Outside of the weekly security patches and minor updates that are released each Tuesday, Microsoft releases larger feature updates to Windows 10 twice a year—each spring and fall. This spring’s update, which Microsoft calls the May 2019 Update (version 1903) is wrapping up development and will be widely available at the end of next month.
The last major update to Windows 10 was due in October 2018 (1809), but the release was quickly halted due to early reports of user data being deleted. Other issues reported included loss of internet connection, Microsoft Edge browsing errors, and Microsoft Store apps not loading. Since then, the rollout has been slow and many computers have still not received the update, even six months after its initial release date.
Assuming the May 2019 update has a smoother launch, many users will be updating directly to the newest version and skipping version 1809 altogether. The recent release issues have surely led to Microsoft giving users more control over the update process, as you’ll see below.
Though the list of changes is long, there are only a few things we see as improving overall experience or security:
- Removeable Apps – Windows will, unfortunately, always ship with many built-in apps that you won’t use, but in this version, many more of them will be easily removable. This list includes rarely used programs like 3D Viewer, Groove Music, and Voice Recorder.
- Search and Cortana – These two services have been separated. Now search will be snappier and more directly tied to the files on your device and your installed apps, rather than also connecting to Microsoft’s virtual assistant. If you use Cortana, it can now be activated by a button to the right of the search bar.
- Update Improvements – Feature Updates, which are those published each spring and fall, will now be presented and installed separately from all other security and stability updates. This gives users a better control and understanding of how and when these major updates are applied.
How should my business handle these releases?
As we have noted in the past and as evidenced by the prior delayed release, these feature updates have serious potential to cause problems. EVAN recommends delaying their installation by configuring your Windows Update settings to best fit your office environment. These instructions apply to versions 1709, 1803, and 1809:
- Click <windows button> and type “Windows Update”
- Select <update settings>
- Click “Advanced options”
- Select a “Choose when updates are installed” option:
- Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) – Only recommended for small offices with modern hardware (see #4).
- Semi-Annual Channel – Recommended for larger businesses and any without immediate need for the improved features. This will automatically delay these feature updates for about three months.
- If you select “Targeted” above, we recommend setting the delay option to 21 days. This will provide Window’s newest features quickly while avoiding issues that are typically discovered immediately after major update releases.
These changes will not prevent you from receiving weekly security and device driver updates.
Please contact us if you need any further explanation or assistance configuring these settings.
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