Earlier today, Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 Creators Update was now available for all compatible devices. On this occasion, the company also introduced some important changes to its "Windows as a Service" servicing model, which follows the shift to semi-annual releases for Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus initiated earlier this year.
The Redmond giant describes its new servicing model as "simplified and aligned," and here are the main changes:
- For consumers and the majority of business users, the "Semi-Annual Channel" now replaces the previous "Current Branch" and "Current Branch for Business" channels. This new Semi-Annual Channel sticks with twice-per-year feature major Windows 10 updates in March and September, and every major release will still be supported for 18 months.
- For special-purpose PCs such as those used in point-of-sale systems or medical equipment, Microsoft is replacing the previous Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) with the "Long-Term Servicing Channel". Business users on this channel can expect new Windows 10 and Office 365 updates every 2-3 years, with 10 years of support.
The Semi-annual Channel, with new major releases every six months, could well appear as too demanding for most business users. But having recently launched the Windows Insider Program for Business, Microsoft respectfully disagrees. "Start with targeted deployments to validate that apps, devices, and infrastructure used by the organization works well with the new release. When that validation is complete, begin broadly deploying," advised the company
According to the company, this new servicing model will make it easier for everyone to know what to expect and get prepared for major Windows 10 updates and end of servicing for older releases. For now, Microsoft is pushing the Windows 10 Creators Update as the first Semi Annual Channel Release, and it will soon be replaced by the Fall Creators Release in a couple of months.
Additionally, Windows 10 version 1511 (aka Threshold 2) will no longer be supported after October 10th, 2017. People still running this version on their PC should are advised to update their OS or device in order continue to receive security and quality updates going forward.