• Windows as a Service in a nutshell, explained

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    Microsoft just posted a succinct, accurate description of the new “Semi-Annual Channel” terminology, but there are a few important loose ends Post com
    [See the full post at: Windows as a Service in a nutshell, explained]

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    • #128771

      “Current Branch for Business” still exists but has been renamed to “Semi-Annual Channel.” “Current Branch” still exists but has been renamed to “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted).” Source: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/windows-as-a-service-simplified-and-aligned-microsoft-blog-post/#post-128610 and various other comments in topic https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/windows-as-a-service-simplified-and-aligned-microsoft-blog-post/.

      Unfortunately “Semi-Annual Channel” now seems to have two different meanings depending on the context used. The first meaning of “Semi-Annual Channel” is a Microsoft designation that was formerly called “Current Branch for Business.” The second meaning of “Semi-Annual Channel” is the Microsoft designation that was formerly called “Current Branch.” An example of the second meaning of “Semi-Annual Channel” is Michael Niehaus’ statement that “Windows 10 will have new features updates released to the Semi-Annual Channel twice per year, around March and September.”

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      • #128782

        An example of usage for the first meaning of “Semi-Annual Channel” is its usage in Assign devices to servicing channels for Windows 10 updates.

      • #128838

        That’s at the core of the problem – two different concepts, one term.

        Will MS ever sort this out? Or are we really just seeing the first dust-up in the eventual retirement of the CBB branch?

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        • #128852

          This move has one purpose only. To increase the number of Current Branch computers in the wild. The Current Branch for Business isn’t going anywhere (name may change but the function is still there). Just another move by MS to take power away from Windows 10 Pro users.

          I guess since people are shunning Windows 10, there are not enough Home editions in the wild to collect all the telemetry they were hoping for, so the solution is, force the Pro users into the same category as the Home users.

          Enterprise users will keep the CBB, while the Home and Pro users are forced into the CB role. The naming change is only there to coverup the move and confuse people. The later being the thing Microsoft is best at above all other things.


          Edit to remove HTML

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        • #128860

          It is all you fault Woody. 🙂
          People should upgrade immediately to CB when released, so you forced now Microsoft to merge the 2 concepts. 😀

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      • #128858

        It may be one of the confusions created on purpose to merge the 2 categories one day.
        I am not outraged about all this stuff as I am familiar with an even worse name changing campaign from Citrix few years ago after acquiring the brand Xen and re-branding all their well-known products. It is still happening now but on a much smaller scale and I think it is all acceptable now due to the expectations set before. It was all driven by marketing and was confusing even their internal engineers, not only the external technical people or end-users.
        Citrix support is extremely poor, even their paid support, although to be fair, their top engineers are quite extraordinary and the products are fantastic and equal to none in the market once understood well and configured optimally.
        Microsoft Support is a 5 star service by comparison.
        For those who are not aware, Citrix is alive and well and growing very fast as far as I can tell.
        Citrix is also a very close partner with Microsoft.
        The site is slightly out of date.
        Also see

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        • #128865

          Here’s the obvious question, though: assuming that Citrix is growing, is it growing thanks to the poor customer service and the product naming shenanigans… or in spite of poor service and naming confusion?

          Imagine a car that goes 0-60 in 6 seconds despite having to drag concrete blocks tied to the rear bumper. How fast could it go without the concrete blocks?


          • #128866

            We are not discussing ethics here, but business.
            The paradigm of making business has shifted gradually starting from about mid 1980’s when the services industry has started to take over the manufacturing of goods.
            Here is where the geniuses of marketing and sales people come into place to create wants instead of needs.
            The rest is history and my personal point of view is irrelevant in this matter.
            What matters most is if we either jump in the train or are left behind.

            • #128867

              ch100 said, “What matters most is if we either jump in the train or are left behind.”

              I’ll happily get left behind to avoid the train wreck that is Windows 10

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            • #128874

              As someone whose life was spent in business, I reject the notion that ethics don’t apply.  To contend that is the definition of cynicism.

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            • #128949

              I agree with you entirely, but I think the point ch100 is making is that its just the way things have become.

              However no one says you have to like it though and just rolling over and mindlessly accepting it, is not something I would personally advocate. The more we slavishly accept bad ethical practices the more we become victims of it. We become just a product to be used or thrown away, no longer the customer any more

            • #128986

              I agree with David F, but to be clear I wasn’t talking about business ethics, necessarily (although that’s never out of bounds). Rather, I was talking about the relative effectiveness of treating customers with disrespect vs. treating them with respect. Keeping customers confused and neglecting customer service are concrete blocks tied to the bumper of the car — how can anyone think that the car’s performance won’t suffer as a result?

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    • #128774

      WAAS obviously messes with enterprise more then home users. Which is why little is done to offer home users much of a way to defer updates for any length of time. I guess Microsoft figures you will just “Deal with it”.  Personally WAAS was exactly the reason I regressed back to Windows 7 on a couple PC’s. I wanted at least a couple options in case Windows 10 goes horribly wrong someday. Its most definitely a new Windows world for IT and they will have less time to review and certify new branches. Or whatever  Microsoft decides they want to call them.

      • #128897

        Its most definitely a new Windows world for IT and they will have less time to review and certify new branches. Or whatever  Microsoft decides they want to call them.

        You’ve touched a very good point here.

        10 years ago when I was doing my MCSA (on XP and 2003), we had those training books in class and home.

        How will it be now with WaaS progressing so fast? There’s no way they can keep it up with printed books, at this fast pace. Even burning and shipping CDs / DVDs would not be feasible. So I guess nowadays they will have to resort to PDFs pulled out of Microsoft to keep things up to date. Or flash media.

        Even that way, it can pretty well happen that you learn one thing in class, and when you’re going to do your tests, things have changed. And that increases your chances of failing the exam. Or also bad, you’re certified but you can be suddenly caught off guard and outdated, and that’s not good for your reputation as a certified professional .

        Anyone out there has some updated info on this? Thanks.

        • #128933

          What you have described relates very much to the so-called “paper MCSE/MCSA”.
          For Windows 2008 there was a single exam stream which included Windows Vista/7/2008/2008R2.
          For Windows 2012 there was a single exam stream which included Windows 8/8.1/2012/2012R2.
          Where is the problem?

          • #128996

            Two versions of Windows will now be out-of-date within one year instead of six years.

            Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.2361 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

    • #128777

      The semiannual releases sound a lot like Ubuntu’s release schedule with key difference. Every 2 years there is an LTS Ubuntu version released that is supported for 5 years (I would like 6 or 8 years). W10 does not have an equivalent version for the proles. Get rid of the telemetry and release a periodic LTS version supported for several years plus a few other fixes and there will be a lot less anguish in Windows land. Say an LTS every 3 years supported for 6 years.

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    • #128780

      Microsoft has changed their terminology multiple times which is causing all of the confusion. The current message is that now there are only two branches of concern –

      1) Semi-Annual Channel
      2) Long Term Servicing Channel (formerly LTSB)

      The ‘branch’ options shown in the latest Insider Build reflect this designation. The corresponding options shown in 1703 have not been updated yet to reflect this (perhaps they won’t be updated in 1703 as technically this is a new ‘feature.’)

      For more information:

      In order to determine when we get updated versions in the future, it depends upon if you paused updates or not. If you’re not behind WSUS, you will follow Microsoft’s schedule, which could be as soon as they release the next version of Windows.

      • #128823

        The ‘branch’ options shown in the latest Insider Build reflect this designation.

        What are the branch options in the latest Insider Build?

        Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.2361 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

        • #128839

          There are none in the Settings app (see the last screenshot in the article).

          There are, however, settings in a Group Policy – which seems to be going through changes. In the Group Policy, I see nothing analogous to CBB. See Tero’s screenshots.

    • #128791

      Why do I get the overiding impression that we are going to have the updates “M$ way or the Highway.” We got some control with 1607 & 1703 then they changed the description and negated the whole thing almost. Ahh well lifes never dull in M$ land lol 😉

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      • #128900

        I see it as normal. It is a Microsoft product after all.

      • #128930


        Yes, agree. This is like the illegal bait-and-switch sales tactics.
        People who bought into Win 10 RTM/1507 in 2015(EOL in 2025) did not buy into this kind of ‘Windows as a service’, eg forced twice-yearly upgrades that shorten the EOL for each new Version of Win 10 to 18 months, blocked by M$ from upgrading through Windows Update if the OEMs stop supporting their “old” devices that are about 4 years old, forced usage of Edge and/or Bing, forced Ad display on the OS, forced Telemetry and Data collection, forced pre-installed apps, etc.

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    • #128794

      Regarding Woody’s screenshot of Advanced Update Options in the latest beta version (build 16257):

      Did Insider Preview versions ever have an ability to defer updates? That seems unlikely.

      (Let’s all not get too confused about terminology or Microsoft will change it AGAIN.)

      Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.2361 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

      • #128836

        Let’s all not get too comfortable with the terminology, because Microsoft WILL change it again.


        In all seriousness, Marketing is paid handsomely to “keep ’em guessing” because buzz is free advertising. Time spent complaining about Microsoft here is time not spent learning to use Linux or Android or macOS or whatever.


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        • #128861

          Indeed, I am typing this from VirtualBox running Zorin 12 OS Ultimate. It was quite jarring at first, but not even 24 hours later and I’ve got several things working already. It’s quite fun. I can see more Linux use in the future for sure and on it’s own hard drive as well.

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        • #128862

          Noel, please read what I said about Citrix earlier in this thread. 🙂
          Microsoft is just copying other players in the industry trying to achieve exactly the outcome which you presented.

      • #128840

        They did, late in the beta testing phase.

    • #128795

      Even though Win 10 Pro & Ent users might have deferred quality updates for 30 days max and feature updates/upgrades for 365 days max, they will never know the exact date when M$ will serve the respective updates to them = part of “Windows as a service”, ie M$ likely wanna show them users that they are the servants and M$ is Da Boss, …not Woody.

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    • #128802

      Tweet from Michael Niehaus‏: ‘There are just “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” and “Semi-Annual Channel”. But that’s the wrong level to focus on.’

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      • #128803

        Another: ‘Just focus on “Semi-Annual Channel.” You should start targeted, pilot deployments right away, and transition to broad deployment when ready’

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      • #128807

        Another: ‘There was way too much focus put on this “point in time” along the release’s lifecycle, instead of focusing on what was really important.’

        Another: ‘Transition to broad deployment when you’re ready (whether that takes two, four, or six months depends on the org).’

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    • #128806

      “Current Branch For Business”; “Current Branch”; “Semi-Annual Channel”; “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)”; “1607”; “1703”. Did I leave out anything?

      It is absolutely ridiculous what Microsoft is doing, and very interesting to watch everyone working very hard to keep up with it all.

      At some point, people are going to get fed up with all of this foolishness and abandon Microsoft in large numbers.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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    • #128809

      Tweet from Microsoft Mechanics: ‘After about 4 months, we’ll transition from initial “targeted” status to recommend broad deployment.’

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    • #128826

      I just came to a startling realization: Microsoft is Humpty Dumpty:

      “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

      ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”


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    • #128934

      M$ have just come out with a new edition of Win 10, ie Win 10 Pro W.

      Wonder how much more will M$ charge for it.? US$299.? … Windows as a service.?

      In 2015, M$ apologists said that Win 10 was the best version because of less fragmentation or less editions.

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    • #129253

      Discussion and consolatory drinks all around on the AskWoody Lounge.
      (From Woody’s article in Computerworld.)

      “No, Mother; they didn’t give me a chaser.”
      (Roger O. Thornhill [Cary Grant] to his mother [Jessie Royce Landis], calling from the Glen Cove Police Station in Hitchcock’s “North By Northwest,” 1959).

      Neither has Microsoft (only the perpetual hangover).

    • #129301

      A few points from the documentation:

      -Former CB and CBB  and LTSB were renamed to match the naming and timing of release being used by Office365 (March/September “Semi- Annual Channel”).

      – When MS releases in Sept, your organization has to do a “Targetet/Pilot ” on day 1 and see whats broken, remediate apps, and all that jazz. Comes January MS (around 4 months) will say the release is more stable ready “Broad” deployment and organizations will take it ( or not).

      Rinse and repeat.

      What implies if you want to keep your organization up to date with the latest version more resources are needed, making more expensive ( I assume) to maintain WaaS vs the old way to deploy an OS. ( constant resources needed vs spike of resources every 5 or maybe 7 years ).

      Versions will be supported only for 18 months and you can skip only once before losing support.

      My 2 cents.

    • #130049

      There are three relevant posts presumably from Microsoft employee Nathan Mercer (username NathM) at https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/2023533-poll-microsoft-has-changed-its-update-schedule-again-what-does-it-think?page=4:\


      Post #1:

      “the update schedule hasn’t changed at all, like the post title suggests

      Its a terminology change, to simplify things and align naming between Windows and Office.

      CB = Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) and CBB = Semi-Annual Channel.”


      Post #2:

      “the name CBB goes away but the concept doesn’t at all.

      The approach hasn’t changed – the only thing that has changed is the terminology. Microsoft has always recommended that organizations begin piloting right away (e.g. at CB) to validate their apps, devices, and infrastructure, so that they are ready as soon as possible (e.g. at/around/before CBB) to begin broadly deploying.

      CBB was an artificial label that people used as an excuse to wait to deploy Windows 10. Then they complained that it is X months closer to End of Life and that’s not fair. I like the change because it makes it clear support starts at CB and ends 18 months later. Period.”


      Post #3:

      “its exactly the same process as its been – monthly Quality Updates and 6-monthly Feature Updates.

      All that changed is the terminology CB = Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) and CBB = Semi-Annual Channel.”

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