Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Microsoft's Windows 10 update options explained

Microsoft's naming changes for Windows 10 updates can be a little confusing.  Here's a little guide to describe the latest terminology and a mapping between the old and new terms.

As you will likely already know, Microsoft ha shifted from a new release of Windows every few years to a ‘windows as a service’ model.  Whereas previously Microsoft would release a technical preview of v.Next just before it shipped, now this is done through the Windows Insider Program.

Microsoft have now changed the terminology in order that the products line up across Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus.  The table below explains the changes:


Previously known as…

Ideal for…


Windows Insider


Techie’s business PC

Contains preproduction code with visibility of upcoming features

Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)

Current Branch (CB)

Pilot deployments

Contains the features that will be present in the next release.  It’s sensible to test these on pilot PCs in order to decide if they will be suitable for the business.

Semi-Annual Channel

Current Branch for Business (CBB)

Business systems

Twice yearly feature updates in March and September which can be deferred.

Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC)

Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB)

Wherever stability is paramount such as ATMs or medical equipment

Only in the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition. Doesn’t receive feature updates.  These will be made available as in-place upgrades every 2-3 years. To move to the semi-annual channel requires and in place upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.


Additionally the options for updates are reflected below:

Servicing tool

Can updates be deferred?

Ability to approve updates

Peer-to-peer option

Additional features

Windows Update

Yes (manual)


Delivery Optimization


Windows Update for Business



Delivery Optimization

Other Group Policy objects




BranchCache or Delivery Optimization

Upstream/downstream server scalability

Configuration Manager



BranchCache, Client Peer Cache

Distribution points, multiple deployment options


More detailed information can be found here.

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