Microsoft Confirms Six-Month Windows 10 Update Schedule

Microsoft said that Windows 10 will now be on a six-month upgrade cycle like the one used for Office 365 ProPlus. The move is supposed to make it easier for the company's business customers to know when updates will be released and for how long each version of Windows 10 will be supported.

This update schedule doesn't come as much of a surprise. Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, and the Creators Update made its public debut on April 11, leaving a seven-month gap between the flagship upgrades. Now the company has confirmed that it plans to release two updates per year--one in September and one in March--and said the Creators Update's antecedent should arrive in September 2017.

Microsoft also said that each version of Windows 10 will be "serviced and supported" for 18 months (like they are now) to add "further clarity and predictability to organizations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus." The company's System Center Configuration Manager, which allows businesses to manage all their systems from one central platform, will also become part of the further entrenched twice-per-year upgrade schedule.

Microsoft explained the reasoning behind these decisions in its blog post:

These changes reflect our commitment to help make it easier to deploy and service Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus. The Windows, Office and E+MS teams will continue to seek more ways to make deployment easier, and we look forward to your continued feedback to help us with that process.

A predictable release schedule and relatively short windows of support could encourage more businesses to stay up to date with new versions of Windows 10. Many businesses currently use old and potentially unsupported versions of Windows. This decision often allows them to save money, continue using software created specifically for those versions of Windows, and avoid teaching employees the changes in Windows 10.

Yet relying on those outdated platforms also makes businesses vulnerable to attack. Microsoft patches security flaws, like the ones revealed by The Shadow Brokers earlier this month, in updates to current versions of Windows. Using their un-patched predecessors means devices can still be compromised. Pushing other companies to use the latest Windows 10 updates could make us (and the companies themselves) a little bit safer.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • ssdpro
    I have found Windows 10 to be very stable. It is the first Windows I ever felt comfortable doing upgrades in place. What I do not like is the default big brother config, default start menu spam, forced updates, tips that popup even when tips are disabled, and lack of options in many default programs. The settings menu vs control panel is disjointed. Settings is not organized well and then takes the user to control panel for advanced changes. They need to just rename control panel settings and have everything in a one stop shop.

    I don't really get bogged down in what Windows is better. Windows 7 was great with flaws, Windows 10 is great with flaws. It's just an OS.
  • museumman
    Please look up the definition of "antecedent": "a thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another." You're using it incorrectly.
  • techy1966
    My only problem with the updates is MS making the older versions of win 10 non supported so fast. If they bare the name Windows 10 then they all should be supported no matter what This forced upgrade/update stuff makes one feel like being herded like cattle to slaughter. Meaning at some point MS is going to drop the hammer on us and say oh yea if you want to continue using win 10 to it's fullest you got 2 options pay a monthly/yearly subscription or stay without a subscription but have missing features and become ad infested.
  • ssdpro
    19590372 said:
    Please look up the definition of "antecedent": "a thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another." You're using it incorrectly.

    Museumman has placed a comment with pronoun "you" in a contraction "you're" without identifying the noun or noun phrase being referenced. Ironically, Museumman has failed to define the pronoun's antecedent.

  • ahnilated
    techy1966, It has been going that way since they started designing Windows 10. I am glad to see you woke up to what MS has planned. :)
  • hannibal
    Hmmm... why nobody was not worried about the servicepacks for the win7... this is not so much different. If you want to have securite upgrades it was sensible to get those service packs. Now the only thing is that there will be two "servicepacks" in one year and you should install at least one of those servicepacks ones in one and half year.
    Not too bad, I supose.
  • hst101rox
    If you buy a new desktop or laptop and want to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8, Microsoft will not allow any Windows Updates to install, even critical security updates.

    A disgruntled Microsoft Developer has proven that Windows updates for Windows 7 and 8 work fine if that OS is installed on Kaby Lake CPUs!
    The developer has released a patch that will now allow Windows Updates on Windows 7 or 8 when running the latest Intel or AMD chipsets.
    Microsoft, cramming Windows 10 down our throats will not work.
  • wiktorw
    "If they bare the name Windows 10 then they all should be supported no matter what"

    I disagree with your "no matter what". Fixes should be distributed and applied for many reasons, including security. Outdated devices pose a real threat when they are connected to the network. See for example:
    or previous articles:

    The same security problems arise for outdated phones, tablets and computers. Heck, even unpatched IoT (Internet of Things) devices are possible source of security problems.
  • Dosflores
    Updating Windows 10 every six months for the sake of updating makes no sense. It only makes sense for Linux distros, in order to keep up with the Linux kernel. Microsoft should only update Windows when they have some important new feature ready for deployment. It's silly enough that they released the Creators Update, which supposedly would foster VR and AR development, without any working VR/AR feature. Now that they're forced to update every six months, Windows 10's silliness is going to increase exponentially.
  • memadmax
    Friends don't let friends run win10