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Windows 10 Creators Update Ready to All Customers, Enters Semi-Annual Channel Releases

After rolling out in phases, the Windows 10 Creators Update version 1703, is now fully available to all including commercial customers running Windows 10 globally via Windows Update.

The company also says releases are now following a new twice-yearly release cadence called “Semi-Annual Cadence,” that replaces the Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB), and it also now aligned with Office updates. “Windows has aligned with Office 365 ProPlus to simplify IT deployment cycles, targeting releases in March and September,” says John Cable.

Both feature releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release.

The new semi-annual channel cadence and life cycle model empower enterprises to plan combined servicing of Windows and Office when and how to deploy all the latest capabilities and integrated security, tailored to theri organization. “When the Semi-Annual Channel feature update is released, organizations can begin targeted deployments to a select group of machines to validate their apps, devices, and infrastructure, prior to beginning a broad deployment at a time that is right for them,” Cable writes.

Starting with Windows Insider Program for Business, IT Pro early adopters can evaluate pre-release builds early and provide feedback across the ecosystem to company and IHV/ISV partners, to help build reliable, highly productive and secure products and experiences.

windows as a service (wass)

Another servicing term known as Long-Term Servicing Channel, replaces Long-Term Servicing Branch [LTSB]) are “a less frequent releases, expected every 2-3 years (with the next one expected in 2019).” It’s designed for special-purpose PCs such as those used in point-of-sale systems or controlling factory or medical equipment.

Each of these releases will be serviced for 10 years from the date of release.

Microsoft suggests following three main phases for organizations implementing a servicing process for Windows:

  • Plan and Prepare. Leverage the Windows Insider Program to follow along with the development of new Windows 10 features (so that you can prepare to deploy those features), while at the same time validating compatibility and providing feedback on any issues or concerns.
  • Targeted Deploy. Starting as soon as a new Semi-Annual Channel feature update is released, begin targeted pilot deployments to a targeted group of machines (we typically suggest around 10%) to validate app, device, and infrastructure compatibility.
  • Broadly Deploy. Once you are satisfied with the results of the pilot deployments, begin broadly deploying throughout the organization. For some organizations, broad deployment can begin quickly; for others it can take longer. It is up to each organization to determine when to make that transition.

Check out this Microsoft Mechanics video, that explain the servicing process:

For more details on Semi-Annual Channel servicing, see this TechNet article, and Office 365 ProPlus servicing guidance.

Also, today, Windows 10 S ISOs are made available to MSDN subscribers for downloading. In a statement provided to Thurrott, a spokesperson said, “We’re releasing [Windows 10 S] today to developers because we want to be sure they are testing Windows 10 S. We especially want EDU-focused developers to continue to innovate and make apps that teachers and students would use from the Windows Store.”

Of course, to get it, you’ll need a paid subscription, which starts at $539 per year.

The download page is located over here.

Microsoft also said, that they will end support for Windows 10 version 1511 (also known as the November Update) on October 10.

Of course, with the annoucement, those ruuning 1511 are recommended to upgrade to a newer release.

Microsoft has also updated its Windows lifecycle fact sheet to reflect the various feature updates to Windows 10, currently including 1507, 1511, 1607, and 1703. To be clear, these dates reflect the end of support for Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education, so Mobile is separate.

microsoft modern keyboard with fingerprint id and microsoft modern mouse
Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID and Microsoft Modern Mouse

In addition, a new premium quality keyboard “Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID,” that brings the convenience and security of Windows Hello fingerprint sign-in to any PC running Windows 10, along with a new Microsoft Modern Mouse, a sleek simple complement to the keyboard, are introduced on Thursday.

Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID, let you use your finger to sign into Windows devices, and compatible apps, with Windows Hello in less than 2 seconds – that’s 3 times faster, than a password that you have to remember and type in.

For those new, “Windows Hello, helps enable people to move to a password alternative that gives you a fast, convenient and exceptionally secure way to unlock your Windows devices.”

Check out over Modern Keyboard, and Modern Mouse.

Lastly, a new Fitbit skill for Cortana, became available on Thursday, making it easier than ever to track your health and fitness goals.

Users can access the Fitbit skill across devices and platforms, starting with Windows 10, Android and iOS, and soon on the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. Once you’ve connected your Fitbit account to Cortana, you can say, “Hey Cortana, ask Fitbit how am I doing today” and Cortana will read out your active logged minutes, how you slept last night and more, all without you having to pull up the Fitbit app or website.

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