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Windows 10 1607 'Anniversary Update' Ready for Deployment

Microsoft indicated today that Windows 10 version 1607, the "anniversary update," is now ready for deployment by organizations.

Windows 10 version 1607 has reached the "current branch for business" (CBB) product milestone, Microsoft announced today. It signifies that this update is considered by Microsoft to be ready for deployment in production environments.

The anniversary update is notable for adding inking capabilities to the operating system. It includes an SDK to help developers more easily repurpose apps to run on Windows 10.

The release also includes some IT perks, such as support for the Windows Information Protection data leakage prevention scheme, as well as support for Windows Hello for Business, which combines Microsoft's biometric password feature with Microsoft Passport to better enable multifactor authentication. The release supports using the Remote Desktop Protocol to connect PCs joined to Azure Active Directory. Organizations also can more easily create shared or temporary PCs with a new Shared PC mode. It's also purportedly easier to provision Windows 10 images using the Imaging and Configuration Designer in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, Microsoft has indicated. That kit is now called "MDT build 8443," Microsoft recently announced.

Microsoft lists all of the Windows 10 version 1607 improvement in this TechNet article.

There are some update deferral possibilities unlocked with this release, according to the TechNet article. For instance, the article indicates that "Quality Updates can be deferred up to 30 days and paused for 35 days." In addition, "Feature Updates can be deferred up to 180 days and paused for 60 days." The article, though, doesn't spell out exactly how that's done. Likely, it takes management software, such as Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager, to have these update deferral capabilities.

Microsoft had initially released Windows 10 version 1607 in early August, but it was just at the "current branch" phase at that time. Current branch releases are designed for "piloting" or testing by organizations to discover possible flaws, according to Microsoft's past Windows 10 software update descriptions.

The CBB and current branch releases of Windows 10 version 1607 are really the same thing, but they get released at different time periods, allowing Microsoft to fix any software flaws discovered in the meantime. A CBB release generally happens four months after a current branch release.

Microsoft recently offered yet another detailed description of its rather complicated Windows 10 update process that it expects organizations to follow. A summary can be found in this article.

Organizations that deployed a Nov. 8 cumulative update to Windows 10 version 1607 will be set to get this CBB release. If they have Knowledge Base update KB3200970 installed or a later version, then the Windows 10 version 1607 CBB update will be ready for approval, Microsoft's announcement indicated.

Consumer users of Windows 10 typically don't have the ability to defer updates. They likely already have the current branch version of Windows 10 version 1607 installed.

Microsoft is planning to issue Windows 10 version 1607 for media installations as well, but it will be arriving later. It'll be distributed from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center in January. It'll also be available to users of the Windows Server Update Services management service at that time.

For organizations considering a move to Windows 10, Microsoft is touting the use of its Windows Upgrade Analytics service as speeding up the migration planning process. It provides a graphical display of application readiness, as well as information about driver updates, among other matters. The Upgrade Analytics service is actually part of the Microsoft Operations Management Suite, an Azure service for managing cloud-based workloads. However, Microsoft claims that Enterprise licensees have the ability to use the Upgrade Analytics service for free via an Azure subscription, which also can be the free subscription.

Microsoft is claiming that Windows 10 is highly compatible with existing applications. The company estimates that 99 percent of "the top 3,000 apps" are compatible with Windows 10.

About the Author

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

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