When the goof-old-fashioned Microsoft monetise its Windows Operating Systems: The Nagging Ads

When the goof-old-fashioned Microsoft monetise its Windows Operating Systems
by Sando Sasako
Jakarta, 19 February 2017

People begin to scramble adopting Linux, in their desperate moves replacing Windows. Eventually, people will stick using Microsoft Windows when the internet still supports them to browse the internet. Otherwise, people will revert back to the goof-old-fashioned Windows XP. At least, that’s what I want to do.

My Windows 7 Ultimate (both 32-bit and 64-bit) loves to reset itself, revealing the BSOD messages as the main culprits. Countless I remain. The most absurd of Windows fatality has been the incapable Microsoft to manage the CLR problem. It means the entire business life of Microsoft’s Windows, that is eversince Windows began to appear as an operating system of a ‘computer’. Windows can never deal with the drivers issues, always stumbles and crashes.

Instead to cope with the standard and generic ‘drivers’ that have been pushed by Microsoft to the whole manufacturers worldwide, Windows loves to cease operational and gives it up, waving the white flag right at once, as it senses some drivers issue began to show up a trouble. Windows 10 is ain’t different. The new Windows 10 changes its colour, its skin mostly, from blue to green. Bien venue the Green Screen of Death. Farewell the Blue Screen of Death.

Another desperate move of Microsoft is to monetise its Windows operating systems. Patch Tuesday began to disappear from October 2016 onwards, replaced by a single security-only update through Microsoft Security Bulletins or Microsoft Security Updates. Quality updates are the terms. Such an oxymoron. As you might have known, every update means cumulating the time bombs for your Windows to k-boom, frying the motherboards, harddrives, graphic cards. Ugh. I’m just saying.

An update to some Windows fonts can force you to reinstall the whole operating system from the scratch. Those are the botches supplied with and in the past Patch Tuesdays. Microsoft began to insist “No More Pick-and-Choose Patching”.

krebsonsecurity, Microsoft: No More Pick-and-Choose Patching, Oct. 2016, https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/10/microsoft-no-more-pick-and-choose-patching/

“Windows as a service” means big, painful changes for IT pros
By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report | February 18, 2017 — 16:09 GMT (00:09 GMT+08:00)

Everything you know about Windows deployment is undergoing wrenching changes. For IT pros who’ve grown accustomed to “set it and forget it” as a management strategy, three big changes are making life much more challenging.

When Microsoft rolled out the “Windows as a Service” tagline for Windows 10, most of us assumed it was just another marketing ploy.

But as we approach Windows 10’s two-year anniversary, it’s becoming apparent that there’s some substance behind the label. And for Windows power users and IT pros, the ramifications are just beginning to become apparent.

Microsoft has published a handful of low-key technical articles covering the new rules, but some of those details have shifted over time. The maximum interval for deferring feature updates, for example, was eight months when the feature debuted in November 2015, but shrank to 180 days in the July 2016 Anniversary Update.

Even for those of us who regularly attend IT-focused conferences and keep up with deployment news, managing a Windows-based organization in this new era can be confusing. For those who are simply using Windows for day-to-day-business, the changes can appear unexpectedly. And the realization that tried-and-true workflows no longer apply isn’t sitting well with some IT pros.

For the past year, I’ve been hearing a steady stream of complaints from longtime Windows admins and users. Consistently, those grumbles all boil down to a single objection: Because of “Windows as a service,” we’re losing control of our desktop PCs.

They have a point.

For the past quarter-century, businesses running Windows have been able to count on a few constants, all of which are now changing. Consider these three major shifts:

Overly aggressive upgrade cycles

It used to be that you could install your preferred version of Windows and stick with it for nearly a decade. If you deployed Windows 7 Service Pack 1 when it was released in February 2011, for example, its feature set has been constant for the past six years and will remain unchanged for the remaining three years of its supported life.

In the new world, that upgrade cycle has shrunk to roughly 18 months, thanks to feature updates (the new term for upgrades) that can be deferred but not refused. This slide from a Microsoft presentation shows the support lifecycle for a Windows 10 feature update:

Image credit: Microsoft

Here’s how it works in practice: If you upgraded to Windows 10 Pro one year ago, in February 2016, you got the latest release, version 1511. Six months later, Microsoft released the Anniversary Update, version 1607, to the Current Branch (CB). That version was released to the Current Branch for Business (CBB) on November 29, 2016.

An option available only in business versions (Pro/Enterprise/Education) allows you to defer feature updates until they’re released to the Current Branch for Business. Using Group Policy, you can defer those updates by an additional eight months in version 1511. That means you’ll be forced to upgrade to version 1607 or later in July 2017, less than a year and a half after your initial deployment.

And that upgrade cycle is going to get tighter. In version 1607, the Group Policy to defer updates shrinks from eight months to 180 days, with a 60-day grace period at the end. In addition, Microsoft has hinted that it plans to ship two feature updates per year starting in 2017. The upshot is that you should expect to upgrade every PC in your organization roughly once a year.

That’s a big change. For small businesses that don’t have the time or technical expertise to test each new feature update in advance, it can result in major disruptions if an update breaks compatibility with a business-critical third-party app.

All-or-nothing updates

In the good old days, each month’s Patch Tuesday collection consisted of an assortment of individual updates from which you could pick and choose. The new Windows Update model packages all those security and reliability fixes into cumulative updates that can’t be unbundled. Here, too, you can only postpone installation for a few weeks. “No, thanks” is not an option for an individual update.

That design has been part of Windows 10 from the start, and in recent months it’s shifted to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well. As a result, checking Windows Update on a Windows 7 PC today no longer returns a lengthy list of individual updates; instead, you get a single rollup like the one shown here.

Cumulative updates are the new standard in all supported Windows versions.

Microsoft’s justification for this new approach makes sense, at least in theory. When Windows engineers test a new update, they use a fully patched system as the baseline. There’s no way to confirm that an update will work on a PC where you’ve been selectively applying updates. So the new model is designed to drag the entire installed base of Windows PCs, kicking and screaming if necessary, to the same baseline configuration.

This new model will take some careful attention from IT pros, who will no longer have the option to solve a compatibility problem by uninstalling a problematic update. Using Group Policy, you can defer updates for up to 30 days as you test, but if you find a problem the only option is to delay the update for a few weeks, which means you’re also skipping potentially critical security fixes.

The cumulative update model is also causing some teething pains in Redmond, where an undisclosed problem in February 2017 forced Microsoft to skip an entire Patch Tuesday cycle for the first time in history.

The death of the service pack

Windows 7 still has nearly three years left in its support lifecycle, but the one and only service pack was released more than six years ago. If you don’t know the secret recipe of updates to install , a fresh installation of Windows 7 can take several days to be fully updated.

With Windows 10, Microsoft regularly releases new installation media (in ISO format) reflecting the latest feature update. But OEM recovery partitions aren’t automatically updated, which means if you roll back an OEM device to its original factory configuration you have to download several gigabytes for the latest feature update and then another very large cumulative update to bring it current.

The bottom line with all these changes is that IT pros who’ve been used to running Windows in set-it-and-forget-it mode are going to have to begin paying closer attention, not just to what’s in this month’s updates but what’s in the pipeline for the next year.

And don’t expect Microsoft to back down on any of these decisions. There are minor changes in the pipeline to make it easier to schedule updates, but the underlying servicing and deployment models aren’t likely to change.

If you’re not paying attention, be prepared for some surprises.

on November 29, 2016. https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2016/11/29/windows-10-1607-is-now-a-current-branch-for-business-cbb-release/
secret recipe of updates to install http://www.techproresearch.com/article/four-steps-to-reduce-the-pain-of-windows-7-installations-using-cumulative-updates/

Overview of Windows as a service
Dani Halfin, Last Updated: 2/9/2017

Applies to
Windows 10
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 IoT Mobile

The Windows 10 operating system introduces a new way to build, deploy, and service Windows: Windows as a service. Microsoft has reimagined each part of the process, to simplify the lives of IT pros and maintain a consistent Windows 10 experience for its customers. These improvements focus on maximizing customer involvement in Windows development, simplifying the deployment and servicing of Windows client computers, and leveling out the resources needed to deploy and maintain Windows over time.


Prior to Windows 10, Microsoft released new versions of Windows every few years. This traditional deployment schedule imposed a training burden on users because the feature revisions were often significant. That schedule also meant waiting long periods without new features – a scenario that doesn’t work in today’s rapidly changing world, a world in which new security, management, and deployment capabilities are necessary to address challenges. Windows as a service will deliver smaller feature updates two to three times per year to help address these issues.

In the past, when Microsoft developed new versions of Windows, it typically released technical previews near the end of the process, when Windows was nearly ready to ship. With Windows 10, new features will be delivered to the Windows Insider community as soon as possible – during the development cycle, through a process called flighting – so that organizations can see exactly what Microsoft is developing and start their testing as soon as possible.

Microsoft also depends on receiving feedback from organizations throughout the development process so that it can make adjustments as quickly as possible rather than waiting until after release. For more information about the Windows Insider Program and how to sign up, see the section Windows Insider.

Of course Microsoft also performs extensive internal testing, with engineering teams installing new builds daily, and larger groups of employees installing builds frequently, all before those builds are ever released to the Windows Insider Program.


Deploying Windows 10 is simpler than with previous versions of Windows. When migrating from earlier versions of Windows, an easy in-place upgrade process can be used to automatically preserve all apps, settings, and data. And once running Windows 10, deployment of Windows 10 feature updates will be equally simple.

One of the biggest challenges for organizations when it comes to deploying a new version of Windows is compatibility testing. Whereas compatibility was previously a concern for organizations upgrading to a new version of Windows, Windows 10 is compatible with most hardware and software capable of running on Windows 7 or later. Because of this high level of compatibility, the app compatibility testing process can be greatly simplified.

Application compatibility

Application compatibility testing has historically been a burden when approaching a Windows deployment or upgrade. With Windows 10, application compatibility from the perspective of desktop applications, websites, and apps built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has improved tremendously. Microsoft understands the challenges organizations experienced when they migrated from the Windows XP operating system to Windows 7 and has been working to make Windows 10 upgrades a much better experience.

Most Windows 7-compatible desktop applications will be compatible with Windows 10 straight out of the box. Windows 10 achieved such high compatibility because the changes in the existing Win32 application programming interfaces were minimal. Combined with valuable feedback via the Windows Insider Program and telemetry data, this level of compatibility can be maintained through each feature update. As for websites, Windows 10 includes Internet Explorer 11 and its backward-compatibility modes for legacy websites. Finally, UWP apps follow a compatibility story similar to desktop applications, so most of them will be compatible with Windows 10.

For the most important business-critical applications, organizations should still perform testing on a regular basis to validate compatibility with new builds. For remaining applications, consider validating them as part of a pilot deployment process to reduce the time spent on compatibility testing. If it’s unclear whether an application is compatible with Windows 10, IT pros can either consult with the ISV or check the supported software directory at http://www.readyforwindows.com.

Device compatibility

Device compatibility in Windows 10 is also very strong; new hardware is not needed for Windows 10 as any device capable of running Windows 7 or later can run Windows 10. In fact, the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 10 are the same as those required for Windows 7. Most hardware drivers that functioned in Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7 will continue to function in Windows 10.


Traditional Windows servicing has included several release types: major revisions (e.g., the Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7 operating systems), service packs, and monthly updates. With Windows 10, there are two release types: feature updates that add new functionality two to three times per year, and quality updates that provide security and reliability fixes at least once a month.

With Windows 10, organizations will need to change the way they approach deploying updates. Servicing branches are the first way to separate users into deployment groups for feature and quality updates. With the introduction of servicing branches comes the concept of a deployment ring, which is simply a way to categorize the combination of a deployment group and a servicing branch to group devices for successive waves of deployment. For more information about developing a deployment strategy that leverages servicing branches and deployment rings, see Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates.

For information about each servicing tool available for Windows 10, see Servicing tools.

To align with this new update delivery model, Windows 10 has three servicing branches, each of which provides different levels of flexibility over when these updates are delivered to client computers. For information about the servicing branches available in Windows 10, see Servicing branches.

Feature updates

With Windows 10, Microsoft will package new features into feature updates that can be deployed using existing management tools. Because feature updates are delivered more frequently than with previous Windows releases – two to three times per year rather than every 3-5 years – changes will be in bite-sized chunks rather than all at once and end user readiness time much shorter.

Quality updates

Monthly updates in previous Windows versions were often overwhelming because of the sheer number of updates available each month. Many organizations selectively chose which updates they wanted to install and which they didn’t, and this created countless scenarios in which organizations deployed essential security updates but picked only a subset of nonsecurity fixes.

In Windows 10, rather than receiving several updates each month and trying to figure out which the organization needs, which ultimately causes platform fragmentation, administrators will see one cumulative monthly update that supersedes the previous month’s update, containing both security and nonsecurity fixes. This approach makes patching simpler and ensures that customers’ devices are more closely aligned with the testing done at Microsoft, reducing unexpected issues resulting from patching. The left side of Figure 1 provides an example of Windows 7 devices in an enterprise and what their current patch level might look like. On the right is what Microsoft’s test environment PCs contain. This drastic difference is the basis for many compatibility issues and system anomalies related to Windows updates.

Figure 1 – Comparison of patch environment in enterprise compared to test

Servicing branches

To align with the new method of delivering feature updates and quality updates in Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the concept of servicing branches to allow customers to designate how aggressively their individual devices are updated. For example, an organization may have test devices that the IT department can update with new features as soon as possible, and then specialized devices that require a longer feature update cycle to ensure continuity.

With that in mind, Microsoft offers three servicing branches for Windows 10: Current Branch (CB), Current Branch for Business (CBB), and Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB). In addition, the Windows Insider Program provides IT pros and other interested parties with prerelease Windows builds that they can test and ultimately provide feedback on to Microsoft. For details about the versions in each servicing branch, see Windows 10 release information.

The concept of servicing branches is new, but organizations can use the same management tools they used to manage updates and upgrades in previous versions of Windows. For more information about the servicing tool options for Windows 10 and their capabilities, see Servicing tools.


Servicing branches are not the only way to separate groups of devices when consuming updates. Each branch can contain subsets of devices, which staggers servicing even further. For information about the servicing strategy and ongoing deployment process for Windows 10, including the role of servicing branches, see Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates.

Current Branch

In the CB servicing model, feature updates are available as soon as Microsoft releases them. Windows 10 version 1511 had few servicing tool options to delay CB feature updates, limiting the use of the CB servicing branch. Windows 10 version 1607, however, includes more servicing tools that can delay CB feature updates for up to 180 days. The CB servicing model is ideal for pilot deployments and testing of Windows 10 feature updates and for users such as developers who need to work with the latest features immediately.

When Microsoft officially releases a feature update for Windows 10, that update is marked for CB, making it available to any PC not configured to defer feature updates so that those devices can immediately install it. Organizations that use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, or Windows Update for Business, however, can defer CB feature updates to selective devices by withholding their approval and deployment.

In this scenario, the content available for CB will be available but not necessarily immediately mandatory, depending on the policy of the management system. Only one CB build of Windows is supported at a time, so those clients not on the most current build will not receive quality updates (after a 60 day grace period) until the most current feature update has been installed. For more details about Windows 10 servicing tools, see Servicing tools.

Current Branch for Business

Organizations typically prefer to have a testing cycle before broadly deploying new features to business users. For Windows 10, most pilot testing will be done using the CB servicing branch. In contrast, the CBB servicing branch is typically used for broad deployment. Windows 10 clients in the CBB servicing branch receive the same build of Windows 10 as those in the CB servicing branch, just at a later time.

CB releases are transitioned to CBB after about 4 months, indicating that Microsoft, independent software vendors (ISVs), partners, and customers believe that the release is ready for broad deployment. Therefore, CB and CBB have an inherent “staging” effect. Both of these branches have a purpose in the overall deployment process for an enterprise, providing another layer of testing capabilities in addition to the traditional phased deployment methods to specific groups of machines. Microsoft will support two CBB builds at a time, plus a 60 day grace period. Each feature update release will be supported and updated for a minimum of 18 months.

Organizations can electively delay CB and CBB updates into as many phases as they wish by using one of the servicing tools mentioned in the section Servicing tools.

Basically, CBB is a configuration state, meaning that if a computer has the Defer Updates and Upgrades flag enabled-either through Group Policy, a mobile device management product like Microsoft Intune, or manually on the client-it’s considered to be in the CBB servicing branch. The benefit of tying this servicing model and CB to a configuration state rather than a SKU is that they are easily interchangeable. If an organization accidentally selects CBB on a machine that doesn’t need delayed updates, it’s simple to change it back.

Long-term Servicing Branch

Specialized systems-such as PCs that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs-often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose. These devices typically perform a single important task and don’t need feature updates as frequently as other devices in the organization. It’s more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than up to date with user interface changes.

The LTSB servicing model prevents Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB devices from receiving the usual feature updates and provides only quality updates to ensure that device security stays up to date. With this in mind, quality updates are still immediately available to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB clients, but customers can choose to defer them by using one of the servicing tools mentioned in the section Servicing tools.


LTSB is not intended for deployment on most or all the PCs in an organization; it should be used only for special-purpose devices. As a general guideline, a PC with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the CB or CBB servicing branch.

Microsoft never publishes feature updates through Windows Update on devices that run Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. Instead, it typically offers new LTSB releases every 2-3 years, and organizations can choose to install them as in-place upgrades or even skip releases over a 10-year life cycle.

Windows 10 LTSB will support the currently released silicon at the time of release of the LTSB. As future silicon generations are released, support will be created through future Windows 10 LTSB releases that customers can deploy for those systems. For more information, see Supporting the latest processor and chipsets on Windows in Lifecycle support policy FAQ – Windows Products.

LTSB is available only in the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition. This build of Windows doesn’t contain many in-box applications, such as Microsoft Edge, Windows Store client, Cortana (limited search capabilities remain available), Microsoft Mail, Calendar, OneNote, Weather, News, Sports, Money, Photos, Camera, Music, and Clock. Therefore, it’s important to remember that Microsoft has positioned the LTSB model primarily for specialized devices.


If an organization has devices currently running Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB that it would like to change to the CB or CBB servicing branch, it can make the change without losing user data. Because LTSB is its own SKU, however, an upgrade is required from Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB to Windows 10 Enterprise, which supports CB and CBB.

Windows Insider

For many IT pros, gaining visibility into feature updates early-before they’re available to the CB servicing branch-can be both intriguing and valuable for future end user communications as well as provide additional prestaging for CB machines. With Windows 10, feature flighting enables Windows Insiders to consume and deploy preproduction code to their test machines, gaining early visibility into the next build.

Testing the early builds of Windows 10 helps both Microsoft and its customers because they have the opportunity to discover possible issues before the update is ever publicly available and can report it to Microsoft. Also, as flighted builds get closer to their release to CB, organizations can test their deployment on test devices for compatibility validation.

Microsoft recommends that all organizations have at least a few PCs enrolled in the Windows Insider Program and provide feedback on any issues they encounter. For information about how to sign up for the Windows Insider Program and enroll test devices, go to https://insider.windows.com.


Microsoft recommends that all organizations have at least a few PCs enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, to include the Windows Insider Program in their deployment plans and to provide feedback on any issues they encounter to Microsoft via our Feedback Hub app.

The Windows Insider Program isn’t intended to replace CB deployments in an organization. Rather, it provides IT pros and other interested parties with pre-release Windows builds that they can test and ultimately provide feedback on to Microsoft.

Servicing tools

There are many tools with which IT pros can service Windows as a service. Each option has its pros and cons, ranging from capabilities and control to simplicity and low administrative requirements. The following are examples of the servicing tools available to manage Windows as a service updates:

Windows Update (stand-alone) provides limited control over feature updates, with IT pros manually configuring the device to be in the CBB servicing branch. Organizations can control which devices defer updates and stay in the CBB servicing branch or remain in CB by selecting the Defer upgrades check box in Start\Settings\Update & Security\Advanced Options on a Windows 10 client.

Windows Update for Business is the second option for servicing Windows as a service. This servicing tool includes a little more control over update deferment and provides centralized management using Group Policy. In Windows 10 version 1511, Windows Update for Business can be used to defer feature updates for up to 8 months and quality updates for up to 4 weeks. Also, these deferment options were available only to clients in the CBB servicing branch. In Windows 10 version 1607 and later, Windows Update for Business can be used to defer feature updates for up to 180 days and quality updates for up to 30 days. These deployment options are available to clients in either the CB or CBB servicing branch. In addition to being able to use Group Policy to manage Windows Update for Business, either option can be configured without requiring any on-premises infrastructure by using Intune.

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) provides extensive control over Windows 10 updates and is natively available in the Windows Server operating system. In addition to the ability to defer updates, organizations can add an approval layer for updates and choose to deploy them to specific computers or groups of computers whenever ready.

System Center Configuration Manager provides the greatest control over servicing Windows as a service. IT pros can defer updates, approve them, and have multiple options for targeting deployments and managing bandwidth usage and deployment times.

With all these options, which an organization chooses depends on the resources, staff, and expertise its IT organization already has. For example, if IT already uses System Center Configuration Manager to manage Windows updates, it can continue to use it. Similarly, if IT is using WSUS, it can continue to use that. For a consolidated look at the benefits of each tool, see Table 1.

Table 1
Servicing tool Can updates be deferred? Ability to approve updates Peer-to-peer option Additional features
Windows Update Yes (manual) No Delivery Optimization None
Windows Update for Business Yes No Delivery Optimization Other Group Policy objects
WSUS Yes Yes BranchCache or Delivery Optimization Upstream/downstream server scalability
Configuration Manager Yes Yes BranchCache, Client Peer Cache Distribution points, multiple deployment options

Steps to manage updates for Windows 10

to do Learn about updates and servicing branches (this topic)
to do Prepare servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates
to do Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates
to do Assign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates
to do Optimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates
to do Manage updates using Windows Update for Business
or Manage Windows 10 updates using Windows Server Update Services
or Manage Windows 10 updates using System Center Configuration Manager

Related topics

Update Windows 10 in the enterprise
Quick guide to Windows as a service
Manage updates for Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise and Windows 10 IoT Mobile
Configure Delivery Optimization for Windows 10 updates
Configure BranchCache for Windows 10 updates
Configure Windows Update for Business
Integrate Windows Update for Business with management solutions
Walkthrough: use Group Policy to configure Windows Update for Business
Walkthrough: use Intune to configure Windows Update for Business
Manage device restarts after updates

Windows Insider community https://insider.windows.com/
Windows Insider https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview#windows-insider
deployment ring https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-deployment-rings-windows-10-updates
Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-servicing-strategy-windows-10-updates
Servicing tools https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview#servicing-tools
Servicing branches https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview#servicing-branches
Windows 10 release information https://technet.microsoft.com/windows/release-info.aspx
Servicing tools https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview#servicing-tools
Plan servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-servicing-strategy-windows-10-updates
Servicing tools https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview#servicing-tools
Lifecycle support policy FAQ – Windows Products https://support.microsoft.com/help/18581/lifecycle-support-policy-faq-windows-products
Prepare servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-servicing-strategy-windows-10-updates
Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-deployment-rings-windows-10-updates
Assign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-servicing-branches-windows-10-updates
Optimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-optimize-windows-10-updates
Manage updates using Windows Update for Business https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-manage-updates-wufb
Manage Windows 10 updates using Windows Server Update Services https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-manage-updates-wsus
Manage Windows 10 updates using System Center Configuration Manager https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-manage-updates-configuration-manager

Quick guide to Windows as a service
Dani Halfin, Last Updated: 1/27/2017

Applies to
Windows 10
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 IoT Mobile

Windows as a service is a new concept, introduced with the release of Windows 10. While an extensive set of documentation is available explaining all the specifics and nuances, here is a quick guide to the most important concepts.


Some new terms have been introduced as part of Windows as a service, so you should know what these terms mean.

Feature updates will be released two to three times per year. As the name suggests, these will add new features to Windows 10, delivered in bite-sized chunks compared to the previous practice of Windows releases every 3-5 years.
Quality updates are released monthly, delivering both security and non-security fixes. These are cumulative, so installing the latest quality update is sufficient to get all the available fixes for a specific Windows 10 feature update.
Insider Preview builds are made available during the development of the features that will be shipped in the next feature update, enabling organizations to validate new features as well as compatibility with existing apps and infrastructure, providing feedback to Microsoft on any issues encountered.
Servicing branches allow organizations to choose when to deploy new features. Current Branch (CB) deploys the fastest, soon after a feature update is released. Current Branch for Business (CBB) defers the installation of the same feature update by about four months, until that feature update is considered ready for broad deployment. Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) is different, used only for specialized devices (which typically don’t run Office) such as those that control medical equipment or ATM machines that need to be kept stable and secure.
Deployment rings are groups of devices used to initially pilot, and then to broadly deploy, each feature update in an organization.

See Overview of Windows as a service for more information.

Key Concepts

New feature update releases are initially considered Current Branch (CB) releases; organizations will use these for pilot deployments to ensure compatibility with existing apps and infrastructure. After about four months, the feature update will be declared as Current Branch for Business (CBB), indicating that it is ready for broad deployment.

Each Windows 10 feature update (which initially begins as CB and then is declared as CBB) will be serviced with quality updates for a minimum of 18 months after it is released. The total length of time can be longer, as there will be two CBB releases serviced at all times. There will be a minimum of 60 days advanced notice (a grace period) after a CBB declaration occurs before an older feature update is no longer serviced.

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB is a separate Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) version. Each release is supported for a total of 10 years (five years standard support, five years extended support). New releases are expected about every three years.

See Assign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates for more information.

Staying up to date

The process for keeping Windows 10 up to date involves deploying a feature update, at an appropriate time after its release. A variety of tools management and patching tools such as Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services, System Center Configuration Manager, and third-party products) can be used to help with this process. Windows Upgrade Analytics, a free tool to streamline Windows upgrade projects, is another important tool to help.

Because app compatibility, both for desktop apps and web apps, is outstanding with Windows 10, extensive advanced testing isn’t required. Instead, only business-critical apps need to be tested, with the remaining apps validated through a series of pilot deployment rings. Once these pilot deployments have validated most apps and CBB has been declared, broad deployment can begin.

This process repeats with each new feature update, two to three times per year. These are small deployment projects, compared to the big projects that were necessary with the old three-to-five-year Windows release cycles.

Additional technologies such as BranchCache and Delivery Optimization, both peer-to-peer distribution tools, can help with the distribution of the feature update installation files.

See Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates and Optimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates for more information.

Video: An overview of Windows as a service

Learn More

Adopting Windows as a service at Microsoft https://www.microsoft.com/itshowcase/Article/Content/851/Adopting-Windows-as-a-service-at-Microsoft

Related topics

Update Windows 10 in the enterprise https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-update-windows-10
Manage updates for Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise and Windows 10 IoT Mobile https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-mobile-updates
Configure Delivery Optimization for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-delivery-optimization
Configure BranchCache for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-branchcache
Configure Windows Update for Business https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-configure-wufb
Integrate Windows Update for Business with management solutions https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-integrate-wufb
Walkthrough: use Group Policy to configure Windows Update for Business https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-wufb-group-policy
Walkthrough: use Intune to configure Windows Update for Business https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-wufb-intune
Manage device restarts after updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-restart

Overview of Windows as a service https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-overview
Assign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-servicing-branches-windows-10-updates
Windows Upgrade Analytics https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/upgrade-analytics
Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-deployment-rings-windows-10-updates
Optimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/waas-optimize-windows-10-updates

Resource: How Microsoft Implements Windows as a Service (WaaS)
Richard Haas, Dec 27, 2016

Since the initial release of Windows 10 back in July of 2015, everyone has slowly been evolving their own processes for managing updates for Microsoft’s latest operating system using the methodology called Windows as a Service (WaaS).

This process means a much faster pace of updates than we have ever experience with Windows in the past and it takes a good understanding of what WaaS is and how organizations can implement it within their own companies.

Recently one of IT Pro’s trusted voices, John Savill, wrote about WaaS and the various branches of Windows 10 that help System and IT admins to manage the distribution of updates to their users without disrupting workflows or introducing new features too quickly.

Of course, Microsoft is well known for dog fooding their own software and services and they have been testing this WaaS process well before Windows 10 was released 17 months ago. That means they have more than two years of experience in this process.

In a new white paper released last week, Microsoft shares those experiences of working with WaaS inside the company. The five page Word document takes you through the background of WaaS and its origins all the way to optimizing content delivery.

The paper is broken down into these areas:

Evolving the enterprise adoption approach
Setting up the environment for upgrade success
Leveraging our early adoption community
Creating agile adoption processes
Creating visual prooject work boards
Application readiness and compatibility testing
Using Windows Upgrade Analytics
Lowering support costs through self-service support
Driving user behaviors through creative communication

Choosing a deployment mechanism for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Optimizing Content distribution
For more information

Download the Adopting Windows as a Service at Microsoft White Paper https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54529

wrote about WaaS and the various branches of Windows 10 http://windowsitpro.com/windows-10/what-new-features-have-been-added-windows-10-so-far
dog fooding https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_your_own_dog_food
new white paper released last week https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54529

Windows as a Service: What’s it mean?
By Ryan Faas, Computerworld | Jul 15, 2016 2:58 AM PT

The era of perpetual licenses isn’t likely to go away anytime soon

The idea that Microsoft would eventually unveil a subscription licensing model for Windows 10 — the so-called Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) model — has been bandied about for a while now. This week Microsoft made that idea real, but only for enterprise customers. At its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, the company announced the details of Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and Windows Enterprise E5.

Both of the new Windows 10 variations will be subscription options for Windows 10 Enterprise (which may explain why Windows in the enterprise was not part of the Windows 10 free upgrade program that ends later this month). Both Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 will also bundle other Microsoft services, and include Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security — a set of tools for managing mobile apps and devices and integrating them with a range of enterprise cloud services.

Windows Enterprise E5 will also include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a cloud-based, post-breach detection and remediation service that Microsoft unveiled in February (and has offered to testers from the general public since May).

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Microsoft made that idea real http://www.computerworld.com/article/3094813/microsoft-windows/microsoft-amps-up-windows-as-a-subscription-effort.html
Enterprise Mobility + Security https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2016/07/07/introducing-enterprise-mobility-security/

5 things you should know about Windows as a Service
By Mary Branscombe, April 13, 2016

We bust the myths surrounding Windows as a Service


Note: Our Windows as a Service feature has been fully updated. This article was first published in June 2015.

Windows 10 isn’t really the last version of Windows. It will be the last version number though, because new features and improvements are designed to come out as part of Windows 10 rather than as new releases you have to upgrade to.

Some of those will be smaller fixes and updates; some will be larger upgrades, like the November update late last year, and the major Anniversary Update (previously known as Redstone part one) which is due to land this summer with a raft of improvements. All these are delivered through Windows Update and Windows Update for Business, something Microsoft refers to as Windows as a Service. But what does that actually mean?

In this slideshow, we will answer that central question, and other queries you may have about Windows 10 along these lines…

It’s not really a service

The phrase ‘as a Service’ usually means that you’re not getting software to run on your PC and instead use a cloud service (that may or may not have software for your devices to use with some of the features available).

Windows as a Service is the full version of Windows, in whatever SKU you use, running on your PCs as usual. Microsoft is using the name because ‘servicing’ is the way it refers to what most people call updating and patching. When you see the phrase ‘always up to date with the latest features and security updates’, that’s Windows as a Service.

Windows 365 confusion

Last year, you might have heard about Microsoft registering a domain with the Windows 365 name – it’s most likely the firm did that to stop anyone else using it and confusing users, because that’s not what Microsoft calls Windows as a Service. And unlike Office 365, you don’t pay a monthly fee to get new features (or even the right to keep using the software).

The confusion arose because the free upgrade to Windows 10 (Home and Pro editions) is only available to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year after Windows 10 launched (the offer expires at the end of July 2016). If you wait longer than that and then you want to upgrade, Microsoft will charge you to get Windows 10 (that might be as much as the full Windows 10 licence, as previous upgrade prices have been available for limited periods of time). But once you get Windows 10, you’ll get free security and feature updates, for “the supported lifetime of the device”.

The phrase supported lifetime refers to the fact that OEMs don’t support PC models forever – after a certain point, they stop releasing drivers for older PCs. If a new feature comes along in Windows that needs an updated driver and the PC vendor is no longer supporting the device and doesn’t release a new driver, then that new feature isn’t going to work for you.

Windows 10 Enterprise isn’t a free upgrade at all, but if you have Software Assurance as part of your Windows Enterprise volume licence you’ll have the right to upgrade. SA is a subscription, and that hasn’t changed.

It’s only for Windows 10

Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 will carry on getting security updates for as long as they’re supported by Microsoft, but the continuing new features are only for Windows 10. That’s also true for the Windows Update for Business service, where businesses can choose to deliver fixes through their own version of the Windows Update system.

Consumers and businesses update differently

The Windows 10 Home edition comes with automatic system updates; you have to be using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise to be able to delay or turn off feature updates. If you keep updates on, you’ll always have the latest version of Windows, which Microsoft calls the ‘current branch’.

If you want to get previews of new features before everyone else, you can join the Windows Insider program and get Windows 10 preview builds. This system offers different ‘rings’ you can join depending on how adventurous you are (those on the fast ring get updates sooner, but they’re likely to encounter more bugs as a result).

For businesses, there are two things to think about with updates. One is that the branches are slightly different. The Current Branch for Business (which is available for both Windows Pro and Enterprise) gets security updates straight away, and feature updates regularly – but not until the current branch for consumers has had those features for several months (long enough to show that there aren’t any problems with them).

Windows 10 Enterprise customers with Software Assurance who have PCs running critical systems where they can’t risk changes and incompatibilities can also opt for the Long Term Servicing branch that gets security and critical updates (via Windows Update for Windows Server Update Services), but doesn’t get feature updates for the five or ten years of mainstream and extended support.

New Long Term Servicing branches with some new features will be released (probably at the same two to three year interval that service packs used to arrive at) and you’ll be able to upgrade to the next Long Term Servicing branch when it comes out. You can also switch PCs between current and Long Term Service branches.

The other option businesses have is the free Windows Update for Business option for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. This gives you the same updates, but with more control over exactly when they roll out. You can put different PCs into different distribution rings, so enthusiastic users get new features more quickly and critical teams like the finance department get them more slowly.

You can also set maintenance windows – that could mean no PCs get rebooted for updates during business hours, or no-one in the finance department will have their PC rebooted for an update during the last week of the quarter when they’re working on financial reports.

Feature creep

When Windows 10 launched last year, there were some features that weren’t available straight away. And indeed, some of those features still aren’t available now – like support for extensions in the Edge browser (although these are now in preview builds of the OS) and the replacement for placeholders in OneDrive (there’s still no word on when that will be sorted).

Obviously enough, if you’re not allowing Windows Update to deliver features as well as security updates, you won’t get these new features when they do arrive.

So what new features are coming next? As we’ve already mentioned, the next major upgrade is the Anniversary Update, which will see the aforementioned extensions for Edge finally go live – and a whole lot more than this.

Including a very unexpected move by Microsoft, the introduction of Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows you to run a number of Linux binaries like the Bash shell. Redmond is also incorporating support for Docker containers in Windows 10.

As you would expect, Cortana will get various improvements including chat bot integration, so the digital assistant can pull off tricks like noticing you’re working late and offering to order some take-out food.

We can also expect to see the usual tweaks to the UI such as modifications to the Start menu, things like alerts from Android phones being brought to Windows 10 desktops, and better support for stylus users thanks to the new Ink feature – which will also hook up with Cortana so you can scribble reminders which the assistant will file and activate at the appropriate time.

This Anniversary Update gives us a good idea of how Windows as a Service is shaping up, and it seems that these major upgrades will be happening once or twice per year (there will likely only be one this year, as the following one is rumoured to be slated for early 2017).

It’s Microsoft’s hope that this new service model will mean less disruption to users going forward, as it avoids the need to go through the hassle of installing a whole new version of Windows every few years.

Anniversary Update http://www.techradar.com/news/software/windows-ink-puts-the-pen-to-screen-in-windows-10-s-big-anniversary-update-1318034
Try the Windows 10 Anniversary Update before it’s released http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/try-the-windows-10-anniversary-update-before-it-s-released-1318490
Office 365 http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/home-and-reference-software/microsoft-office-365-980626/review
free upgrade to Windows 10 http://www.techradar.com/news/software/windows-10-is-headed-your-way-for-one-year-for-free-1281048
Windows 7 http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/software/operating-systems/windows-7-622923/review
now in preview builds http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/microsoft-finally-brings-extensions-to-edge-browser-on-windows-10-1317236
OneDrive http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/cloud-services/best-cloud-storage-dropbox-vs-skydrive-vs-google-drive-vs-icloud-1120024
whole lot more than this http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/windows-10-anniversary-update-s-big-secret-it-s-called-windows-as-a-service-1318747
Start menu http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/here-s-a-sneak-peak-at-microsoft-s-new-windows-10-start-menu-1318267
from Android phones http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/windows-10-will-let-you-get-android-notifications-on-your-pc-1318155

What is Windows as a Service?
Rod Trent, May 15, 2015

When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would become a Windows as a Service model, rumors started surfacing that, even though the company promised to supply Windows 10 for free to eligible recipients, customers would have to start paying for it eventually. And, while the book isn’t exactly closed on that, Gabe Aul was asked on Twitter recently about a potential for a yearly subscription fee for Windows.

Here’s what Gabe answered…
@briguy943 “Windows as a service” just means that we’ll continuously keep it up to date. There is no ongoing fee.

  • Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) May 12, 2015

How is this different from past Windows versions? Not too much. And, if the recent announcement of the various versions releasing of Windows 10 is any indication, it seems that the term Windows as a Service is what happens when sales and marketing win a heated fight over logic and better product alignment. Explained this way, it’s an almost benign and expected solution.

We’re still trying to come to terms with what Microsoft is planning, and I’m sure there’s big discussions still going on inside the Redmond compound, but it seems that the idea is less about Windows as a Service and more about Servicing for Windows. Maybe Microsoft’s messaging and branding folks should take a class from Gabe in clear communications.

M Wagner, May 15, 2015

We forget that most users have never paid a fee for Windows. The OEM paid Microsoft for Windows and, depending on the model of the PC, the user could pay a modest fee for an upgrade from the Home edition to the Pro edition. Most consumers do not upgrade the OS until they replace the PC they have with a newer PC.

Relatively few of us purchase an upgrade through the OEM, or through a retailer, or even directly from Microsoft. In each case, those are individual decisions. Clearly, Microsoft wants to reduce the number of versions of Windows it has to support.

Clearly, Microsoft wants to move as many of its users to Windows 10 as soon as possible in order to reduce the number of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 instances it has to support between now and 2020/23 and what better way than to offer free upgrades on compatible hardware?

I think the point of “Windows as a Service” is to get away from “versions” of Windows which may or may not be in demand.

By removing the “typical” consumer from the income stream, Microsoft can better anticipate its revenue since it will come almost entirely from its OEMs and its volume-license customer. Further, consumers will no longer have to decide whether or not to upgrade their OS (or otherwise replace their PC) to get the latest features. They will get them automatically.

I would be surprised if, in the summer of 2016, MS moves Windows 10 to a subscription service because doing so leaves users (those unwilling to pay) without the latest features (and perhaps without security updates). If updates truly are for the supported life of the hardware, and if Microsoft sticks with its plan that “Current Build” customers will be required to accept ALL updates, there will be fewer instances of Windows which are not up-to-date. This can only be good for both consumers and Microsoft.

various versions releasing of Windows 10 http://windowsitpro.com/windows-10/one-windows-six-editions

Windows as a Service: The pros and cons
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for Hardware 2.0 | January 23, 2015 — 12:05 GMT (20:05 GMT+08:00)

The most important announcement at Microsoft’s Windows 10 demo in Redmond the other day wasn’t Windows 10 or Cortana, or even holograms. It was these four words: Windows as a Service.

The most important announcement at Microsoft’s Windows 10 demo in Redmond the other day wasn’t Windows 10 or Cortana, or even holograms. It was these four words: Windows as a Service.

Windows as a Service has been on the cards for some time. The idea is that Windows will transition away from being a monolithic product that sees periodic major releases to a product that’s continually being updated and tweaked in the background.

Think Office 365 or Google’s Chrome or Gmail.

Windows 10 will be the platform that paves the way for this change, but it’s just the beginning, and transitioning Windows from monolithic releases to a service is going to mean big changes within the industry as a whole. And as always there are going to be pros and cons.


1: Microsoft is thinking about device lifespans rather than Windows versions

Microsoft’s announcement that everyone running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 would be given a free upgrade to Windows 10 (for the first year following its release) was just the beginning. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, went on to clarify:

“This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no cost. With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service – in fact, one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet.”

This represents a monumental change in how Microsoft looks at the hardware landscape.

It means that users always get access to the latest operating system, assuming that their hardware can handle it, and should help prevent a situation where people are running ancient versions of Windows. It’s a model similar to how iOS, OS X, and in an ideal world, Android, works, and it is what consumers now expect.

2: Grand unification of Windows

With Windows 10 Microsoft is finally removing the fence that separates PCs from mobile. No more Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone… just Windows.

3: People love free stuff

People love free stuff, and the chance to get Windows 10 for free will no doubt generate buzz and goodwill. On top of that, the announcement that everyone gets a free upgrade means that PC sales won’t get hit as people wait for the new release.


1: What about the future costs?

While Windows 10 will be offered free of charge to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 for a year, questions remain about the long-term model. Will this be a pay-per-device model, a yearly contract, or some hybrid depending on what the user wants?

Right now Microsoft is not willing to talk dollars and cents.

2: Will Windows be in a constant state of flux?

Another thing that worries me about Windows as a Service is that it means that the Windows platform will be in a constant state of flux. Buying a Windows license used to mean buying into a product lifecycle that was road-mapped out in advance.

Windows as a Service paves the way for new features to be shoehorned in as and when needed, and while some will no doubt enjoy that, it could be a nightmare for enterprise users. I can only hope that Microsoft offers a way for users to get critical system updates separate to non-critical updates. Time will tell.

3: OEMs are left out in the cold

Windows as a Service means no more big monolithic upgrade cycles, which in turn means that hardware OEMs don’t get to enjoy the harvest time that follows. PC sales are already subdued and new releases of Windows don’t seem to do that much to buoy them anyway, so the effect shouldn’t be catastrophic for OEMs, but it could still mean trouble ahead, especially for the smaller players.

4: Upgrading can be hell

Microsoft is hoping that offering free Windows 10 upgrades people won’t hold off buying new PCs in the run up to the release. However, canny buyers know that operating system updates can be hell, especially when you are dealing with OEM-built systems.

Being offered a free upgrade doesn’t mean that the future won’t be paved with driver issues and software incompatibilities.

5: Free stuff is still free

No matter how good Windows 10 is, giving it away for free is an indication of how much the landscape has changed over the past couple of decades. The days of people buying new PCs or overpriced upgrades are over. With so much shiny stuff out there for people to spend their money on, people are no longer willing to drop $100 on a new OS.

The unknowns

1: Microsoft’s bottom line

No idea what this change in the way Windows is both developed and released will have on revenues. But traditionally Microsoft has enjoyed increased revenues around the time that new versions of Windows.

If Windows as a Service ends up being a one-time fee when the device is purchased, then revenues are at the mercy of sales. However, if it becomes a pay-to-play scenario where everyone ‘rents’ Windows for a fixed period then this could help spread revenue and smooth out the peaks and troughs.

2: Uncertainty

Right now the idea of a free upgrade to Windows 10 seems compelling enough, but beyond that there will be uncertainty. Enterprise users will be especially sensitive to any licensing changes that will result in increased costs.

Windows 10 http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-to-make-windows-10-free-to-windows-7-8-1-and-windows-phone-8-1-users/
Cortana http://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-can-cortana-persuade-us-to-talk-to-our-tech/
went on to clarify http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/01/21/the-next-generation-of-windows-windows-10/

Windows Users Are Unhappy with Intrusive Adverts
by: SaM, Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Windows 10 users didn’t like the way Microsoft inserted adverts for its OneDrive cloud service directly into the File Explorer. These adverts show up when you are trying to manage files in a dedicated pane at the top of the Quick Access view within File Explorer. Microsoft explained that such ads are part of the so-called “sync provider notifications” in the new Windows 10 Creators Update. It is beta testing at the moment and is scheduled to roll out to all users in 2017.

In the meantime, Microsoft explained that users could opt out of receiving such ads and said that the new tips notifications within the File Explorer were intended to help users by providing quick and easy information to enhance their experience. However, many users don’t find it a “helpful tip”, but call them “disgraceful” and “disgusting” instead.

The industry experts remind that this was not the first time the software maker had displayed ads within its OS: before upgrading to Windows 10, it injected nagging adverts and notifications into Windows 7 and 8. Moreover, Microsoft was forced to pay out compensation over automatic Windows 10 installs and even tried to pay users to switch from Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox to its Edge browser.

The critics argue that Windows 10 is also permeated with adverts masquerading as “helpful tips” – the Start menu is plastered with pinned ads, randomly injected into the program list. Besides, the ads pop up asking about Office 365 and tell you about OneDrive when you open File Explorer or accidentally click on the OneDrive link, let alone when you highlight the OneDrive link with the keyboard. Although many of these adverts can indeed be turned off, they’re all on by default, which many users consider “pretty ridiculous.”

Microsoft assured that you could turn off the advertisement of Edge, which may pop up when you use other web browsers, by disabling the “get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows” option in the notification settings. If you want to turn off the OneDrive adverts within File Explorer, you need to turn off “Show sync provider notifications”, which is not really easy to find: you will have to dig through 4 successive menus within the Advanced Settings of File Explorer’s Folder Options.