Windows 10 customers can go slow with Windows Update for Business

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Mark Hachman

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Microsoft’s “go slow” strategy for deploying Windows 10 updates for business received a new tweak Monday. Called Windows Update for Business, the service lets IT admins specify which devices receive which update, and when.

Microsoft said Windows Update for Business is free for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices—a confirmation, at least, that those two versions will be part of the Windows 10 rollout.

In January, Microsoft announced two “branches” to deploy Windows 10 for businesses, where businesses could roll out Windows 10 updates on an infrequent basis—or not at all, save for security updates. That approach allowed IT admins to leave mission-critical devices untouched if they preferred.

Why this matters: Windows Update for Business addresses the reality of the so-called BYOD workplace—that there's a separate class of user devices, whose owners expect to tap into the new features that Microsoft plans to add to Windows. For IT staff, however, those updates can be a pain. Microsoft is doing its best to let everyone go at their own speed.

Using the cloud to make updates easy

“Selective updating creates platform fragmentation for developers, which impedes innovation and creates quality problems with apps,” Terry Myerson, the executive vice president of operating systems at Microsoft, said in a blog post. “And last but not least, selective updating is an expensive, thankless task for IT professionals. With Windows 10, we need a new approach for end-user devices at work.”

Windows Update for Business will include two new features: distribution rings, where an IT Pro can specify which devices come in an update wave, and can specify when those devices receive the updates; and maintenance windows, where admins can specify when updates should occur—or shouldn’t.

Windows Update for Business will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates, and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis, according to Myserson.

How do you take advantage of Windows Update for Business? Microsoft said IT professionals should join the Windows 10 Insider Program, then begin thinking of how to distribute their company's Windows 10 devices among the appropriate segments.

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