No more new Windows 10 features until next year

Microsoft will spend the rest of the year stomping bugs, and there's a lot of them

No more new Windows 10 features until next year
DobaKung (CC BY 2.0)

Microsoft announced in a TechNet blog post last week that it will not be adding any more features to Windows 10 this year but instead will hold off for two major upgrades planned in 2017. The news comes on the heels of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which added many new features—and broke a few things in the process.

The announcement came in a blog post titled, "What's new for IT pros." 

Windows 10, version 1607 is our third Windows 10 feature update released. Based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10, this will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017.

This is in line with what Microsoft has already said. Back in May, the company said it would offer two major feature updates to Windows 10 per year. That would be a bump over the current rate, which has been one update per year.

The Anniversary Update had been code-named "Redstone," and a second Redstone is planned for April of next year. There has been chatter of a Redstone 3, but at this point would be at least a year off. 

While all the chatter has been about the Anniversary Update (a.k.a. Redstone, a.k.a Build 1607) for consumers, it has a lot for IT managers to love as well:

  • Windows Information Protection (WIP), which helps to protect enterprise apps and data on enterprise-owned and personal devices against potential data leakage without otherwise interfering with the user experience.

  • Improvements to Windows Hello for Business, which now includes both Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport.

  • Simplified provisioning with Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (ICD), and the ability to install Windows ICD with the full Windows Assessment Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) or by itself.

  • The ability to connect to a remote PC that is joined to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

  • Improved taskbar management, including the ability to add and remove pinned apps from the taskbar as an administrator, while still allowing users to pin/unpin apps and change the order of pinned apps on the taskbar after the enterprise configuration is applied.

  • Expanded mobile device management (MDM) capabilities.

  • Shared PC mode, which optimizes Windows 10 for shared use scenarios, such as touchdown spaces in an enterprise or temporary customer use in a retail business.

  • The inclusion of App-V and UE-V as Windows features (instead of inclusion in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which required a separate download and installation).

  • Windows Defender enhancements, including the release of Windows Defender Offline (which allows you to run offline scans), Block at First Sight (which dramatically improves detection times for new malware), enhanced notifications, and potentially unwanted application (PUA) detection.

Problems with the update

And like any major update, there seem to be problems with it. Reports of freeze-ups are piling up in a Reddit thread. There doesn't seem to be any one hardware issue with this, as people all have a variety of different components. So, it can't be blamed on, say, bad drivers from Intel or Nvidia. 

Windows Central has its own list of fixes for problems that have cropped up, particularly around the installation. And Ubuntu users report that the update is messing with their Linux partitions if shared on the same drive.

As for me, yes, I had problems with the update, too. After a long update, my computer wouldn't work. All I got was a black desktop with a mouse arrow for a desktop. When I couldn't soft reboot, I hit the reset button on my PC and on reboot, up came a window saying it was restoring my PC to its prior version. Within five minutes I was back to Build 1511.

Microsoft had a long gestation for Redstone, so I'm really surprised at all these problems. I'd have expected it to go much smoother, even if it was a seriously ambitious upgrade.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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