Last week, we reported how Microsoft had quietly removed launch options from the Settings app – something that was not announced by the company and only discovered in the IT Pros documentation. Because this option is used to avoid a new Windows 10 feature update until it is sufficiently stable, many users did not change well.
In the document, Microsoft had mentioned that it made this policy change “to prevent confusion.” Since the user’s revolt, the Windows manufacturer has clarified exactly how this policy change actually manages to prevent confusion – at least to some extent.
“In Windows 10, version 2004, we removed two advanced options for Windows Update settings that allowed you to postpone feature updates and / or quality updates by a certain number of days,” the company said in a recent announcement. “This change allows those running premium editions of Windows 10 (such as Pro, Enterprise, Education) to stay on a certain Windows 10 version for a longer period of time.”
How exactly does deleting launch options allow you to stay in a Windows 10 update longer?
It appears that some business users were inadvertently updated to new releases as a result of this option in the Settings app. In a blog post published earlier this week, Microsoft’s Aria Carley explains that unless your device is nearing the end of the service, you don’t actually need to configure any settings because Microsoft will not automatically install a new Windows 10 feature update on your device.
The option to postpone a new update for 365 days may seem like you will be sure to get a new feature update for one year, but given Microsoft provides two feature updates each year, every half month, any version meets these 365 days criteria . This meant that units were upgraded every six months instead of the intended 365 days.
While Microsoft wouldn’t have bugged you for about a year until your device nears the end of the service, your deferral settings were actually crushed with this policy of “leave users until their current Windows 10 version meets the end of service”, upgrading to new editions every six months.
“The option to stay on your current version until you choose to download and install the latest feature update or until the end of service ends only possible when launches are not set for the device. “
This is where the confusion call comes in. Carley writes that the change in settings “allows you to stay on a certain version for a longer period, take a feature update about once a year or less depending on which version of Windows 10 your device is running.” This actually means that as long as you do not set any launch options, you will still not be updated to a new version in about a year.
She added that launches “can be a great way to roll out updates in waves to a set of devices across an organization,” but for end users, this caused confusion and surprise upgrades, or what Microsoft calls “some unintended consequences.”
To help “prevent these unintended consequences and allow you to stay with a certain version of Windows 10 for the longest time, starting with Windows 10, version 2004, we no longer display launch options on the Windows Update Settings page under Advanced Options,” the company writes.
“This ensures that you have control and visibility in exactly when to install the latest Windows 10 feature update until you are near the end of the service. The ability to set up delays has not been removed, it just no longer appears on the Settings page.”
The above is important; as we mentioned in our previous coverage about this, that postponements can still be set with local group policy through computer Configuration > administrative templates > Windows Components > Windows update > Windows Update for Business > “Choose when preview is built and feature updates are received” or “Choose when quality updates are received” that you can use to postpone both feature and monthly updates.
This clarification does not make everyone happy as many call it a poor design decision and lack of confidence in the ability of Pro users to control and manage their devices. One user commented:
So let me get this straight, by removing the option and forcing it into Group Policy Editor, something that only Windows 10 Pro and above have (without changing the OS) gives you control over when to install the latest Windows 10- feature update?
This contradicts itself like crazy. This is also a move that Apple would make.
Microsoft, you are now telling your users that they are too stupid to check when updates can be installed on these systems. Given the latest problems with feature updates, this will only cause major problems.
Congratulations, you made me compare you to Apple and it’s actually a BAD thing.
While it may help prevent confusion about Windows 10 feature updates, Microsoft has still not clarified why it decided to remove launch options for monthly quality updates from the Preferences app. Maybe a new change is expected?
As for IT administrators, Microsoft insists that this change will not affect them if they “use Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools or Group Policy management tools to set up postponements to do validation and roll out feature updates in scheduled waves across their organization. “