Friday , December 2 2022

Why Microsoft should postpone the next feature upgrade from Windows 10, 2004

Microsoft may have the next Windows 10 upgrade that burns a hole in your pocket, but if it’s wise, the developer from Redmond, Washington, is keeping this code to himself for now.

In fact, software developers could do a great favor to all technical users by for the time being imposing a moratorium on all non-security-related, feature-rich updates and upgrades.

Let’s call it “software distancing,” but instead of leaving versions six feet apart, they have to stay apart for six months.

Why keep Windows 10 2004? Because we’re busy if you haven’t noticed

Microsoft needs to be ready to ship Windows 10 2004, the spring feature upgrade of the year: The update has been in progress for more than a year. But really, what is the rush? After more than 13 months of testing, testing and further testing, another half a dozen will no longer hurt.

In fact, there are several reasons why postponing the upgrade makes sense.

IT and users currently have higher priorities

At the top of the list is the simple fact that everyone has more important things to do than upgrading to Windows 10.

This item can be of short duration – it will Be scratched out at some point – but that’s why timing has to play a role in Microsoft’s decision (and outside appeals). Even for faster-acting companies like Microsoft and Amazon and Google, it’s only been a month since they told employees to go home and work remotely if possible.

Everyone has settled in, especially those who have never worked at home or in the field for a long time. The same applies to IT employees with little experience in managing devices outside the office area. Employees of all kinds, line workers and IT staff, get used to the situation directly, stressed, if not by anything else (and there are many) otherwise here) than from the novelty Of all.

It won’t be that way all the time when America (and elsewhere) is banned. People and organizations will adapt. But right now? You are busy.

The bandwidth doesn’t grow on trees

Microsoft has already started preparing IT staff to upgrade a large number of remote PCs. One of the points it focused on was potential bottlenecks, particularly the virtual private network (VPN) that many companies dictate when machines outside the perimeter access corporate resources and information.

Because employees who are now at home are likely to connect to the corporate network via VPN, updates and upgrades may be carried over the latter, overwhelming the capacity of the VPN. In several technical articles, including Here and HereMicrosoft has shown administrators how best to manage updates when VPNs are in place.

According to Microsoft, updates should ideally not be made via the VPN, but directly on the Internet. “The Microsoft-recommended approach is to configure the VPN client to only send traffic for corporate resources that are local to the VPN connection, so all other traffic can go straight to the Internet and be forwarded accordingly.” the company said. “This is how the VPN is configured internally at Microsoft.”

Upgrades are of course significantly larger (measured in gigabytes) than the monthly updates, for example on Patch Tuesday – all the more why they would have a negative impact on the connections between remote clients and the company’s local infrastructure.

This is all the more reason for Microsoft to step back on Windows 10 2004 until IT clears up the VPN situation, or better still, the majority of the workforce is returning to the office and its internal network.

In general, bandwidth is simply a valuable commodity. For example, not everyone has a fat pipe for a home connection to the Internet. (Some may not have an internet account at all and instead rely on their smartphones and a measured and expensive data plan from a mobile operator.) What bandwidth is at hand is busy with more important traffic.

“The last thing we need now to shut down our already full pipes of zoom and team meetings is a feature version,” said Susan Bradley, a computer network and security consultant, who moderated the PatchMangement.org Mailing list and the contributor known as “The Patch Lady” to the AskWoody.com Windows tip site.

The help desk staff is thin

Everyone is busy adapting to the new regimes, but the help desk is busier than most others. The staff has made efforts to get remote employees up and running, assist employees in diagnosing problems with systems and network configurations outside of corporate standards, and forwarding cables and monitors to Homer. And while much of what employees have done – and continue to do – could and can be done remotely, there were parts of their job that required them to be in a specific location, such as when they did a personal review of a had to system to uncover the root of a problem.

These calls in the cabin are now so much history that the help desk has to make adjustments.

If you do a feature upgrade even if it runs smoothly, the calls can overwhelm the resources. What if the upgrade goes south? (Like some of Windows 10.) Nobody wants to think about it.

“We don’t have the excess help desk capacity,” argued Bradley. “We currently have to focus on security, not functionality.”

By holding Windows 10 2004 back, Microsoft could do more

For an upgrade that has been in progress for more than a year – and in public tests with insider participants – Windows 10 2004 highlights the new features and functions.

It is not clear what in 2004 – at least what Microsoft revealed – required additional effort. In February 2019, when Microsoft went off schedule and began beta testing the first upgrade in 2020 before testing the second one for 2019, the company said, “Some things we’re working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time. ” (20H1 was Microsoft-ese for the first feature upgrade from 2020 or what was later numbered Windows 10 2004.)

At the end of last year, Microsoft cut the links between features in development and future upgrades, saying that the former “when they’re done” would be moved to one of the latter.

Microsoft has tested numerous features that didn’t make it into 2004 – which was feature-locked at the end of 2019 – and was able to put its money where it could only by using the extra time to add some to the upgrade .

Holding Windows 10 2004 would be a good excuse to have one upgrade per year

Another reason why 2004 should be postponed has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic. However, Microsoft could use the circumstances to do what many users expect from the company: one upgrade per year.

In fact, Microsoft showed its hand last year when it downgraded the second upgrade to a little more than a repeat of the first, a small upgrade that contained so few new features that it was dubbed a “service pack.” In 2019 there was really only one feature upgrade worthy of the name, although Microsoft went through the sales process twice.

Previous changes from Redmond, including extending support for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education customers and giving Microsoft no control over when to upgrade, resulted in most customers having a cadence once a year. Microsoft would be smart to make Windows 10 maintenance easier by reducing the number of upgrades that are spent on the number of customers that are normally installed.

Which is one a year.

If Microsoft was looking for a way to downgrade a feature upgrade annually, this is the right choice. Even those who still opted for the Windows-as-a-Service concept and saw value in multiple upgrades per year would likely accept the news that 2020 would only offer a single feature upgrade. (As in the past, Microsoft could interpret the move as temporary, but make it permanent after the crisis ends.)

The decision to positively influence a victim for the common good should be a breeze for Microsoft’s PR, perhaps enough to make many forget that Microsoft is stocking large inventories at a faster pace of release and the multi-year annual upgrades than has made changes necessary to keep up with technology.

Microsoft should consider it a win-win situation.

But, but … what about support and deadlines?

Microsoft would have to massage the schedule if the start of Windows 10 2004 is postponed, regardless of the reason for the delay.

Fortunately, this is as simple as an announcement, like last month when Microsoft added six months of support to version Windows 10 1709, which I didn’t know you could still run.

Microsoft would have to change Windows 10 1903, which according to analysis company AdDuplex accounted for 51% of all Windows 10 versions as of March 25. Typically, Microsoft begins to replace 1903 on PCs with Windows 10 Home or unmanaged systems with Windows 10 Pro, with 2004 in late July or early August. (Windows 10 1903 is currently scheduled to end support on December 8th.) Starting in 2004 for anything beyond late June or early July would make this difficult or impossible. Instead, Microsoft would likely extend the end of support in 1903, possibly by the same six months as 1709. (This would extend support from 1903 to June 8, 2021, a month later than the 1909 retirement on May 11, 2021. In this scenario, both 1903 and 1909 would be updated from Microsoft to 2004 early next year.)

On the other hand, if Microsoft took advantage of the COVID 19 crisis to go back to an annual cadence, it would have to do more.

First, the feature upgrade should be renamed to a more precise four-digit number, e.g. 2009if it waits until September or October. According to Microsoft’s rules, 2009 (born 2004) would receive 30 months of support for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. Assuming a launch in October, the version would end support in April 2023. This would be a problem since no upgrade would be released in spring 2023.

If Microsoft releases an upgrade annually, it makes sense to extend support to 36 months. As the following figure shows, companies would need to be fairly agile to upgrade every two years when support ends after 30 months. However, stretch support continues for another six months, and companies can upgrade in a two-year cycle and still take 12 months to test, test, and deploy each version.

If Microsoft switches to a single Windows 10 upgrade each year, support for enterprise and education customers should be extended to 36 months.

Microsoft could remain stingy with Home and Pro, maintaining the 18-month support period for these SKUs (stock-selling units), and forcing devices to update as the previous version approaches retirement. These systems would be updated approximately every 12 months.

Next, Microsoft should formulate the new pace and related changes that are required for the rhythm to work every 12 months.

About Nikola Dodson

She is a Chicago blogger and tech enthusiast.

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