Redmond View

Windows 10's 'Anniversary Update' Adds Style and Substance

While the update isn't a groundbreaking next step for Microsoft's latest OS, it did a handful of smaller changes that improve usability.

Microsoft's Windows 10 "Anniversary Update" arrived last month with relatively little fanfare. Critics argue the new UI tweaks might be appealing and welcome additions, but nevertheless incremental, not groundbreaking.

The update is indeed important to IT pros because it's the equivalent to what Microsoft historically has called "service packs." IT decision makers for decades have heeded the advice that enterprises of all sizes should wait to deploy new versions of Windows until Microsoft releases that first service pack to avoid the pitfalls of bugs and security flaws that take time to discover. In the new Windows-as-a-Service model, Microsoft says it has done away with major new OS upgrades every three years or so, in favor of continuous updates.

But old habits die hard, which is why the new Anniversary Update release is also an unofficial sign to IT that the first service pack they're accustomed to has arrived with substance, not just style. That includes support for Windows Information Protection, delivering improved device protection, separation of personal and business data, and the ability to prevent leakage of personal and corporate information; support for Microsoft's new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection service, aimed at helping enterprises discover and mitigate sophisticated and targeted attacks; and improvements to Windows Hello that extend biometric authentication to Intel's embedded Trusted Platform Module (TPM), the Edge browser and increased compatibility with apps and sites supporting the latest Fast ID Online (FIDO) spec.

Of course, nothing is simple and you should get up to speed with the caveats reported by Kurt Mackie, who notes some key considerations for IT organizations.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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