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Today, I’m offering an overview of the product lifecycle and details on how we will service Windows 11.
Last week we announced Windows 11, the future of Windows for all users. Windows 11 is built on the familiar Windows 10 foundation and will begin to be available the second half of this year. When we originally released Windows 10, we made a commitment to keep devices protected and productive through best-in-class servicing. We are pleased with the progress we have made in keeping over 1.3 billion devices updated on a global scale. Along with the end user experience and security improvements in Windows 11, we are also introducing enhancements you have suggested and asked for to our servicing approach.
Windows 11 lifecycle
Windows 11 will have an annual feature update cadence, a change from the semi-annual cadence of Widows 10. Windows 11 feature updates will release in the second half of the calendar year and will come with 24 months of support for Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions. Windows 11 will come with 36 months of support for Enterprise and Education editions, continuing to provide additional time and flexibility for the validation and at-scale deployments common on those editions. The change to an annual update cadence and slightly longer lifecycle versus Windows 10 is based on user feedback and our overall update approach.
Windows 11 for consumers
For consumers we will continue to provide choices for control and transparency related to device updates. This includes the ability to schedule a restart, pause an update, and have full control over which optional updates to install. The feature update process for Windows 10 to Windows 11 will be a user-initiated ‘seeker’ process to choose to update to Windows 11. For users who are not eligible for Windows 11 due to the hardware requirements, the seeking experience will not be available. You can find more information on device and hardware requirements here. We will continue to document all our releases and updates with release notes (in 36 languages) and share information on releases via the Windows release health hub.
Windows 11 for commercial organizations
Windows 11 will be available via all the existing Windows 10 servicing channels our commercial organizations are familiar with. You will also be able to use many of the same familiar management and deployment tools and processes including but not limited to Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Windows Autopilot. For Enterprise and Education customers the Windows Update for Business deployment service provides more IT control over Windows Update than ever before to approve, schedule or expedite updates via Microsoft Endpoint Manager, PowerShell or even custom tools created using the Microsoft Graph SDK. Prior to deploying, commercial organizations can determine if the devices within their organization meet the device and hardware requirements for Windows 11 using the Windows 11 PowerShell Script or when Windows 11 is launched via Endpoint Analytics or Update Compliance. More information for commercial organizations is available in Steve Dispensa’s blog on Planning for Windows 11 and our new Windows 11 Docs. IT admins also have easy, integrated access on both monthly and feature updates and related information on Windows release health on the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Keeping you protected and productive
We are continuing our ongoing commitment and investments in Windows 11 to improve the overall update process, focusing on ensuring you have a reliable, productive experience. Windows 11 retains the familiar Windows cumulative monthly security update process (also referred to as the “B” release or Patch Tuesday release); however, with Windows 11 these will be smaller in size (up to 40%). These monthly releases will continue to contain all previous updates to keep devices protected and productive. We will also continue to make the monthly “C” release preview updates available to users who seek these optional updates and for those in the Windows Insider Program or Windows Insider Program for Business.
While Windows 11 marks an exciting milestone for the future of Windows, we will continue to support Windows 10 through October 14, 2025. We will be introducing Window 10, version 21H2 in the second half of this year along with a Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) edition. We will be sharing more detailed information on both the next update to Windows 10 and Windows 11, including details on how we will make available and rollout each release. Stay tuned for more information on Windows, and remember that being on the latest version of Windows provides you with both the latest features and security protections to help keep your device safer.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.