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IT Pros Will Lack Consumer Feature Controls with Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update

The Windows 10 Pro edition "anniversary update" (version 1607) won't have overall management controls to disable certain consumer-type services built into the operating system.

Specifically, Group Policy or mobile device management solutions can't disable tips, tricks and Windows Store suggestions when using Windows 10 Pro version 1607, a recent Microsoft TechNet publication explained. Microsoft is aiming to release Windows 10 version 1607 on Aug. 2, which will include some major operating system feature updates, but there appear to be some new use-rights changes, too, particularly for the Pro edition.

Tips and tricks are contextual aids for end users. They are available based on the particular Windows 10 task a user is doing. Windows Store suggestions, in essence, are advertisements to get applications. They show up on the Start menu and also when searching for apps.

While IT pros won't have disablement controls over tips, tricks and Windows Store suggestions in Windows 10 Pro version 1607, end users of that OS version will have that capability. "Windows 10 tips, tricks, and suggestions and Windows Store suggestions can be turned on or off by users," Microsoft explained, in the TechNet article.

The table in that article shows the policy restriction for Windows 10 Pro version 1607. However, Enterprise and Education edition users of that OS version do have the ability to disable tips, tricks and Windows Store suggestions.

The management disparity, based on Windows 10 edition, is bit puzzling, but Microsoft seems to be carving out a lesser place for its Windows 10 Pro edition vs. its Enterprise edition. In April, Microsoft removed the ability of IT pros to block access to the Windows Store via Group Policy with Windows 10 Pro version 1511. They could still block access via AppLocker restrictions, though. Microsoft's explanation for that policy change was that Windows 10 Pro version 1511 had reached a new current branch for business milestone on April 12. It's an explanation, but kind of odd, perhaps.

Windows 10 Pro use rights also are getting trimmed down by Microsoft with regard to its virtualization tools. Microsoft announced earlier this month that when Windows 10 Pro version 1607 arrives on Aug. 2, the use rights for its Application Virtualization (App-V) and User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) tools will go away with that edition. Organizations wanting to continue to use those tools, which are typically sold as part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack subscriptions, would have to move to the Windows 10 Enterprise edition to have the proper use rights.

On the other hand, organizations using Windows 10 Pro version 1607 will have the ability to use Group Policy or mobile device management solutions to configure Cortana, which is Microsoft's search-based personal assistant. The new Windows 10 Pro Education edition, coming Aug. 2, will have Cortana turned off by default.

The use-rights restrictions on Windows 10 Pro seem kind of arbitrary. It's possible that Microsoft will outline them a bit more when it releases the new OS on Aug. 2.

The Aug. 2 Windows 10 release, code-named "Redstone," is almost akin to a new "service pack" release, although Microsoft long ago abandoned that nomenclature for its Windows clients. Windows 10 clients now get regular feature updates in accordance with a service-enabled approach. Only users of the Windows 10 Enterprise edition have the ability to defer these updates over a long-term period. Those users follow the so-called "long-term servicing branch" update approach, which is similar to the old service-pack approach in some ways.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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