Earlier this week, Microsoft released its first insider build of Windows 11, but also revealed the planned lifecycle and OS servicing for consumers and corporate customers. Here's an overview of the product lifecycle and details on how Microsoft will service Windows 11.
Windows 11 Lifecycle
Windows 11 will receive one feature update per year, and they will be released in the second half of the calendar year. The Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions will be supported for 24 months from release, while the Enterprise and Education editions will be supported for 36 months.
This will provide extra time and more flexibility in testing and large-scale deployment of new versions of the system. And the transition to an annual release model of feature updates is based on Windows 10 user feedback. As you know, Windows 10 receives major updates every six months.
Windows 11 for consumers
Consumers will still be able to use features to control Windows Updates on their devices. In particular, you can schedule a reboot, pause updates, and choose which optional updates to install.
Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will be optional and will appear only if the user clicks on the "Check for Updates" button. If the current device is not compatible with Windows 11 due to updated system requirements, then Windows 11 will not be offered.
Windows 11 Enterprise
Windows 11 will be available in all of the existing Windows 10 servicing channels that enterprise customers are already familiar with. You can still use Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Windows Autopilot. Before installing an update, IT pros can use Endpoint Analytics and Update Compliance to verify that devices in an organization are Windows 11 compatible.
Microsoft continues to improve the update process. Windows 11 will continue to deliver the usual monthly cumulative updates (also called “B” releases or “Patch Tuesday” updates), but they will be smaller on Windows 11 (up to 40%).
These monthly updates will continue to include all of the changes made in previous updates to maintain security and performance. The company will also continue to release monthly preview updates (release "C") for users who manually check for updates, as well as for members of the Windows Insider program and the Windows Insider Program for Business.
Windows 10 version 21H2
Microsoft will continue to support the Windows 10 operating system until October 14, 2025. In the second half of this year, the company will release Windows 10, version 21H2, as well as a Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) edition. More detailed information on this will be published closer to the release time of these versions.
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