Microsoft Looks To Avoid Hiccups With Next Windows 10 Feature Update


Microsoft is signaling that it's learned from the troubled launch of fall’s Windows 10 feature update.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said that for the next feature update—the Windows 10 May 2019 Update—additional time will be taken gathering feedback from testers before making the update broadly available.

[Related: Microsoft Resumes Windows 10 October 2018 Rollout]

The move comes after Microsoft had to halt the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update for more than a month, following reports of user files being deleted.

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"The final May 2019 Update build will spend increased time in the Release Preview Ring of the Windows Insider Program, allowing us to gather more feedback and insights on compatibility and performance at scale before making the update more broadly available," wrote Mike Fortin, corporate vice president for Windows, in a blog post.

Microsoft expects expanded interaction with partners including OEMs and ISVs to help improve initial quality, Fortin wrote.

The company will also internally deploy the May 2019 Update to employees, and encourage employees to try the update on their personal devices, as well.

"By carefully studying data from this expanded population and for this additional time, we will gain increased confidence in Windows quality before offering it to a broader audience later in May," Fortin wrote.

“[Microsoft] is adding additional time during the rollout process to capture and identify blockers that are critical for organizations and individuals alike," said Reed Wiedower, CTO of Washington, D.C.-based New Signature, in an email to CRN.

"The previous blocker was perceived, both in the media and among some customers, as being a much larger gap than it actually was," he said. "I think the telemetry—as well as my discussions with staff—back up this position. But in order to ensure this rollout lands more smoothly, I think you're going to see over the next month a large number of folks inside the Windows Insider program get 'the final bits' of the 1903 release and validate that it's OK."

This addresses an issue with the previous system, Wiedower said.

"Having a gap between Insiders getting the final bits and regular businesses ensures that if in the next three weeks anything untoward does occur on a larger scale, Microsoft can correctly say that only testers of the software, and not regular users or businesses, are impacted," he said. "That was a flaw in the old system: as soon as the bits were declared 'final,' they went to Insiders and regular folks alike. By having a small time delay, any problems with the so-called final bits can be addressed in a short sprint."

The Windows 10 May 2019 Update is expected to become broadly available in late May.

"Our commercial customers can begin their targeted deployments in late May, which will mark the beginning of the 18-month servicing period for Windows 10, version 1903 in the Semi-Annual Channel," Fortin wrote.