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Should Microsoft release only one major Windows 10 software update per year instead of two?

Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper
Windows 10 Cloud Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's twice a year update cadence for Windows 10 is an interesting one, if only because it's double that of its competitors. While Microsoft aims for two major Windows 10 updates per year, Google and Apple focus on just one major update per year for their OSes. But the question on everyone's mind is this: Are two updates a year really better than one?

I can't help but wonder why Microsoft decided to go for two updates a year over one major one. For an OS that was once updated once every three years, going from that to twice per year is a big jump. Of course, that's all thanks to Microsoft's new strategy of Windows as a Service. But Windows is still Windows, and it's still a beast to update major versions.

Microsoft has improved Windows Update dramatically since Windows 10 moved to this twice a year update cadence. No longer does Windows need to download huge 4GB updates when a new feature update is released, with the Unified Update Platform making it so Windows only downloads the new bits that it needs for an update, similar to how it works on iOS and Android.

Windows as a Service

The Redmond giant has been laying the foundations for faster Windows updates ever since Windows moved to this "as a service" model, but do the advantages of faster updates outweigh the disadvantages? Most people already hate having to install one update per year on iOS, with several of my friends who use iPhone postponing the update for as long as possible.

Windows is an entirely different beast than iOS of course, but the precedent still stands. In fact, a lot of people hate installing updates on their PCs just as much as they do on their phones, because it means their device is out of action for 15 minutes while the next version of Windows 10 is installed. It's a small amount of time, but that time adds up. Now this is happening twice a year.

The other disadvantage is that there's less time for development. The Windows team is only so large, and developing a product like Windows takes time. In the past, there were three whole years between each Windows release, which gave Windows engineers plenty of time to plan out what they wanted in a release, develop it, polish it, and release it. With the update cadence so fast in Windows 10, the time where development takes place is shorter.

This means features that are planned for an update can quite easily fall behind schedule, or get cut completely. We've seen that happen with both the Creators Update and upcoming Fall Creators Update, with features like My People and Timeline. Those two features ended up slipping to the next release because Microsoft was unable to finish the feature in time. If there were fewer updates going around, perhaps the company would be able to squeeze more into an update.

The twice a year update cadence also makes updates feel smaller and less significant. Since there's less time to develop features, each release will only have so much in it. This means that changes to Windows 10 will feel gradual, and will take place over several releases rather than one. We're seeing that right now with Microsoft's new Fluent Design System. Fluent Design is an overhaul to the Windows UI, but that change will be introduced slowly.

It also means that some updates may feel incomplete. The upcoming Fall Creators Update won't be the biggest update to ever grace Windows 10, and that's because so much of it didn't make it into the product in time. Even Microsoft's new Fluent Design System won't be fully implemented, leaving inconsistencies throughout the OS.

Fear of change

Now, on the flipside, some people prefer their updates feeling less significant. A lot of people hate change, and if an update to Windows went ahead and changed lots of things at once (see Windows 8,) there would be problems. The Windows as a Service model makes updates feel smaller, and less of a change. Only over several releases will users notice major changes.

There are several other advantages to having two updates a year. For example, if a feature planned for one release gets delayed, it's only a six-month wait before that feature is pushed out to the public. This allows Microsoft to get important features out at a faster pace, even if they are delayed at the last minute. Back when Windows was on a three-year release cycle, if a feature got delayed, it was three years before that feature would be readily available to the public.

Even with those advantages, do we really need two updates a year? I personally think one major Windows 10 update a year would be just fine. It would allow Microsoft to squeeze in more than what currently gets put into updates, without being too drastic of a change between versions.

Microsoft likely opted for two updates a year as it allows them to align updates with the back to school and holiday seasons. Both are important seasons for devices like PCs, and being able to align updates to that schedule makes a lot of sense. So maybe Microsoft could offer a tick-tock approach to its two updates a year schedule.

As it currently stands, there's no real formula towards which of the two updates are big or small. As far as I can tell, it depends on whether Microsoft can develop features fast enough for a release. What Microsoft could do is make one of those updates the dedicated "big" update for the year, and have the other update be a smaller update with smaller features and general OS changes. That's similar the 10.x releases Apple does with iOS.

Regardless, we love updates here at Windows Central, and no matter how often they show up, we're going to be excited about them. What are your thoughts on Microsoft's update cadence for Windows 10? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

127 Comments
  • I dont care. Im using mobile
  • You should care. It's all we got left. Two a year is good
  • One per year is plenty.  With only one, maybe they can release something more refined and ready with less bugs.  Still way ahead of a new "version" that used to arrive every three years...
  • @oldmill Agreed!  I've been saying this along.  Once a year is plenty.  Take the entire year to release a polished product with few potential fixes.  Twice a year seems redundant.
  • Every new version will have some kinks to it initially... It's a good balance of a few new features without being overwhelming. And it keeps them in people's mind, giving them something to talk about
  • Yeah and if there is a bug? You'll have to wait a year instead of 6 months to get it fixed.
  • What do you use for a PC? I know a lot of people don't use them at all anymore except for in work, so maybe that's the group you fall into? If W10M worked with Windows the way iOS works with Mac OS it would be great. MS are relying on non-MS devs to support the cross device experience via Rome, it's a bit of a risk as they may not convince them to. I'm still fine with W10M myself, Android and iOS will never have the kind of integration with PC that iOS has with Mac so if I had to switch to an iPhone in the future I'll probably start using Mac for personal use and Windows for development and Office apps still.
  • That's exactly what is going to happen to Microsoft. They F up W10m and force us to switch, but if we do its bye bye windows 10 for good. Go to hell Satya for what you did to W10m and its users.
  • Amen Weng Weng, I feel exactly the same way. The bastards do not card about the customer.
  • or maybe... the consumers, or at least the majority of them, didn't care about windows mobile! Maybe YOU are not the victim but MS is the victim here. The victim of consumer stupidity all along!! And you and me and the other 3 wm fans are just collateral damage... Don't blame a business for doing business...
  • Windows Phone was doing fine when Nadella arrived, reaching 10% market share in some European countries.  Ballmer was doing good with Windows Phone then Nadella scrapped the whole thing... hate that guy...
  • Windows phone was not "doing fine". 10% is not fine for an OS that existed a lot longer than android and iOS. Although it was a reboot, Windows mobile and pocket pc were around a long time. There was almost no support from developers because 10% is nothing. Nadella did not from one day to the other throw everything around at Microsoft. Microsoft made a lot of "mistakes" with mobile but most of them were made in the Ballmer era
  • It's funny that Microsoft is going the tick-tock route for updates, while Intel and AMD are leaving that because it's hard to release updates so often :)
  • They need to iterate quickly right now. I expect as w10 matures they will update yearly at some point, but lots of work needs to be done to make w10 developer friendly and visually consistent.
  • One release a year would be better if they give everything they announce.  UNLIKE NOW....they announce really cool features,  and then pull them back because they are "not ready".   **** or get off the pot MS.  your losing consumers FAST.   I don't want to be another.  One update a year with all features announced included...much better than what you have now.
  • Project Rome isn't even remotely close to iCloud sync. With iCloud sync you can sync everything, all data and apps can communicate. Project Rome allows nothing to be synced, just for the device to communicate and sync their states, but not data. And without data sync there isn't much of use in that. And the developer that resolves data syncing can probably do most of the stuff Project Rome does himself.
  • Rome is great for immediate discovery and interaction with another device. For sync of data you would use OneDrive ideally, but I will admit that is still more complicated than it needs to be. Saving to OneDrive should be one line to request permission and one line to save/read a file as if it was local, along with an option to specify the file is always kept in sync in the background, right now OneDrive requires slightly more work than it should
  • Every serious app can't rely on the file syncing but needs some sort of data syncing (usually database syncing). That's why I say that project Rome doesn't solve some real problems - if you don't have a database syncing it doesn't help, if you have it then you likely don't need it at all for most use cases (continuing user experience from one device to another).
  • I have to admit that I do not care either, although I am no longer using their Mobile platform. (Bluetooth stack is not what it used to be.)
  • If they really cared about their customers, then a simple pop-up message on older supported Windows 8 phones would all that be needed. A pop-up once indicating that they get a free upgrade to W10M will be all that's needed to keep people happy. Instead they did nothing and gutted their existing userbase.
  • Anyone who cared knows how to update. Anyone else is probably better on WP8.
  • More is better.
  • Specially when talking beer 🍺 and pizza 🍕!
  • the more they offload to the Apps, the less important actual OS updates become. EDGE is a pretty big reason why they would have to release OS updates at a more frequent pace. If they remove that dependency, they would have more breathing room to schedule.
  • They definitely need to keep two updates until Edge is unshackled from the OS itself
  • The big reason why they probably don't want to separate Edge updates from big OS updates is because people will start pressuring MSFT to release this "Edge app" for Android, iOS, and Blackberry10.
    .
    How it is right now is good so that they (MSFT) can say that Edge is Windows 10 exclusive.
  • Why? Because Edge is driving people to Win 10? Seems the majority only use Edge long enough to access Google and download Chrome. Whether Ege is integrated into the OS or seperate isn't the issue there. It needs to support the things that are keeping people away from it, and do that sooner than later. De-coupling it would support that.  I use Edge, BTW. Don't even have Chrome loaded, but do have to resort to IE periodically when Edge won't work right. I gather I'm a minority though. 
  • I actually use Opera most of the time. I haven't checked in quite awhile, but my pc is older and Edge could only take 5 new tabs opened before the system became unresponsive, compared to Opera where I can open 20 new tabs without having problems. So I'm not sure people would ask for Edge on other platforms if MS separates it from the OS updates. It's more like they would demand more development via app updates
  • No you are not. I use IE for stability, Edge to test the new features, Chrome for Googly stuff, and Opera Neon for its uniqueness.
  • lol what? EDGE being exclusive is NOT a good thing for the browser btw.
  • "How it is right now is good so that they (MSFT) can say that Edge is Windows 10 exclusive" Yes, exclusively run the most hated web browser on the market. That's a great marketing strategy. While Edge has improved leaps and bounds since it was released, it's still in last place on the Windows platform in terms of user preference. Chances are the EU will force Edge to be uncoupled from Windows (the US will never have the courage to challege Microsoft, especially now that they've got a chief executive who's a classic robber baron).  Technologically, it's bad security practice for Edge to be so itegrated into the OS, which, amusingly and paradoxically, runs counter to Microsoft's excuse for excluding all other browsers from the Windows Store. Don't get me wrong. I want Microsoft to succeed. But, they're trying to succceed with anti-competitive strategies that will harm us end users. When Microsoft gains an upper hand they abuse their power terribly. When they gained the upper hand over Apple in the mid 90's they produce terribly mediocre operating systems. When they gained the upper hand over Netscape in the late 90's early 2000's they produced terribly mediocre browsers. The key difference is that in the 2000's Apple was able to respond by producing a better OS and in the late 2000's Google could respond with a better browser which users could use instead of Explorer. Microsoft is yet again going the monopoly route. They still have an effective monopoly on the desktop (90%+ penetration) so by excluding all other browsers Microsoft is making sure that no one can choose to use an alternative browser to Edge, ever.  
  • What's the advantage of keeping Edge exclusive to Windows 10?
  • The only time I use Edge is on my Lumia 950xl.  On the desktop, once every couple months I open it to see if they finally included the feature I want and it is still no... (automatic switch to new tab when doing right-click-->Open in new tab). Without this feature, a browser is totally useless to me (I don't use Chrome as well for the exact same reason).
  • "What's the advantage of keeping Edge exclusive to Windows 10?" We're entering the twilight zone when there's an advantage to keeping a heavily, and fairly maligned piece of software as a "feature" of a particular operating system. If Microsoft wants Windows 10 S to be taken seriously they can't be giving the press a great lever with which to drive headlines. "Mediocrity for Windows 10 S. Still only runs the mediocre Edge browser." "Windows 10 S falling off the Edge of the cliff. Edge browser still most ignored browser on the planet." And, on it goes. Edge is not well thought out. The only thing of note in that browser is the "read later" feature, but, even that is not exclusive to it. It also has a lame interface. It's designed exclusively for touch but it doesn't do touch particularly well. I gave the browser a chance. I used it for nearly a month as exclusively as possible (there are a lot of websites that do not behave properly in it... most notably Microsoft's own websites) and tried it as the dominant browser for nearly two months. I've now pretty much reverted back to Chrome. It's smoother, faster and has a better overall interface. The only thing that Chrome could improve on is that it doesn't play particularly well with higher resolution screens with interface elements that do not scale. Not that Edge does that well either, for that matter since it has interface elements that scale too much (they're too big).
  • Two updates are better.
  • Two is good, as long as they improve the stability. There are a lot of small issues that have been around for long periods that are just not getting addressed...
  • This is what irks me with W10 compared to Win8/8.1. Even though those versions weren't as extensible, what they did worked more reliably than W10. They need to focus more on gfx optimizations, acrylic is a power suck in a way that Aero Glass wasn't back on Win7.
  • Agreed...
  • yeah although the optimizations will probably come after they finish with the Fluent Design Language in 2019.
  • Aero was hardcore on Vista back in 2006 and 2007 if you didn't have the latest generation of GPUs. Of course Aero in W7 seemed "light" in resources given the GPUs from 2009 to 2012. Fluent Design isn't that intensive really. Performance is only not 100% smooth and perfect with Intel HD 620 class GPUs at resolutions higher than 1080p. Everything else powers through Fluent Design easily
  • And then it became negligible with modern hardware. Why is this effect so much more processor intensive? Why are XAML menus drawing with more hiccups than they did back on Win8, read: Start Menu, whether full screen or not. W10 is very poorly optimized when it comes to UI actions and rending.
  • Two is good.  But we need more bug fixes.  Edge in FCU is less crashy than in CU.  We need it backported NOW!
  • It's normal Edge gets faster and more stable with each new build. But Edge isn't even at v16 in current RS3 builds. So you may want to wait.
  • I just want the bug fixes.  Sometimes it fails to restore the tabs and looses them.  Highly annoying and should be fixed immediatly.
  • As a Windows Mobile user, one significant update a year instead of two totally insignificant 'updates' a year would be most welcome. Heck, one significant update every two years would be a massive improvement.
  • That is about what you got WM6->WP7->WP8->W10M->? Is about a two year cycle.
  • [Erased - broken post due to posting on the train.]
  • WP does not equal WM. They are different operating systems. Even if you think otherwise, WP8 was certainly not a two year cycle and WM10 was a downgrade which, whilst significant, is not quite what I meant.
  • One significant update every two years would be a massive improvement? I'd say RS2+ vs TH2 is a massive improvement in design, features, stability, performance and the fewer number of bugs.
  • I'd say WM10 still hasn't got back all the features that WP8 has. We still haven't got back to where we were. Certainly, since WM 10 came out as a release version on the L930 I have seen almost no new features at all. Just trying to fix the mess (sort of...). I grabbed an L950XL so I could go back to WP8 on the L930 and get all the features (Dolby Surround, 5.1 audio recording etc.). I still haven't seen any significant update for WM10. WP8, now that got proper updates, with actual new things. Never seen much evidence of that kind of update on WM10 unfortunately.
  • True. I'm also missing just the stability of Windows 8 Mobile, SMS relative maturity. Microsoft had developers a game viable competitor but they were too late to compete and make a profit doing it.
  • Even if the updates were annual, there would still be things planned for an update that fall behind schedule or get cut completely.  With updates twice a year, when things that get cut, at least they would then hopefully be included in the next update 6 months later.  With annual updates, we would have to wait 12 months.
  • Two updates, most definitely. They have a lot of work to do to bring consistency to Windows' UI and UX and evolve UWP to have feature parity with Win32 and Android/iOS's apps, they most definitely can't wait until 2019/2020 before all this finally reach their users.
  • One. Maybe then they wouldl have the resources to cleanup their code and fix stuff like cut and paste.
  • Two seems spot on to me
  • The thing is, for many PCs it is not "out of service for 15 minutes".  It can be a much longer outage on slower PCs.  And by slower, that can be CPU as well as not having a HDD.  The combination of both on an older PC can mean a 90 minute outage.  Very frustrating.  Hopefully Microsoft monitor the telemetry of such times and can improve this through less upgrades or refined upgrade process.
  • I'm an Insider on the fast ring on a slow computer, so I know all about those long waits (often weekly). I don't think asking users to do it twice a year is a big deal.
  • Indeed, we insiders are used to many updates, but two major updates a year is not too much. Just make sure that users get enough new features. The most important things right now are the new design language for visual part and the CShell for the new mobile devices. You could add AR/MR for consumers because otherwise Apple will grab that market as well
  • They improved the upgrade process dramatically though. What more do you want?
  • It's really sad that people can't live without a computer for 90 minutes. Why can't people just leave the computer on and go to bed? You know wake up in the morning and the update is done?
  • The one point about people hating change is a good one. By rolling out features more gradually, it's easier for those people to accept them. The only six month wait (in most cases) for delayed features is another good reason to stay on the current schedule.
  • Agreed 100%
  • The one thing I don't like of the way MS is doing things is that they release buggy features and fix them later.  I wouldn't mind less features but fully functional ones and very stable.
  • One. Let the polish it till the ends.
  • I'm fine with it got to get windows fluent design out faster
  • Two a year is great. This 27 year old problem of change is bad (Only for Windows) needs to change. The very same people have no problems with any other OS OR the updates after a new PC purchase so they need to get with the times..
  • Two updates would be better, assuming they were really meaningful and not just fluff.  They need to release some important features and updates.  If they wait a year, a large number will be obsolete before even being released.
  • Two a year is just perfect.
  • I switched back to Android because windows 10 mobile is dead now
  • It's not dead yet. RS2 is working just fine and RS2+ seems to be a bug fix update. Which in all honesty it needs it.
  • This article has nothing to do with Windows 10 Mobile.
  • I'd prefer two a year. It's the last version of Windows. I wish they would release Windows 11 or 12 or 10.1 or whatever other inconsistent name they come up with. In 2025, Windows will die and nobody knows what will happen in the future.
  • Yes, I agree but I am in the 2-3 range if needed. Because of the variance of hardware from the many OEMs it's just not equatable. Every six months is good and keeps things fresh. The downside is however Microsoft like's to cut features and basic functions that make a whole lot of sense like placeholders though it's suppose to reappear in the next update but why cut it in the first place and I want drag and drop added back to the photos app I mean why take such a handy function out. Two updates is very good and is needed with the addition of AR/VR, Cortana, AI, the new addition coming is Windows on Arms so there is far more happening than in the past and at lease two updates a year is appropriate to keep things moving forward.
  • This is always such a stupid argument to me... Why do people even care? EVERYBODY sleeps. Press install, go to bed... Or go eat... Or, dare I say, go play outside. If you can't be bothered from your device for 15 minutes, your priorities in life are skewed.
  • You think this is a problem/concern? I don't think this is largely about the time it takes to install updates, though MS could still do a better job of respecting people's schedules.  I think this is about two things. 1) does MS have the resources to do two 'major' releases a year and do them well, and 2) are people OK with 'major' changes twice a year.  On the first point, I'm not sure they have the resources. If one release per year was substantial, and the second were targetted more at polishing the capabilities, we might see less bugs, and fewer feature delays. Still going to be monthly minor updates of course, but those would be for things that are broken.  On the second point, I love new stuff, but enterprises don't love training people on new stuff. Stuff like Files-on-Demand in OneDrive can be very disruptive in a business environment where normal people need hand holding to not be confused by the new way. That costs time and money. Note we are talking about the OS here. The apps, even the in-built ones, are a different discussion. How often should Groove, Mail, File Explorer,  get updates? That should at least be de-coupled from the OS, unless of course, OS changes are required to support new funtionality in the apps.  But then those new app features should wait untill the OS updates occur on a natural schedule.
  • I don't have a super strong feeling one way or the other on this. If it's two a year, if it's one a year, I think I'm okay either way. There have been some really logical, practical, compelling reasons why going to once a year might be a much smarter idea for MS. And so, again, if they do that, I'm fine with it. However, I personally get excited around update time, as the new update makes the device feel like a new device for a little while. It's almost like a mini party for me, a micro-holiday :-) So for that completely personal and selfish reason, I think I like the twice a year cycle better. The only real "practical" benefit I can see in the twice a year scheme is that it sets MS apart from the crowd. Apple and Google gets updated in the fall. Well, MS will too, but they might also get updated in the spring. And this might be even more potentially disruptive if they do the big/little tick tock the article mentions, but make their big one be in the spring! But again, I can live pretty happily with either one. Cheers!
  • It can be argued that the two we are currently getting are not "major" updates. I like the two update schedule. It's new to them and it will take some time for them to get a "better" grip on what can actually be included vs not. I've been in the software industry for a long time. It's normal for features to get pushed out of a release due to things that some up during the cycle, mostly schedule. The things that's mostly new is how must the public gets to be involved in and witness to those things along the way.
  • Two minimum. I'm glad that they're not following the competition.
  • I couldn't really name a major change to windows 10 since it launched from any of the previous updates. I have a feeling the upcoming update will be much the same. At one point I think they moved some settings around & there was a 3D paint app that launched... I'm sure there are plenty of under the hood fixes & improvements, but in daily use of the OS it's still the same functionality and experience to me.
  • Updates should be as and when required, if that means 2 or more in a year it doesn't matter.
  • Frankly, I'd prefer they finish modularizing Windows 10 completely and then just update one module at a time as they're finished instead of doing a bunch at once.    This month, new start menu updates. Next month, All new settings interface and options. After that, Edge Extensions are drastically improved. etc etc.    
  • Presently mobile need 3 update in year
  • Two is better than one becasue it forces a more rapid cycle time. This may be inefficient at first as they get used to it and change their processes, but if you work with anyone doing good Agile development or following Scrum (I actually don't think MS uses Scrum), they'll tell you that things like this make the sprints more focused and the teams faster. Also, the release becomes just a bottling of the current state of the code, with new feature development being a constant. Good for MS for going to a 2/year cadence.
  • Microsoft defininitely does Agile and has scrums, and have documented it. They also have an entire platform that they use built on the process: Team Foundation Server (TFS). Release cycles are independent of an iteration cycle.
  • @wpguy, thanks for the info! Note that having "scrums" as part of Agile is different from being a Scrum organization, where management is handled through Scrum of Scrums. By Microsoft's presentations, they don't appear to work this way, at least not across the whole company (maybe some teams do). In Scrum, releases are not tied to the iteration cycle, but they are related -- a release will be based on the current state of the code at the time of release (which itself may have been forked slightly for polish for release). The release cycle must be greater than or equal to the sprint duration. This is because the code base is only updated once per sprint, so in an extreme case with a 2-year sprint (not uncommon for hardware companies just starting on Scrum), then the release cycle can only be once every two years at best. In software, Sprints of 1 week are pretty common, so hopefully that's what MS is doing. But still a good thing to have dual annual releases to maintain a focus on rapid updates. Unless there is general customer anger over the release schedule (which is possible, and that would be a valid reason to space them more), I don't think it's even debatable -- 2 releases per year are better than 1 for feature development and OS stability. Faster is better.
  • every product need more time to get high quality and need to be tested fine before it  release to users , we saw previous version of windows it was high qulaity product , but now every two month we see new updates , and the new version has more bugs and low quality because it made in short time.
  • Does it really matter? Really, the major updates we are getting are what used to be called Service Packs, except that now they are released on a more defined schedule. Those of us current with the production releases are running Windows 10 Service Pack 4, with Service Pack 5 coming this fall/autumn/spring/late 2017. The naming may have changed, but that's about it. The whole "Windows as a Service" is largely because having "X as a Service" is trendy.
  • From a small business standpoint, two updates per year is too much.  Most small businesses are inconvenienced by updates (and, small businesses rarely use or even notice new features), and time is money.  Windows OS is mature, and doesn't need continual updating. MS should offer small businesses the opportunity to easily transfer to a version which (except for security patches) is only updated bi-enially.  
  • The risk of W10 updates is supposed to be minimal compared to past releases. Especially if application developers are building for modern devices the notion of staying up to date is more important as support gets cutoff quicker in this day and age. Remember, they aren't installing insider builds, these updates get pushed down as KB releases through Windows Update. There's a big difference between how long it takes to install these updates. Also, don't forget about the security fixes!
  • If the updates include breaking changes, then that's a fair concern. I would say, therefore, that the issue is not the frequency of the updates, but the risk that they will cause problems. If they happen seamlessly and reliably in the background, like the daily antivirus updates, then there's no reason not to move all the way to every monthly "Patch Tuesday" being a small incremental OS upgrade. That would be 12 per year.
  • Why do some authors think this is even worth a discussion? They could make one update a week like an app and it would still be fine. They could push every single new feature as soon as it's ready and it would be fine. Yes, if you make us wait 2 years, maybe the Timeline feature wouldn't get pushed back. But so would the feature preceding it. You don't get features earlier if you make updates less frequent, even if they get pushed back. The biggest advantage of a fast update cycle is that Microsoft is closer to the customer. They are also more flexible to implement new features that their competitors get. A minor feature, like Bluelight protection doesn't need to wait for years.
    The only disadvantages are the communication effort needed (i.e. Dona's job is only there because there are updates coming frequently) and the organizational overhead to coordinate the developers (they need to get a working build more often than before). But these disadvantages are there always when you do agile development and that is state-of-the-art programming nowadays.
  • @El Mac, you are correct, with one possible caveat. I think right now, there are still cases where the bigger updates cause problems for some users. I can certainly understand why those users (including businesses and their IT departments), who have to spend time getting things working again following the update, wish updates were less frequent. So what MS really needs to do is get to smill incremental updates like you've described that avoid breaking changes. I'm not sure if that's possible, but that should be the goal.
  • the more updates the more effort they have to put into it, lets make it one per quarter year, even if tiny improvements, they will be forced to polish w10 4 times a year
  • @EspHack, that's not correct if they are working per Agile or Scrum methodologies. Releases are just the current state of the code. Ah, you're thinking -- but they would need to stop to polish the code for release each time, rather than just occasionally. That would waste effort that could have gone into more feature development. On teh contrary, studies show that the effort to polish a small set of changes for release is less than the effort to polish those same changes together as a single large group of changes. This seems to be because there is time and effort to get back into work on any block of code. Constant testing and release during development saves this time that would otherwise be lost. In other words, it is more efficient to do a release every week with minimal changes than once per year with many changes.
  • I love updates...Always look forward to them. The more the merry.
  • I think one per 10 years that will be fine..
  • All Microsoft Products the Last 2 Years are Total Crap !!!!! Full of Problems. Full of Bugs. Full of Lags. Full of Bad Responsiveness, And No One Cares. Only Fan Boys Saying Everything is Fine and Everything is Good, No Problems At All. :(
  • Couldn't agree more. While Android, iOS, and Mac have been stellar for me in the past two years, and longer, Windows manages to introduce far too many time consuming bugs or complete anilations at every turn. Getting sick of applying updates only to find out we're gonna have to spend hours or days now sorting them out. And have enough devices that I've just about seen all of what the new reiteration of Windows has to offer, and we don't like it... So one properly implemented update a year, or two, would suit me just fine, if we are still in the Windows realm that is.
  • I think that two updates per year is good for where WIndows 10 is right now. Contrary to what is stated in the article, features will fall off the update schedule regardless of its frequency, so the question becomes, "do you want to wait an extra six months or one year for the feature that was teased but dropped?" I would rather wait only six months. Once Windows 10 reaches a certain level of feature maturity, then the cadence can drop to once per year, but we are clearly not at that point yet. Windows 10 still lags behing Windows 8 in some areas of tablet usability, Fluent Design is just starting to roll out, AR/VR capabilities are minimal, and in many other ways Windows 10 is still in core feature development. Getting the features in the hands of users as fast as possible makes the most sense.
  • I generally agree, but I'd instead say, once Windows development (rather than Windows itself) reaches a sufficient level of maturity that they are nailing their internal development cadence and have virtually eliminated regression bugs (breaking changes), I'd like to see them go to small monthly updates on Patch Tuesday, rather than string them out to annual. It's a simple law of efficient code development that more frequent releases are better than less frequent releases, asymptotically approaching the duration of each development sprint.
  • Two major updates per year, and smaller updates on a monthly basis is perfect.
  • Two a year is good, fun trouble shooting!
  • Whilst i don't mind the two updates a year for my personal use, i would prefer the one a year when it comes to maintaining the PCs i have to look after at work. We're a small company and I think we are going to struggle to get the 70 or so devices from anniversary update over to the creators update in time for when the fall creators comes out as MS only support the last two versions. Already have one compatibility problem to resolve and its quite a big one so i would welcome the one a year to give me and others in similar situation a little more time.
  • If it cause no driver malfunction, two is better.
  • Insiders are here to help, Cumulative updates are here to polish
  • Being a Windows Insider and having multiple PCs is a bonus. I have the current Creators Update on my main device and run pre-release software on my desktop. I enjoy seeing those updates but sometimes when there is one and I select "Click here to see what's new ...' the changes aren't always apparent. The "What's new" page looks the same as the last time.
  • Once a year is enough. Otherwise we're going to get into a bloatware situation where they tack things on just for the sake of it. Partially seeing that now with the likes of 3D Paint..the Inkspace, neither of which I imagine see much usage.  I'd rather they sorted the consistency of the OS out first, with things like having a Settings section, but still having the Control Panel etc
  • Stick with one and take the time to properly refine the releases.
  • I prefer 2 a year. The OS feel more alive.
  • Nah, just make stuff come as it's finished, no major updates, just a continuous stream of new features. No 6 month delay if it does not hit a deadline, just release next month. 
  • These updates are so buggy that they have to be out for months of patches before they start to get fairly safe for most people to apply.  I'm an IT professional who has seen too many of these updates go south.  Worse yet, when the updates fail, they don't tell you in anything resembling 'English' what went wrong, or what needs attention before you try again, assuming your system didn't get bricked.  MS is so secretive about what goes on - and what goes wrong, that it just makes things even worse.  I still have not installed the May 'upgrade' on a single PC, let alone all 4 active systems.  On top of that, MS likes to make changes for the sake of change, like hiding "Control Panel" for no particular reason.
  • Yeah, still hate how their error codes etc, still leave one in the dark as to a fix. And can't count how many times multiple solutions to one common problem rarely has solved my woes, recovery from backup in most cases has been only solution.
  • I don't care how often they update. I just want them to fix the Store and Windows Update. Both have been broken since Windows 8. I'm tired of having to repair them all of the time.
  • I think we should stop complaining and be grateful that we don't have to wait three years to take advantage of new features...
  • Two is good. It's not too much that it'll annoy people with update after update eating into their productivity time but it's also not too scarce as to give the impression Microsoft has become complacent. What MS really need to work on is getting the message out on how to update to new builds and that they're free. I know people who have never updated their Windows 10 laptops because they are completely in the dark or think it'll cost them another Windows license and are still stuck in the November Update or the Anniversary Update - basically, whatever version their device came with when they first bought it.
  • I'm living in a parallel universe, I think. I mean, two updates a year, each taking 15 minutes or a bit more is by no means a pain in the neck to me. I'm updating my phone much more than my pc since I'm using a rooted android phone. I don't even pay attention how many times my pc wants to update...
  • I wouldn't mind once a year if they had decent internal testing. But with the thoroughness they are working, the sooner they release something as if it was ready, the better.
  • Keep it to 2-3 per year and any updates in between should be about bug fixes and pepper optimization.
  • Not sure what the major complaint is.
    I know that the tendancy we have is to resist change, so to have it come in small doses is far more acceptable than the Win 8 debacle.
    Plus I use a freeware program called - W10Privacy . After thinking about this update scenario, personally, I think 2 per year is fine, after all, it is their baby and why leave it floundering, when they can introduce updates this regularly.
    As long as regular backups are performed, no real harm can come anyway.
    But then, even though we are told over and over again to do so, what percentage people out there actually perform regular backups?
    And these backups need to be stored separately from a computer to retain their
    And a backup should be performed every time an update is enacted, just in case there is a problem you can then roll back to a previous version. Then wait until the update is sorted out. Given how quickly things are changing nowadays, I think it is often enough to keep up with how wants and desires change.
    And like is said in the article above, if they cannot get something ready for a release, then the wait is only 6 months before we see it. I hated the change in windows 8's UI for desktops, especially as the change was so radical and sudden. And I still retain a windows 7 interface on my windows 10 by utilising third party software - I find it pointless having a touchscreen interface on a desktop, even though I have retained the new look UI on a windows tablet.
    Instead of one big change, if they had brought the changes in instalments, we probably would have had a far better transition and an even better end product (keep the good and get rid of or modify the bad - example the windows start button). I do consider that we should have easier ways to give more control over updates as well as many other functions in Win 10 which is why I use W10Privacy.
    I can delay updates, as well as pick and choose what updates and a load of other things with this program
    But it should be noted, I would advise those who wish to use this program, to make sure they know what they are doing (do some research first to understand) before jumping in and messing with their system too much. You can have a read about it here if you are at all interested - https://betanews.com/2016/02/22/control-windows-10-updates/
    His only request for money is for a donation if you like it - I suppose this lets him know how many people actually appreciate his program and acts as an incentive for him to continue developing the program.
  • "Back when Windows was on a three-year release cycle, if a feature got delayed, it was three years before that feature would be readily available to the public." Features still got released into earlier versions. Microsoft's Software-As-A-Service approach is marketing speak. They've simply upped the frequency of updates to reduce the sticker shock. Frequent updates is bad for technology adoption. This trickle-update approach is going to fail to inspire the way a smorgasbord update does. A smorgasbord update gives a brand new goal for developers and users to aspire to. Gradual change does ensure that most people are on the same version of Windows 10 but it also ensures they don't necessarily notice major changes and keep doing things status quo. Developers will be in the same boat. If there's not a new major goal post to shoot for why shoot for something new? And, besides, there still is fragmentation in the Windows 10 market. Some corporate users are running software that's two years older than the current release. Microsoft would be better off with an annual update cycle. It allows for changes to be obvious and marketed. Disconnecting Edge from the sluggish Windows update cycle would help greatly. It's such a mediocre browser that it's still painful to use, two years after it was released. Of course, Microsoft's anti-competitive behaviour vis-a-vis their attempt to redirect users to the Bing search engine is what's at the root of their refusal to disconnect Edge from Windows, but, the EU may eventually save Microsoft users from the evils of Microsoft's anti-competitive behaviour (the US certainly won't).
  • And, before the contingent of Microsoft sheep complain that Apple is not being labasted for their behaviour, it's not the same. On the desktop Apple allows anyone to build desktop software. It doesn't play Microsoft's anti-competitive games. And, on iOS, they do allow and have always allowed users to change search engines for the browser. Same applies to Chrome, except in Android you can even change browser rendering engines. Even in Chrome OS/ChromeBooks you can change the default seach engine! The browser isn't what is Microsoft's problem with Edge on Windows 10 S, it's the search engine.
  • Now you can skip builds and wait for new build so that you can jump to the latest build from any old build. users have more control on updates they are not forcing to go through each build thats cool feature isn't it?
  • I'm on the fence. 2 updates a year also allow bugsfixes to be added in the second half. I do think, even for microsoft two updates a year is brutal for its development team. For two years I've been noticing new features coming that take up time and resources, which I don't necessarily need in windows and never asked for. On the other had there are several features that need some minor updating, and I would still be a happy user and customer. But with the latter I'm noticing microsoft is lagging behind fast. And it is not transparent if any of this feature feedback is getting through. I already notice a myriad of incomplets features and issues that span back more than a year and have still not been adressed. If these issues were adressed first I would be happy to wait and see what new things microsoft comes up with next. But with the increasing trend of half baked features, I think the future of innovation is less exciting. Maybe once a year is better to give microsoft some breathingroom
  • Here's an idea for an article: Why Microsoft doesn't get the market place! Microsoft released Windows 10 S, a UWP-only operating system that leaves behind legacy support. In principle, a good idea. Eliminate legacy software and allow for secure installs of software only from the curated Windows Store. That's an idea whose time has come. Apple has successfully done it a few times over the past two and a half decades. In practice, there is a marketing achilles heel that is as large as the failures of Windows 8, Vista and ME before it. Windows 10 S will only ever be allowed to run Edge. In and of itself that is not necessarily a bad thing. But, the single irritant that betrays Microsoft's ignorance is the obviously anti-competitive measure they've put into Windows 10 S: You can only ever use Bing as the default search engine. The only earlier precedent for such anti-competitive behavior was when Microsoft itself did something very similar by privileging Internet Explorer over Netscape. Now Microsoft is at it again and again with a web browser. While a minority of Microsoft fans will reflexively point to Apple's iOS or Google ChromeBooks and claim that that excuses Microsoft's behaviour, it doesn't on a few counts: #1 Apple enjoys a dominant market position with iOS, yes, but it is far from a monopoly. Android provides an effective counter. This does not exist on the desktop where Windows enjoys a 90%+ market share and the only counter to Windows 10 S is Windows 10, controlled by the same company. #2 Apple does not force a default search engine on its iOS users. They are free to change it. That is not the case with Windows 10 S and Microsoft has made that crystal clear. Bing is and shall be the only default search engine that you may ever use. #3 Google ChromeBooks also do not force a default search engine in Chrome. You are free to change it. I realize that this is pointing out that emperor has no clothes to a minority of the Microsoft fans, but, the die-hards are a lost cause anyway. They will keep promoting bad practice in the face of overwhelming evidence. Anyway, the point is that Microsoft doesn't get that its anti-competitive behaviour is obvious (well, maybe they do and are hoping the bad press doesn't kill interest in Windows 10 S). It's an obvious ploy to get people to use Bing as their search engine and they're using their monopoly to do so. I've only heard negative things about Windows 10 S, and, almost all of them start with the complaint that Edge is the one and only default browser and Bing is the one and only default search engine. With any luck, all the negative press will kill the anti-competitive behavior in Windows 10 S, in principle a good idea. If that doesn't do it, hopefully the EU will challenge Microsoft on their obvious anti-competitive behavior. If that doesn't happen, hopefully Windows 10 Professional will live on long enough to put a nail in the coffin of only and forever Bing as the default search engine.
  • In the beginning, when Windows 10 had a lot of bugs and inconsistent drivers, an update every 6 months were really necessary. Nowadays, Windows 10 is more mature, and bugs occur only in specific cases, so a small patch every month or so is enough. I think Windows can and must have a major update every year now, since the general public still feel unconfortable every time they have their computers updated, and most UWP applications can now be updated via Windows Store.
  • how am I wrong then? thats pretty much what I want to happen, more updates = more pressure on them
  • updates are aligned such that in a way that the PC works more quickly than the previous versions because the developments &deployments are made on the basis of bugs that are faced in the previous builds and trying to vanish them and creating new attractive platforms for the users it is more to have a major twice a year