Newsletter Archives

  • Today’s the day: Block Win10 Creators Update

    Step-by-step instructions for blocking the next version of Win10.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

  • Microsoft’s newfound telemetry transparency with 1,966 basic data points

    Even on the “Basic” setting, Win10 Creators Update still sends 1,966 individual pieces of data to the Microsoft mother ship.

    At least, now we have some documentation.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Windows 10 Update Assistant now moves you to the Creators Update

    Of course, Microsoft’s upgrading / Update Assistant doesn’t get the terminology right. I ran this on an Anniversary Update machine – version 1607, build 14393. It offers to upgrade me to version 15063. That’s version 1703, build 15063, but nevermind.

    I think you’re crazy if you upgrade to Creators Update on a production machine. But if you really want to play with it, start here.

    Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • The InfoWorld review: Windows 10 Creators Update is worth waiting for

    Creators Update is great for artists and HoloLens types and indispensable for folks who want to put rotating 3D images inside their PowerPoint presentations. Security improvements are worthwhile, particularly if you’re attached to a corporate domain.

    For the rest of us… the best feature is the one that makes it easier for Pro users to block automatic updates, but it isn’t worth the gamble to install Creators Update until it’s all cleaned up. Say, in July or August.

    The InfoWorld review.

    UPDATE: Microsoft has just confirmed general availability for April 11.

  • Windows 10 Creators Update “RTM” build 15063 downloading now

    Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15063 for PC and Mobile

    Full report in the morning.

  • No, Win10 beta build 15055 is not the “RTM” of Creators Update

    Richard Hay over at Penton’s Supersite has three good reasons why Friday’s beta build 15055 is likely not the final release of Win10 version 1703 Creators Update:

    • There’s a watermark on the desktop
    • It has an expiration date
    • The official announcement says there’s a bug with the Store and “This issue will be fixed in the next build.”

    The discussion in the Lounge also notes that:

    • Surface Pro 3 won’t install 15055 if there’s a microSD card in it

    Of course, Microsoft can do anything imaginable (and some things unimaginable) to create the “final” RTM Creators Update. Don’t forget that last time around, MS pushed a cumulative update (KB3176929) just before it released 1607 to the masses. The folks in the Insider program were working on build 143939, thinking we had it made, when we suddenly discovered that the “real” final build was 14393.10.

    Will history repeat itself? Guess we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.

    Which reminds me… many observers now say that Win10 Creators Update will roll out on April 11. While that’s entirely possible, releasing on April 11 would be like tossing gasoline on a bonfire. April 11 is the first real Patch Tuesday in two (arguably three or four) months; there will undoubtedly be patches for Win 7, 8.1, and Win10 version 1507, 1511, and 1607 on that date. Hard to imagine MS would release 1703 simultaneously.

    For reference, none of the Win10 versions have gone out on Patch Tuesdays – 1507 was on July 29, 2015; 1511 was on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015; 1607 was on Aug. 2, 2016.

    Surely somebody’s figured that part out.

  • Newly revealed dialogs show how Windows Update can be stalled in the next version of Win10

    Ed Bott, who’s become the voice of Microsoft, has just posted a couple of interesting screen shots and an explanation of how Win10 Pro/Enterprise users will be able to delay forced updates in the next version of Win10 – the “Creators Update” due next month.

    You should take the article as gospel truth.

    The long and short of it: Although the dialogs don’t appear in the current beta build 15042, at some point in the future Microsoft will release a build of Win10 version 1703 that lets you control when cumulative updates are installed.

    One of the dialogs shown in the article gives you the ability to Pause updates “for up to 35 days” by sliding a switch. Although it isn’t stated explicitly, apparently “updates” in this case refers to both cumulative updates and version changes. It also isn’t clear why the slider says “up to” – they’re either paused or they aren’t, I would guess.

    The other dialog, which appears to overlap the “pause updates” dialog, gives you three independent choices:

    • Wait for a version to be declared Current Branch for Business before it’s installed on your computer (the choice that keeps you out of the “unpaid beta tester” category).
    • Defer a version change for up to a set number of days. Bott implies that you’ll be able to defer a version change for up to 365 days after it reaches CBB level.
    • A very poorly worded setting “A quality update includes security improvements. It can be deferred for this many days” with a drop-down box that apparently runs up to 30 days. I’m assuming a “quality” update is a cumulative update. I have no idea how other Win10 updates – servicing branch changes, drivers (particularly for Surface machines), ad-hoc security patches like the just-released IE and Edge patches, and any other security patches that aren’t rolled into cumulative updates — will be affected.

    There’s also no indication of how the “Pause updates for up to 35 days” slider interacts with (replaces?) the “defer quality updates up to 30 days” setting. Are they additive? Do they cover the same patches? Why does one max out at 30 days, and the other sits fixed at 35 days?

    We haven’t seen the dialogs yet. We haven’t seen the group policy settings that conform to (conflict with?) the settings. And we don’t know when we’ll get any or all of the above, except they’ll presumably appear before Creators Update hits RTM.

  • New statement about Win10 1703 (Creators Update) corporate security

    Microsoft just posted a detailed look at the new security features available in the next version of Windows 10, known as Creators (no apostrophe) Update and 1703 (presumably it’ll ship next March).

    The list is extensive and impressive, from a corporate point of view:

    • Windows Security Center will tie in to Office 365’s Advanced Threat Protection
    • New features in the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection module, including new “sensors to detect threats that persist only in memory or kernel level exploits”
    • Custom input to the Windows Security Center based on an admin’s definition of suspicious activity
    • New remediation actions (shut down, isolate, scan, quarantine) in Windows Security Center
    • Improved Windows Analytics dashboard “that will help IT administrators better manage and support Windows 10 devices. The additions to the dashboard will enable organizations to use their own telemetry to provide new insights and ensure compliance on the upgrade, update and device health processes within their organizations.”
    • A conversion tool for changing BIOS devices into UEFI
    • Mobile application control that doesn’t require Mobile Device Management enrollment
    • The UUP we’ve been talking about

    Good article, well worth checking out if you’re involved in corporate security.

    UPDATE: A few details not published in the official announcement from Blair Hanley Frank on InfoWorld.