Windows 10 – Ship individual updates when they’re ready?


Given their difficultly in hitting dates and recent poor reliability, why doesn’t Microsoft simply ship individual Windows feature updates when they’re ready? Why the big bang release of lots of updates in an annual or bi-annual time frame, which is more prone to break things? One at a time, without an artificial ‘must be complete by this date’ attached to them. This way, several new features might get released a year. Maybe, even, without breaking things.

Comments (12)

12 responses to “Windows 10 – Ship individual updates when they’re ready?”

  1. Dan1986ist

    That is what installing and updating apps in the Microsoft store is supposed to do, provide updates without being tied to the bi-annual OS upgrades like Edge is in Windows 10.

  2. jimchamplin

    What they need is to take advantage of their vaunted work on compartmentalizing Windows and ship system updates separately from feature updates. System updates are mandatory, feature updates are completely optional for everyone.

    Otherwise all that work work was for nothing. Why bother modularizing if they do nothing with it?

    • lvthunder

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      That sounds like a good way to make every version of Windows unique.

      They did all that work to make Windows Mobile, Hololens, XBox, Hub, etc.

    • wright_is

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      They already do this. But for every feature update you are creating a new update branch that then needs to be individually patched and tested each month. That means not 2 different update sets each month for each year (1703, 1709, 1803, 1809), but updates for each month (1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1901, 1902 etc.). Each of those will need to be indidivually maintained for 2 or 3 years, so that is a lot more work.

      You can't shove out security updates to features that haven't been installed or which have been superceded. You have different levels of API for different releases, so you can't just overwrite a library with an arbitrary new version, you need the new version for your release.

  3. lvthunder

    It's easier to update Windows all at once then a piece at a time. The code of some of these features overlap.

  4. rob_segal

    If an OEM is depending on those features, Microsoft needs to communicate a release date. For example, the SnapDragon 850 and Windows 10 1809. Brad discussed this in a Sams Report video. In a vacuum, Microsoft can release updates whenever they feel like it, but Microsoft doesn't exist in a vacuum.

  5. wright_is

    Because people can plan for it. If they are rolled willy-nilly into monthly updates, you have no predictability, you can't hold off on them until they are stable.

    It would also be a support nightmare for Microsoft. Each new feature released on a monthly basis would be a new "branch" to support. At the moment they have to push out monthly updates for 1703, 1709, 1803, 1809 etc. because they all have different components and different versions of files and APIs available. Each of those is then supported for a couple of years.

    Start rolling features out on a monthly basis and you end up with 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1901, 1902, 1903 etc. all of which need to be individually patched each month and each needs to be regression tested each month. And corporate update servers would be swimming in updates - we have well over 70,000 updates on our WSUS server as it is! I don't want to have to wade through even more each month!

  6. Tony Barrett

    MS are slowly burying themselves in a whole with trying to deliver Windows 'as a service' twice a year. They obviously can't do it reliably and consistently. Let's not forget, Windows 10 is just a brand name - each and every release since launch is an entirely new build, so MS are having to maintain multiple different Windows branches that each require different versions of the security patches and cumulative updates, and if you include versions like Enterprise, Education, LTSB etc it's almost unmanageable. Who in MS thought this delivery model was a good idea for something so hideously complex needs hauling over some coals. This is only going to get worse, and I have a feeling the problems seen in 1809 are only the tip of the iceberg. Windows days as a stable, consistent, reliable OS are long gone - it's all about showboating now.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Are there any indications once you get 1809 installed it is not stable?

      I agree about the twice a year thing, but I think they should do it once a year for a different reason. They should do it once a year so they can have a bigger splash like Apple does. That would be a good reason to copy Apple.

  7. harmjr

    One feature update a year say in May. Start it in March but main stream in May. That would then allow for back to school sales and Christmas sales on the same OS.

    Everything else is just a patch Tuesday update.