Windows 10 Drops to One Annual Feature Update Moving Forward

Windows 10 Drops to One Annual Feature Update Moving Forward

Microsoft has started the staged release of Windows 11, and you can go out and buy a new Windows 11 PC right now. While Windows 10 will continue getting updates as promised, it’s natural to expect Microsoft won’t want to spend quite as much time on yesteryear’s OS going forward. Therefore, Windows 10 will only get one annual feature update instead of two, reports The Verge. Before you get too up in arms, this is the same schedule as Windows 11.

Early in the Windows 10 era, Microsoft began rolling out semiannual feature updates, previously called Creators Updates. There have been “service packs” in some previous releases of Windows, but these only came out every few years. This practice supported speculation that Microsoft might never release another distinct version of Windows after 10, as did the long wait between Windows 10 and the newly released Windows 11. Perhaps it was Microsoft’s intention to keep updating Windows 10 at first, but it’s moving on with an OS that will only get one feature update per year.

There’s still a pending feature update for Windows 10 in the works. After Microsoft releases that in the next few weeks, Windows 10 won’t get another substantive patch until late 2022. The upcoming version doesn’t add much. The most prominent feature is GPU compute for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Windows 11 won’t get more updates, though. The plan is just to do a single yearly feature patch for Windows 11 in the future, and we probably won’t see the first of those for a while.

Windows 10 Drops to One Annual Feature Update Moving Forward

Currently, Microsoft is focused on rolling Windows 11 out to existing compatible devices. Unlike Windows 10, Microsoft has opted to only support newer hardware with specific capabilities. For example, PCs need to have a trusted platform module and a CPU from the last few years to run Windows 11. You can install Windows 11 manually on supported devices, but if you decide to wait until Microsoft pushes it to your system, the prompt might not appear until the middle of next year.

Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) run Windows 11, Microsoft won’t leave you in the lurch. Windows 10 will get security patches through October 2025, and those should be more frequent than once a year. Just don’t expect as many new features as we’ve been seeing thus far. With just three or four more major updates in the offing for Windows 10, Microsoft probably won’t want to add anything that’s going to need a lot of support in the future. If you want the latest and greatest, it’s probably best to hop on the Windows 11 bandwagon.

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