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Microsoft halves number of Windows 10 updates

The operating system is shifting to an annual release cycle similar to Windows 11

Windows 10 users can now expect half the amount of updates, with Microsoft announcing that the operating system is shifting to an annual release cycle similar to Windows 11.

The move is expected to minimise the time spent downloading, restarting, and configuring the updates, which is often seen as troublesome and time-consuming by users.

Coinciding with the release of the Windows 10 21H2 update, Windows Servicing and Delivery VP of Product Management, John Cable, stated that Microsoft “will transition to a new Windows 10 release cadence to align with the Windows 11 cadence, targeting annual feature update releases”.

Following the release of Windows 11 on 4 October, it was announced that the latest iteration of the flagship operating system would move to an annual feature update system similar to that of macOS.

As a result, rather than spring 2022, users can expect the next Windows 10 feature update “in the second half of 2022”, Cable announced in a company blog post.

“As a second half (H2) of the calendar year release, Home and Pro editions of the November 2021 Update will receive 18 months of servicing and support, and Enterprise and Education editions will receive 30 months of servicing and support beginning today,” he stated.

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Windows 10 updates are to be supported until the operating system's end of life date, which is scheduled for 14 October 2025. After that, Microsoft will not be providing technical support, software updates or security updates or fixes for Windows 10. 

The latest Windows 10 update, which is available to download now from the Windows Update settings, includes stronger security to prevent attacks while using Wi-Fi networks, as well as an enhanced Universal Print feature that allows enterprise clients to handle print jobs of up to one gigabyte. Moreover, Microsoft announced that its users will now be able to use the Azure Virtual Desktop service to provision apps to cloud-based Windows 10.

“We continue to listen to customer feedback to adapt Windows to meet your needs as part of our ongoing support for Windows 10, and have scoped the November 2021 Update to focus on productivity, management and security,” said Cable, adding that Microsoft “will be throttling up availability over the coming weeks to ensure a reliable download experience for all”.

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