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Windows 10 Gets Enterprise-Ready with 'Threshold 2' Release

Windows 10's first major update, code-named "Threshold 2," began rolling out on Thursday.

The new update, which Microsoft officially calls the "November update," includes a number of usability improvements, such as a boost in performance and added features to components of the OS, including Cortana and the Edge browser. It also marks the launch of the Windows Store for Business.

The November Update is critical for those considering rolling Windows 10 for businesses, said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post announcing the release. Also known as Version 1511, the update is available on MSDN.

"With this update, there are improvements in all aspects of the platform and experience, including thousands of partners updating their device drivers and applications for great Windows 10 compatibility," Myerson said. "Windows 10 also starts rolling out to Xbox One today and select mobile phones soon. But most importantly, with this free update we have reached the point in the platform's maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations."

While Myerson claimed that  the update offers improved performance and boot time, he underscored that with this release Windows 10 is now ready for enterprises thanks to the availability of Windows Store for Business and Windows Update for Business.

"Windows Store for Business provides IT a flexible way to find, acquire, manage and distribute apps to Windows 10 devices -- both Windows Store apps and custom line of business apps," Myerson said. "Organizations can choose their preferred distribution method by directly assigning apps, publishing apps to a private store or connecting with management solutions."

As reported last week, the Windows Store for Business will be critical to enterprises looking to deploy their own custom-developed Universal Windows Apps that aren't in the general Windows Store and enable private stores and application license management.

Meanwhile, Microsoft claims that Windows Update for Business will add management controls for IT pros. For instance, they can set up Windows 10 device groups for end users with staged deployments.

The November update also includes support for mobile device management and Azure Active Directory Join, allowing users to have one log-in while allowing administrators to join any Windows 10 device to an enterprise domain.

The update now lets users turn off telemetry data, though Microsoft recommends against doing so. Not included in this update but "coming soon," according to Myerson, is enterprise data protection, allowing organizations to segregate enterprise data from personal information and content.

The new features added to Cortana include the ability to recognize e-mail addresses and phone numbers, event tracking, the ability to book rides on Uber (which Microsoft has invested in) and support for additional countries besides the United States, including Japan, Australia, Canada and India. The Edge browser also has improved performance, security and preview capabilities.

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.