Microsoft Delivers Promised Business Features in Windows 10 Update

NEWS ANALYSIS: Those business-specific features that Microsoft promised back in May have finally arrived in the Windows 10 upgrade that was distributed in phases starting Nov. 10.

Windows 10 Update 2

Back in May before Windows 10 was generally available, Microsoft executives promised a new set of features for the new OS that would make life easier for business users—particularly corporate IT managers.

This was important at the time if only because Windows 8.1 was almost universally ignored by business users. Finally, it seemed, the company had gotten past its fascination with touch screens and was paying attention to the boring but critically important business users with their mice and keyboards.

But when Microsoft released Windows 10, those promised features were nowhere to be seen. What PC users got was an OS that was more stable than pretty much everyone expected.

However, the new operating system contained some things that IT managers really hated, including mandatory updates with no good way to test them before they were implemented on their systems. But, once again, Microsoft executives promised that those much needed business features would arrive with the next major upgrade.

This time it happened. Microsoft has released what's generally known as the November Update, but which Microsoft calls Version 1115 (for November 2015). This new system upgrade began showing up via Windows Update on Nov. 10, but because of the size of the update and a number of other factors, not everyone will have it right away.

In fact, my calls to some Windows business users have yet to reveal any who have received and installed the new version of Windows 10.

Windows enthusiasts will be happy to know that the new version of Windows 10 does a lot to tweak the interface and to add some new capabilities. The Edge browser has become more useful.

Some menus have changed, and you can now change the colors of the top border from the default white. Microsoft says that the Cortana digital assistant has become smarter, but that's not a very high bar to clear.

For IT, the important changes are inside the covers. Perhaps the most important for day-to-day use is that administrators can now delay Windows updates so that they have time to test them before installing them.

Depending on your settings, those delays can last as long as eight months. Administrators can also set delays so that they wait until busy periods, such as holidays for retailers or tax time for accountants, are over. Windows Update for Business can stagger deployments, create device groups and scale deployments to minimize the impact on the business.

It's worth noting that some updates, such as critical security updates, will take place automatically, regardless of the setting.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...