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Windows 10 Gets Its First Cumulative Update

Microsoft issued Windows 10's "first" cumulative update on Wednesday, just one week after the operating system officially launched.

For lack of a better description, this cumulative update can be known by its Knowledge Base article number, KB3081424. Microsoft's Knowledge Base article simply provides a list of the files that got changed, but no descriptions of what changed. All of the changes are described as "non-security related changes." This update will add new features to the OS and it will add improvements to existing ones.

As a cumulative update, this release contains all of the changes since the last release of Windows 10, so organizations and individuals will just get the changed bits that they don't already have. Microsoft had previously indicated that its future Windows 10 releases would be cumulative ones.

It's Not SR1
Press accounts anticipating this release have labeled it in advance as "Service Release 1," or "SR1," but Microsoft isn't using that phrase. Gabriel Aul, Microsoft's main spokesperson for the Windows Insider releases, indicated in a Tweet on Wednesday that this Windows 10 cumulative update "doesn't have a name."

Aul, incidentally, was recently promoted to vice president of engineering systems for Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, according to this Microsoft News story.

Some tech writers are disputing whether this cumulative update release is the first one or not. Another dispute is whether there actually was an RTM release of Windows 10. Such information might be useful for IT pros, but Microsoft seems to be deliberately ignoring its past nomenclature used to describe release milestones in its new "Windows as a service" world.

This release is just one of many more to come, it seems. An analyst with Gartner Inc., though, has said that Windows 10 feature update releases are planned by Microsoft for every four months, which is more information than Microsoft has indicated.

In the new Windows as a service world, it appears that organizations can expect Windows 10 updates to appear whenever they are ready. The updates can be large ones, too, although Microsoft has a peer-to-peer PC upgrade scheme turned on by default to address potential bandwidth hits. This "Windows Update Delivery Optimization" capability creates an update cache on PCs in a local network and then transfers the bits needed to other PCs in the network, according to Microsoft's FAQ on the topic.

Service Branch Controls
Organizations have some control over Windows 10 updates based on Microsoft's service-branch models. Microsoft has three service branches for Windows 10. The "current branch" functions much like Windows Update and streams changes to the desktop. The "current branch for business" model adds the ability to defer updates for eight months. Lastly, the "long-term servicing branch" provides something akin to traditional service-pack controls over feature updates. Organizations only must take security updates under the long-term servicing branch option.

Traditional Microsoft management tools, such as the latest System Center Configuration Manager solutions and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), can be used with the Windows Update for Business service to control patch delivery for Pro and Enterprise Windows 10 editions, according to Microsoft's descriptions. Those descriptions, though, have been vague so far.

Individual Windows 10 users that accepted Microsoft's free upgrade offer from Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 won't be able to defer updates. They are on the current branch servicing model.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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