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Windows 11: one feature update per year and longer support cycles

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 11 operating system will receive one feature update per year and each version will be supported for a longer period.

Windows 11 shares many features with Windows 10, but there are also fundamental differences between the two operating system versions.

One of the core differences is the switch from releasing two feature updates per year for Windows 10 to releasing a single feature update for Windows 11.

Windows 11 will tell you how long it will take to install Windows updates

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The feature update for Windows 11 will always be released in the second half of the year, and it will be supported for 24 months on the consumer side and for 36 months on the Enterprise.

Compared to Windows 10, Home users and Enterprise customers do get an extra 6 month of support, when compared to the second feature update release of the year.

EditionServicing timeline (one release per year)
Windows 11 Enterprise
Windows 11 Education
Windows 11 IoT Enterprise
36 months from release date
Windows 11 Pro
Windows 11 Pro Education
Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
Windows 11 Home
24 months from release date

Home editions are the only edition of Windows 11 that don't support the deferral of feature updates. Microsoft notes in its Lifecycle FAQ that these "receive a new version of Windows 11 prior to the end-of-servicing date shown".

User feedback and a change to Microsoft's overall update approach were the main drivers for extending the servicing period and the switching to a single feature update per year release schedule.

The upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 on consumer devices is only available to systems that meet the new hardware requirements. Updates are made available to administrators who check for updates manually. Microsoft did not reveal if it plans to change the upgrade process closer to Windows 10's end of servicing.

While updates using Windows Update are out of the question for devices that are not compatible, it may be possible to update these using other means, e.g. direct installations.

Enterprise customers will be able to use the same tools and services that are available on Windows 10 when it comes to Windows 11. Tools like Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Endpoint Manager or Windows Autopilot are available for use in these environments.

Microsoft will release Windows 10 version 21H2 in the second half of the year. A new Windows 19 LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) edition will be released as well around the time. Windows 11 will also be released in the second half of 2021, likely in October 2021.

Closing Words

Longer support periods and less frequent feature updates make the administration of Windows 11 devices less stressful.

Now You: What is your take on these changes?

 

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Windows 11: one feature update per year and longer support cycles
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Windows 11: one feature update per year and longer support cycles
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Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system will receive one feature update per year and each version will be supported for a longer period.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. ard said on July 5, 2021 at 6:51 am
    Reply

    Having less feature updates on windows is a BIG gain. Each update of W10, so far, has been a stressful period as it is never known whether a W10 update will go alright or whether it will stall you good working computer; having less of these stressful periods is a bonus from W11 .

    1. Davin Peterson said on July 5, 2021 at 2:46 pm
      Reply

      Yes, for businesses that have 1000 computers to support, it is not ideal for the company or government agency to upgrade all their PCs more than once a year. If they have old hardware, they would have to get drivers for printers & scanners. This is why once a year is enough.

  2. Steve said on July 5, 2021 at 8:39 am
    Reply

    >>Longer support periods and less frequent feature updates make the administration of Windows 11 devices less stressful.

    You can say that but really Windows updates happen every month so the never-ending pain-stress cycle continues.

    Maybe they (MS) got tired and said enough of “hey, today is Monday, here is a new OS feature.” Or maybe they realized an ever-changing OS is prone to more bugs, and more bugs to more customers complains, and more fixes, and $$$ spend, etc. What stupid world we live in. Just focus on security and reability and leave the features for recreational BS products.

  3. cx said on July 5, 2021 at 10:04 am
    Reply

    This is a great change.

  4. John G. said on July 5, 2021 at 10:21 am
    Reply

    @Martin, thanks for the info, however in the section “Edition & Servicing timeline (one release per year)” I think that there is a typo at W10 Home, shouldn’t be W11 Home instead? Thanks in advance! :]

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 5, 2021 at 11:25 am
      Reply

      Hi John, yes that seems to be a mistake. Corrected it!

  5. Dumbledalf said on July 5, 2021 at 10:57 am
    Reply

    All Microsoft need to do for Windows 11 is as follows:

    – get their shit together with the GUI consistency and make it easy to use and stop changing it with every version like they feel obliged to do it
    – stop changing the names of each version, just go back to SP1, SP2, SP3, it makes much more sense
    – stop forcing stuff like Microsoft account or their own programs instead of the ones users prefer

    1. Anonymous said on July 5, 2021 at 10:11 pm
      Reply

      They’ll be wanting to tighten down control. Forcing Microsoft account. I read the main concern in the specifications.
      https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/windows-11-specifications

      QUOTE: There may be additional requirements over time for updates, as well as requirements to turn on specific features within the OS.
      They link to SOME of the feature requirements. Others are blank cheque, so may be ‘anything we want’.

      Additional requirements over time for update is likewise a blank cheque. For example, the first release may install on a 4Gb RAM machine but if you don’t have 16GB RAM, for a feature update down the track you may not get it? Ditto every other specification is open to change. Ditto anything they require on but you prefer to have off?

  6. Yuliya said on July 5, 2021 at 11:45 am
    Reply

    Wow, actually an improvement over W10. I’ll still use LTSC.

  7. Trey said on July 5, 2021 at 12:35 pm
    Reply

    “Features” from MS pretty much means them forcing a self-serving browser on you or similar, so yea, the less features the better.

  8. ULBoom said on July 5, 2021 at 2:16 pm
    Reply

    Most of this is good. If the team that existed to fix the problems it created was disbanded, that’s very good.

    Seems Home still has the same update/upgrade issue of being virtually uncontrollable by the user. Two years of support for a version that auto-upgrades every year and is still pounded monthly by MS’s poor update system is almost the same as now. They could claim 50 years of support.

    Oops, the team is now screwing up security…

    Not that most of the computers out there are allowed to run Lindows 11 anyway but I’m pretty sure that will change since users have been trained to want new techie stuff and the virtual security slow down experience “feature” preventing it, memory integrity, can be turned on/off as it can be in Win 10.

    If not, the interface can be cloned for 10 with much happiness joy.

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3623713/why-windows-11-is-leaving-so-many-pcs-behind.html

    And yeah, four years later, TPM’s not even needed, wahoo!

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/device-experiences/oem-vbs

    Clear as mud. SOS @ MS.

  9. Anonymous said on July 5, 2021 at 2:46 pm
    Reply
    1. Anonymous said on July 5, 2021 at 8:30 pm
      Reply

      Use UUP dump and make your own ISO.

    2. Anonymous said on July 5, 2021 at 9:48 pm
      Reply
    3. Anonymous said on July 5, 2021 at 10:17 pm
      Reply

      There’s always a chance it is but I wouldn’t touch it anywhere other than Microsoft and leave it to others to be the voluntary lab rats.

      New OS. No hurry here.

  10. Viktor Navorski said on July 5, 2021 at 6:05 pm
    Reply

    Another money making scheme from the id**ts running Microsoft these days…

  11. Big Tech Clown World said on July 5, 2021 at 8:14 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft spin is hilarious, isn’t it? They refuse to ever admit they were horribly, dangerously wrong about an OS as a “service”, and their countless other dishonest business schemes.

    If MS wasn’t backed by the US government they would have been back in antitrust court a long time ago. I don’t know why the rest of the world tolerates this criminal corporation’s shoddy software and data theft.

    How about all the ransomware hacks that are the direct result of Microsoft’s inept, broken software architecture? Windows 11 isn’t going to be any different, I am willing to bet you money (will you accept Bitcoin?) on this. Get ready for the TPM ransomware hacks and all the new bugs.

  12. Will said on July 5, 2021 at 10:24 pm
    Reply

    You asked.
    We listened.
    Eventually.
    Not to everything. Windows has to work for us too {I did not mention foremost}.

    Your friendly Microsoft team.

  13. ddk said on July 5, 2021 at 11:56 pm
    Reply

    Here’s the DL file:
    “21996.1.210529-1541.co_release_CLIENT_CONSUMER_x64FRE_en-us”

    Checked it out of curiosity, notice the 21996, am thinking this is the leaked version & not the 22000 build released last week.
    Really stupid name for a download website “filehorse” & looks dodgy. I got the ISO direct from UUP dump. They have the latest 22000.50.

  14. pd said on July 6, 2021 at 10:01 am
    Reply

    LOL

    Finally the reversal of this ‘rapid release’ stupidity is happening. Software is ready when it is ready, not shunted out the door on X date.

  15. Anonymous said on July 6, 2021 at 3:35 pm
    Reply

    Still not good enough to move from Windows 7.

    1. KeZa said on July 17, 2021 at 9:01 pm
      Reply

      Yip me to here…

  16. KeZa said on July 17, 2021 at 9:01 pm
    Reply

    Just 1 update per 2-3 years please…

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