difference), you’ll need an automated process more than ever for pushing out new code on a regular basis. But that’s not how Microsoft planned it.

I can only imagine that there were two camps of thinking within Microsoft that weighed in on this new update cadence. The older and wiser server and desktop camp probably argued how Microsoft needed to move cautiously and leverage key learnings from years of providing updates. Meanwhile, the newcomer mobile folks most likely pushed for faster updates to match the pace of consumer desires. It would seem that the newcomers won out, as Microsoft announced it would force everyone to take their updates, including all drivers. I can picture the server/desktop folks sitting back and saying, “We’ll just see in a few months where we’re at.”

Well, we’re at that point where the truth about the updates is coming to light. You simply can’t force updates. Microsoft tried it with its Insider Program and it created a continuous loop of blue screens with a video driver. Now drivers are optional, but the default is set to receive updates continuously. You can, however, turn off updates and manage them independently. Microsoft had to do this to enable their own systems management and therefore enabled other systems management tools to manage patches and updates.

Windows 10 patches are starting to flow from Microsoft, some of which are very large. Since 10 is the last version of Windows, get used to the large files because many of these updates and patches are cumulative. At least from this early experience with Windows 10 we can see a trend of Microsoft giving ground to the needs of their customers and now they’re going to start sharing patch notes as well, but only to enterprises.

Somewhere the server and desktop folks are probably saying to themselves, “I told you so.” The true update path lies somewhere in the middle between the needs of the mobile and server/desktop camps. Yes, this new cadence will allow those who want to move faster to do so. No, there won’t be any enterprises that simply hook up their hoses to the Microsoft pipes and just take everything that flows out of Redmond.

We’ve only had the Current Branch pushed out so far; we’ll have to see what other issues occur when the Current Branch for Business comes out later this year. Customers at a recent user group meeting identified why they were starting to use Windows 10:

  • Be on the cutting edge with their students at the University
  • Solve Windows 8.1 usability issues
  • Increase tablet and touch screen adoption rates
  • Test for future deployments

All in all, Windows 10 is a great OS and will push the industry forward with its consistent experience across all devices. But the biggest shift it will create for IT is how vendors deliver software and how organizations and individuals consume it.

  • TechnoNotice

    “Runs on existing Windows 7 hardware” is only partly true…
    Only if a hardware vendor allows it. On major vendor that is blocking moving to windows 10 on older hardware is INTEL…
    Only the newer chipsets are fully supported by windows 10. For example the Q45 Graphics chip has a driver BUT it is severely crippled compared to the windows 7 driver. No OpenGL support at all, and the win 10 version is older than the latest windows 7 release.