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There’s no rush, Microsoft seems to be saying. Mark Hachman reports
Microsoft appears to be taking a go-slow approach to rolling out Windows 10’s Anniversary Update (version 1607). At the time of writing, just 34.5 percent of all PCs are running it, according to Ad Duplex, maker of a Windows 10 SDK for third-party app makers. The majority, 59.9 percent, are still running the older version 1511, which was released in November 2015.
In August, Microsoft said the Anniversary Update would be rolled out “in phases”, with newer machines receiving the update first. That presumably meant it was providing the update to those PCs that would likely have the fewest issues updating. What’s surprising is how slowly the firm is pushing it to older computers. There are two likely reasons for this: Microsoft, and businesses, who want to ensure the update doesn’t break their own apps.
“It’s hard to know exactly what is going on,” Steve Kleynhans, an analyst for Gartner, said in an email. “Some of this is intentional throttling on Microsoft’s part. I’ve got several machines that are still waiting for the Anniversary Update. They are some of my older more ‘troublesome’ machines, so there is definitely some selection process going on. I think this is all part of the learning process for Microsoft.”
Microsoft declined to comment on the Ad Duplex data. “The Anniversary Update will continue to roll out over time,” a company representative said in an email. “Given the scale of delivering updates to more than 350 million monthly active devices around the world, our rollout will be measured and deliberate to ensure we deliver a great customer experience.”
The conservative approach may simply be an attempt to minimise problems that have already plagued users, such as an issue where PCs running the Anniversary Update froze when their data was split between an SSD and a conventional hard drive. With Microsoft now giving you just 10 days to roll back to the previous build, some columnists warned enterprises to avoid it altogether. Still, platform fragmentation is already a concern for Microsoft, with its user base split between Windows XP, Windows 7, 8, and 10. A slow rollout divides its resources further.
In any case, businesses traditionally take a go-slow approach, which explains why a large chunk of enterprise PCs won’t have received the update yet. “My thought is that business implementations do take time piloting, testing, application redevelopment, deployment,” argued Forrester analyst JP Gownder.
The Current Branch for Business, an enterprise upgrade policy Microsoft implemented in 2015, also deploys Windows 10 updates sometimes months after consumers receive them. Companies on the CBB will receive the Anniversary Update most likely in December, Kleynhans added.
It’s also likely that Microsoft’s conservative approach is intended to change consumer attitudes and perceptions about Windows 10 and its upgrades: that instead of something to be avoided, they should be welcomed. That’s not going to be easy.
“I think some [of it] is caution and some is a response to real issues (like the USB Kindle problem),” Kleynhans wrote. “I think Microsoft wants to be doubly cautious to understand how to ensure updates are a positive experience and not a negative disruption.”
With the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, you can now access Cortana on your lock screen for basic functions