Windows 10's first "major" patch is being rolled out today, and it brings with it new tools that change the way enterprises manage future updates.
"With the introduction of Windows Update for Business, Microsoft is telling our enterprise customers that we're willing to take that burden on for you, but we're going to give you the same control and the same reporting and compliance that you have with the solutions that you use today," Jim Alkove, corporate vice president of Microsoft Enterprise and Security, told attendees of a media gathering at the software giant's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.
Today, businesses contemplating the switch to Windows 10 can put the new patching system through its paces. Many organizations have already made the jump, according to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group. Microsoft's latest operating system is running on 12 million business PCs, he revealed.
"Windows Update for Business provides IT controls over the deployment of updates within their organizations, while ensuring their devices are kept current and their security needs are met, at reduced management cost," Myerson blogged today. "Features include setting up device groups with staggered deployments and scaling deployments with network optimizations."
Also available is Windows Store for Business, which enables businesses to establish curated private app marketplaces for their users. "Organizations can choose their preferred distribution method by directly assigning apps, publishing apps to a private store, or connecting with management solutions," he said.
Other business-centric features include built-in mobile device management capabilities and Azure Active Directory Join, which enables Windows settings and data roaming across devices. Microsoft is also working on a containerized approach to safeguarding sensitive business data.
"Coming soon, enterprise data protection will help protect corporate data by separating and containing corporate data from consumer data," stated Myerson. "Currently in testing with a number of enterprise customers today, enterprise data protection becomes available to Windows Insiders soon."
Users should notice a performance bump once the update is applied. "Performance in everyday tasks, such as boot time now nearly 30% faster than Windows 7 on the same device," claimed Myerson.
Cortana, the operating system's voice-enable digital assistant, now supports pen input in the Cortana Notebook. Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer's successor, now features tab previews that display the content of open browser tabs without leaving the current tab.
For gamers, today's Windows 10 update for Xbox One offers a fresh new interface with a snappier, more streamline mode switching, social-inspired community features and a revamped Store designed to make it simpler for users to find and purchase games. "The New Xbox One Experience is a complete transformation of Xbox One, integrating the speed and versatility of Windows 10," said Mike Ybarra, director of Program Management for Microsoft Xbox, in a Nov. 12 announcement.
It also introduces backward compatibility, allowing owners to play games originally released for the system's predecessor, the Xbox 360. The first batch of supported games include 104 titles, with more to come.