Microsoft Software Updates

FAQ: Windows 10, now with more upgrade skipping

It's possible for companies to maneuver around Microsoft's upgrade schedule for Windows 10, and skip some updates if they want. Here's how.

Corporate customers have repeatedly told Microsoft to put the brakes on Windows 10's runaway upgrade train.

We know that because Microsoft has steadily increased the time it will support each Windows 10 feature upgrade. Originally envisioned as just 12 months, support was first boosted to 18 months, then extended to two years - first for the 1511 feature upgrade, then for its three successors: 1617, 1703 and 1709, the refreshes released in mid-2016, and April and October 2017.

And last week, Microsoft upset the support cart again by pushing support out to 30 months for the upgrades released each fall.

The additional support effectively repealed the regimented schedule of the past and voided Computerworld's recommendations about skipping every other refresh to reduce the upgrade churn.

But new challenges replaced those Microsoft had invalidated with more support. To illustrate how the new scheduling affects businesses - which are now rushing to meet the January 2020 deadline set by Windows 7's retirement – we've gone back into the Windows' software-as-a-service timeline to reveal what options enterprises have.

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