Microsoft announced today that the first major update for Windows 10 for PCs and tablets, now called the November Update, is generally available. This update brings a handful of new features for users and major changes for IT. Variants of it arrive today on Xbox One too and, soon, “select” Windows phone handsets.
“We view Windows 10 with the November update as the renaissance of the enterprise PC,” Terry Myerson told me in a recent briefing. “With this release, we have an answer for all those customers left behind on locked down PCs that were configured with the best practices from 8 years ago. Today, these PCs don’t meet users’ expectations, or support both personal and business data on one machine.”
In case it’s not obvious, there’s obviously been a last-minute branding change. When I received a treasure trove of internal Microsoft documentation about three weeks ago, this update was called the Fall Update. But one thing hasn’t changed: With this update, Windows 10 is at version 1511, for November 2015.
I detailed most of the new features in the November Update previously. And Terry Myerson points out two of his favorites—the Cortana and Edge improvements—while adding that Windows 10 with the November Update is rolling out on Xbox One (as the New Xbox One Experience) today. “Select mobile phones” will receive this update “soon” as well, he says.
But the November update is really about business, Mr. Myerson says.
“We have reached the point in the platform’s maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations,” Myerson says.
On that note, Windows 10 with the November Update enables three additional features for the enterprise:
Mobile Device Management improvements that light up Enterprise Mobility Management (EMS) capabilities for managing Windows devices (PCs, tablets, phones, and IOT devices). “Windows 10 is the only platform that can manage BYOD scenarios from the device to the apps to the data on those devices – safely and securely,” Microsoft says. “And of course, Windows 10 is fully compatible with the existing management infrastructure used with PCs, giving IT control over when how they bridge between two capabilities.”
Azure Active Directory Join so that IT can maintain a single directory spanning on-prem and cloud infrastructure. This lets users have a single sign-in and roam Windows settings and data across all of their Windows 10 devices.
Disable telemetry. As promised, the November update includes the ability for enterprise IT to disable telemetry feedback to Microsoft. “We strongly recommend against this, as this data helps us deliver a secure, reliable, and more delightful personalized experience,” Microsoft explains.
Additionally, the following two free services are now available to businesses:
Windows Update for Business lets IT control the deployment of updates within their organizations, and ensures that their devices are kept current and their security needs are met, while reducing management cost. IT admins can create device groups for staggered update deployments, and can scale deployments with network optimizations, Microsoft says.
Windows Store for Business provides a flexible way for IT to obtain, deploy, manage and use public and private line of business (LOB apps. Here, organizations can create their own private catalog—what Microsoft calls “a store within the public Business Store”.
Looking ahead, Microsoft is testing an enterprise data protection feature with select enterprise customers, and plans to roll it out more broadly in 2016. This feature will “help protect corporate data by separating and containing corporate data from consumer data,” Microsoft explains. It will be made available to Windows Insiders soon.
If you’re eager to get your hands on the update, good news: You can do so right now. Just check for updates in Windows Update. Otherwise, if you’re already running the initial Windows 10 release, you will receive the November update according to your Windows Update settings. If you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you can take advantage of the free upgrade offer and receive the November Update integrated into your Windows 10 upgrade.