Microsoft announced today that the Creators Update—that is, Windows 10 version 1703—is now “fully available.” And it is announcing yet another new Windows servicing model too!
“Microsoft uses a phased rollout of Windows 10 for consumer customers, and that is consistent with the guidance and recommendations Microsoft gives its commercial customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told me. “With that, the Windows 10 Creators Update is now fully available for broad deployment both for consumer devices and by organizations, and Microsoft encourages all organizations to begin broad deployments if they haven’t already.”
As Microsoft’s John Cable explains, this means that the Windows 10 Creators Update is no longer being “targeted” to just specific PC configurations. Instead, it is now “fully available” for all compatible Windows Windows 10 PCs globally via Windows Update.
“We are excited to make the Creators Update fully available to all our customers,” Mr. Cable says. “We encourage commercial organizations to begin broadly deploying Windows 10, version 1703, if you haven’t already done so. Staying up to date on both the latest feature and quality updates assures you of being on the most secure version of Windows 10 ever (version 1703).”
Additionally, Microsoft made a few other related announcements.
As a reminder, Windows 10 version 1511—the second version of Windows 10, also called the November Update—-will be retired on October 10, 2017. Until that date, this version of Windows 10 will receive security and quality updates. After October 10, however, Microsoft will issue no further updates to Windows 10 version. 1511. “Customers are encouraged to move forward to a later Windows 10 release before that date,” a Microsoft representative noted to me.
For commercial customers, Microsoft also announced a Windows servicing change that it describes as a simplification. In keeping with its previous announcement about moving Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus to twice-per-year feature update releases targeting March and September, Microsoft is changing the terminology it uses around the servicing model.
More specifically, it is killing the old Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB) and replacing them with something called the Semi-Annual Channel. (This is the servicing model that consumer Windows 10 is on too, of course.) These “feature releases”—e.g. these “versions of Windows 10”—will be supported for 18 months.
Microsoft is also replacing the Long-Term Servicing Branch with the Long-Term Servicing Channel, I assume for consistency’s sake. As with LTSB, these releases will be serviced for 10 years, and you can expect to see a new version every 2-3 years. Just like the old days. Humorously, Microsoft says that LTSC is “designed for special-purpose PCs such as those used in point-of-sale systems or controlling factory or medical equipment.” In my opinion, this is how Windows 10 should be serviced, period.
Good luck, everyone. And expect further changes down the road as this plan explodes in Microsoft’s face too.