Windows 11 Management: How Different Will It Be?

For organizations and partners concerned about how well current Windows 10 tools will work on Windows 11, Microsoft this week indicated that they'll "just work."

In an announcement Wednesday, Steve Dispensa, vice president of enterprise management at Microsoft, said policies for Windows 10 set via Group Policy and tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager will "just work on Windows 11." The policies get labeled "Windows 10 and later," rather than "Windows 11."

Dispensa added that "Windows 11 can easily co-exist and run side-by-side with Windows 10 as you roll out."

Current tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manger Configuration Manager, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit "will work the same way in Windows 11."

For Windows 11 updates, there will be "a few more granular controls," Dispensa said. Only the necessary bits get pulled down to a machine when updating, which "reduces update sizes by around 40%," he indicated.

Users of the Windows Update for Business service will be able to use Windows Update to just get "drivers and critical security updates," while separately controlling the arrival of Windows 11 feature updates via Microsoft Endpoint Manger Configuration Manager.

"That way you can set up policies that immediately apply software updates for cases to address zero-day vulnerabilities while keeping control of feature update timelines," Dispensa said.

Dispensa is apparently referring to the Windows Update for Business Deployment Service, a cloud-based service that adds more controls for IT pros and works with Windows Update for Business policies. It requires having E3-type licensing and was supposed to have been commercially released in the first half of this year.

Windows 11 "feature updates," which are new operating system versions that arrive once per year, are said to be less disruptive for end users. Microsoft uses artificial intelligence to gauge user active hours. Feature updates get applied when users are away from their PCs.

Currently at the preview stage, Windows 11 is expected to reach commercial release in October. A new Windows 11 version is supported for 24 months with the Home and Pro editions. Windows 11 users get 36 months of support with the Enterprise and Education editions.

About the Author

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