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Windows 10 Review: Windows Update, Support, Recovery, Easy Upgrade

Technical Level : Basic

Summary

Windows Update in particular features some major changes. Since the introduction of Windows Update as part of Windows, Microsoft has delivered updates as a way to keep Windows updated and secure. This has always been the way the company keeps commercial versions of Windows on the market current. With Windows 10, Microsoft is making significant changes to this model by delivering new methods of servicing the operating system. Taking into account we now live in a mobile, constantly connected world where threats happen all the time. Part of the solution to this is to keep users current by providing the latest updates as soon as they are available in addition to delivering features as soon as they ready too…automatically.

Details

Previously:

Windows 10 Review: Introduction, Specifications and Setup

Windows 10 Review: Daily Usage

Windows 10 Review: Microsoft Edge web browser

Windows 10 Review: Applications and Compatibility

Windows 10 Review: Multimedia and Productivity

Windows 10 Review: Advanced features, Security and Connectivity

I have a feeling this will not sit well with a lot of Windows users. Some persons are starting to say it basically feels like Microsoft is being a nanny about applying Windows Updates but with good reason. Windows 10 Home users can pretty much expect to mandatorily install all critical Windows Updates. It’s not much better with Windows 10 Pro which will let you delay updates for a period of time. Customers running the Enterprise edition will have complete control over Windows Update. Why I think this is a good idea is based on my years of coming across PC’s, laptops running Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 from a friend or relative that has not been updated since they first booted it up. This mandatory procedure finally takes care of that. Users on metered connections should not worry though, updates are not downloaded automatically when your Internet connection is set as metered/mobile broadband.

You can choose multiple ways to get Windows Updates

Windows 10 introduces a cool enhancement to Windows Update I am excited about; the option to have Windows Update download updates from a PC within your local network in a peer to peer fashion. This is great for scenarios where you are using a metered connection but have multiple PCs. You can use one PC to simply update the other, as long as they are the same architecture. You can enable this by going to Start > Settings > Update and Security > Advanced Options > Choose how you download updates 

Microsoft will provide three types of service branches for Windows 10:

Current Branch
  • Security Updates, Features and Fixes are automatically applied.
  • There is no option to delay or customize these updates.
  • Windows 10 Home
Current Branch for Business (CBB)
  • CBB includes the requirements of the Current Branch, but also provides the option of customizing when and which Security Updates, Features and Fixes are applied, similar to how Windows Update works today in current versions of Windows. 
  • Updates cannot be deferred indefinitely.
  • Windows Updates can be managed using enterprise management tools such as Windows Update for Business and/ WSUS.
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Education
Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)
  • Only available to volume license customers running Windows 10 Enterprise.
  • Flexible options for managing Windows Updates.
  • Windows Updates can be customized to only accept Security Fixes.
  • Windows Updates can be managed using enterprise management tools such as Windows Update for Business and/ WSUS.
  • Windows 10 Enterprise

Users will be able to defer some updates but not indefinitely

What does lifetime of the device mean? The logical conclusion is as long as the machine is operable, it will continue to be supported with updates. So, if the machine still works 5 or 10 years from now, revisions and updates to Windows 10 will be made available to it. Please note that Windows 10 uses the same life cycle policy of 5 years mainstream support and 5 years extended support. Also note, there will be revisions of Windows 10 over the next 10 years. The revision of Windows 10 you get on July 29th 2015 will not be same revision you are running July 2020. In order to main support, you will need to update to that revision (which of course will be free). It’s alsmost like Windows XP RTM SP1, SP2, SP3. After a period of time, Microsoft stops supporting a particular revision, requiring that you move to the latest revision of Windows XP which would be SP3 in order to continue receiving support.

The fact is, the average life span of a computer is 3 to 5 years. I see students get a new laptop for September and by January the following year the screen is cracked or its dead from the amount of times they dropped it. Only the most meticulous (yours truly) manage to even carry a laptop across the 5-year threshold. I had an Acer for up to 8 years before I fiddled with it and it stopped working. My sibling has a Dell Inspiron from June 2006, originally came with Windows XP, upgraded to Vista then Windows 7. Not sure if it qualifies for Windows 10, but that’s almost 10 years, my other sibling sold his Inspiron from 2008. The fact is the vast majority of computers will eventually be replaced within 5 years of purchase, so it’s a safe cycle for Microsoft to ride.

Of course, the upgrade treadmill money is not there anymore like the 90s and early 2000s when you had persons buying shrink-wrapped upgrade packages. Microsoft realizes it does not need to fear giving away new revisions to existing devices, it’s not the 90s anymore when the PC market was just 50 million computers running Windows 3.1 and retail licenses were crucial to revenue. Out of that 1.5 billion Windows PCs, there will be a large amount who replace machines with OEM preinstalls over the next decade, in addition to the volume license club that Microsoft probably finds the most lucrative. So, the Windows revenue might not be what it used to be, but it’s not bad either.

Recovery and Rollback -Throughout the history of Windows revisions, Microsoft has included an option to uninstall the operating system when you upgrade to a newer version. My recollection of this capability goes back to Windows ME which included the option to uninstall the operating system and restore to a previous version of Windows (I was running Windows 98 SE at the time). Microsoft has supported this functionality in its NT based versions of Windows too, albeit not in a seamless way. The ability to restore a Windows 8.1 installation to Windows 7 required knowing some command line operations that in some instances didn’t guarantee the process would according to plan.

If your PC is not working well after upgrading to Windows 10, you can easily uninstall it

With Windows 10, it seems Microsoft has listened and has finally provided a welcome option to its recovery tools to make it easy to uninstall Windows 10 and go back to your previous version of Windows. This option can be handy for diagnostics purposes, trial and error or to simply go back to a previous version of Windows that works better with your PC. Please note, this option must be utilized within the first 30 days or it will not be possible. This is because the Rollback function is dependent on the Windows.old folder stored at the root of the drive which is automatically deleted after 30 days.

Also keep in mind, this only works with Windows 7 and later; because prior versions of Windows such as Windows Vista and Windows XP can only migrate to Windows 10 through a custom install, the command line operations remain your best choice if you do decide to go back. Rollback is not available either if you perform a custom install over Windows 7 or later. It’s quite an uneventful process which can take quite a while depending on how complex your Windows installation is. After clicking Get Started you can make multiple selections why are going back to your previous version of Windows along with additional details or you can choose just one and click Next. As noted, any configurations made to Windows 10 since upgrading will be lost, so if you installed new programs or hardware drivers or made personal settings, those will be deleted. Users will also have to make sure they have their password ready to sign into their old version if one was being used before.

Easy Upgrade - Windows 10 is available in a variety of editions that target different markets and user needs. The three most popular editions are Windows 10 Home, Pro and Enterprise. Most users who purchase a new PC will often get Windows 10 Home preinstalled. Users who need some of the unique capabilities of the Pro edition such as Remote Desktop, business networking and other capabilities can most often select this edition at purchase for a new PC or purchase it specifically for upgrading from a previous version. With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has made it known Windows 10 will be free to every PC or device running a genuine retail or OEM Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 license.

Easy Upgrade makes it easy to upgrade to a higher edition of Windows 10

Of course, persons will be upgraded to the logical edition, example Windows 7 Home Basic or Premium will be upgraded to Windows 10 Home. Some persons might want some of the richer capabilities available in Pro. For this, you will need to purchase the Windows 10 Pro Pack which will include a product key so you can unlock that edition in your current edition by simply entering the product key.

Good news also for persons who might have Home Use rights through an employer’s volume license program. Volume License is a convenient way for large businesses to purchase Windows licenses in bulk and deploy it to many computers an organization might own. Volume license also includes flexible options that allows organizations employees to also upgrade their personal devices to the organizations licensed edition of Windows. So for example, if your company is running Windows 10 Enterprise edition and you are running Windows 10 Home on your personal laptop, you can easily upgrade that system using Easy Upgrade. This is important for ease of use, management and support rights that guarantees all systems are standardized and are protected using the benefits that are available with that particular edition.

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