Microsoft: Two Windows 10 feature updates coming in 2017

Microsoft has acknowledged officially that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be its only feature upgrade to Windows 10 this year. Two new feature refreshes are coming in 2017, however.

While a number of us Microsoft watchers have been saying for a while that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update would be Microsoft's only feature update to Windows 10 in 2016, now Microsoft officials are acknowledging the same.

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In a recent TechNet article itemizing new IT pro features for the Anniversary Update (codenamed "Redstone 1"), Microsoft officials included this line:

"Windows 10, version 1607 is our third Windows 10 feature update released. Based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10, this will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017."

(I saw the line above in a post by The Verge's Tom Warren, who saw it on Windows Central.)

The first Windows 10 feature release by Microsoft's calculations was the initial Windows 10 operating system release in June 2015 that was codenamed "Threshold 1". The November 2015 update, "Threshold 2", was the second. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is the third.

At one point, Microsoft was planning to release two Redstone updates in calendar 2016, but earlier this year, officials decided to push Redstone 2 to early 2017, my sources told me in March.

According to the TechNet article, there will be two Windows 10 feature "upgrades" in 2017, which we've heard are codenamed Redstone 2 and Redstone 3. They'll likely arrive in the spring and fall of 2017, if Microsoft holds to its usual release timetables.

Note that Microsoft officials often use the term "upgrades" to refer to OS refreshes that include new features and "updates" to refreshes that include security, reliability, and bug fixes only. (Most of us Microsoft watchers don't make those distinctions in our coverage.)

The TechNet article marks the first time Microsoft executives are on the record about releasing only one Windows 10 feature update this year. In Microsoft TechNet articles about Windows 10 servicing, officials have mentioned that Microsoft's goal is to release two to three feature upgrades each year for Windows 10. This year, with one Windows 10 upgrade only, broke with that pattern.

As Microsoft starts up its Insider preview testing again in the coming days, testers will begin seeing Redstone 2 test builds.

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