Microsoft anoints Windows 10 Anniversary Update as 'Current Branch for Business'

Microsoft has designated the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, initially released in early August, as ready for business users to deploy en masse.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Four months after releasing to mainstream users the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has declared that release of Windows 10 to be ready for businesses for widescale deployment.


On Nov. 29, Microsoft officially declared Windows 10 Anniversary Update to have achieved Current Branch for Business (CBB) status. As company officials stated in a blog post, designating a Windows 10 feature release as CBB "signifies that this version has been validated by customers, OEMs, and partners giving organizations the confidence to further accelerate deployments at scale."

Users can proactively download the CBB bits now. In January 2017, Microsoft will make the updated Windows 10 Anniversary CBB update available via Windows Update. For PCs managed by WSUS or Configuration Manager, the updated bits still need to be deployed, and the IT admin can choose when, officials said.

When Microsoft decided to roll out regular feature updates to Windows 10, officials created a new, rolling servicing strategy. The majority of consumers and some business users are on the Current Branch (CB), meaning they get new feature updates like the Anniversary Update the earliest that they're available for their hardware.

CBB users typically have about a four-month period from the time Microsoft initially releases a new Windows 10 feature update and the date that it's christened as a CBB release that's been tested by CB customers and others and patched and updated during that period. And Windows 10 Enterprise customers also have the option of keeping some of their machines on the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB). Microsoft officials recently said that the company won't support "general purpose" Surface Pro and Surface Books that are on LTSB.

As Microsoft officials noted in the comments section of yesterday's blog post, Microsoft will service and support two CBB releases at all times. The November 2015 Windows 10 release (build 1511) also has been designated as a CBB release.

Because of Microsoft's decision to support and service only two CBB releases simultaneously, Windows 10 1507 -- the initial Windows 10 release delivered in July 2015 -- won't be getting patches and updates much longer. After March 2017, Microsoft won't be patching Windows 10 1507. And some time around the middle of 2017, or possibly slightly later, Windows 10 1511 (the November 2015 Windows 10 feature update) won't be patched any longer.

For more details about Microsoft's Windows 10 servicing strategy, check out this TechNet article.

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