This week we will be talking about Microsoft outlines Windows Update Model Using System Center Configuration Manager; Microsoft’s newest Windows Server test build adds new storage, failover clustering updates; and Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools.
Microsoft Outlines Windows Update Model Using System Center Configuration Manager
Microsoft kicked off a video series describing how to update Windows 10 using System Center Configuration Manager recently. The nature of the updates for Windows, Internet Explorer and NET Framework and how they get updated monthly is outlined. The article below describes how both Windows 10 systems and older Windows operating systems get updated. For Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to move its customers away from selectively choosing which patches to apply each month utilizing automation. However, this can lead to problems.
Windows 10 updates follow a cumulative model, where a monthly update release contains prior patches. Microsoft started the cumulative update scheme when they launched Windows 10.
There were 9 update types that were identified in the article:
- Critical Update: a widely released fix for non-security software flaws
- Definition Update: a widely released update to a definitive database
- Drivers: an update to the system that manages hardware
- Security Update: a widely released fix for a software vulnerability
- Service Pack: a between-version cumulative update that largely applies to “legacy” or older software
- Tool Update: an update to a utility software program
- Security-Only Update: an update released each month that contains all of the security updates for that month, but which is not cumulative • Monthly Rollup: a set of cumulative updates that include both security and reliability updates • Preview of Monthly Rollup: a tested cumulative set of new quality updates packaged together for distribution in the next month, containing what was included in the prior month, but excluding security updates.
Updates are cumulative for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. The updates typically arrive on “update Tuesdays,” or the second Tuesday of the month.
Update releases get more complicated for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012/R2 systems. They have “standalone” and “cumulative” patch options. The NET Framework also has such options. I know we here at Method 180 struggle on patch Tuesday as our users are unable to use their laptops for long periods of time as the updates install.
Microsoft’s newest Windows Server test build adds new storage and failover clustering updates
Microsoft released a new test build of Windows Server 1803 to Insider testers on Jan. 16. Windows Server 17074 includes some enhancements to Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and failover clustering. As Server users may recall, S2D didn’t make it into Windows Server 1709, allegedly because it wasn’t meeting quality standards. Microsoft is hoping to add it back to the coming 1803 release. Storage Spaces Direct spans Windows Server clusters and creates a bus which allows all the servers in the cluster to see each other’s local drives. S2D was introduced as a feature of Windows Server 2016 and described by Microsoft as “the foundation for our hyper-converged platform.”
In preview build 17074, Microsoft removes the requirement for SCSI Enclosure Services for S2D to be compatible, which “unlocks a new breath of new hardware which was not capable of running S2D,” says a Microsoft blog post. S2D also now supports Persistent (Storage Class) Memory and supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, also enabling users to run it on lower-cost hardware.
Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools
Microsoft is really pushing for schools to keep using Windows. They are launching new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices that are priced starting at just $189. The software giant is also partnering with the BBC, LEGO, NASA, PBS, and Pearson to bring a variety of Mixed Reality and video curricula to schools. Lenovo has created a $189 100e laptop. It’s based on Intel’s Celeron Apollo Lake chips, so it’s a low-cost netbook designed for schools. Lenovo is also introducing its 300e, a 2-in-1 laptop with pen support, priced at $279.
The new Lenovo devices are joined by two from HP, with a Windows Hello laptop priced at $199 and a pen and touch device at $299. All four laptops will be targeted towards education, designed to convince schools not to switch to Chromebooks.
Part of Microsoft’s school push is related to content for teachers to use with these laptops. Microsoft is planning to release a new Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition this spring. It will focus on experimentation like building compounds or tackling stable isotopes. It’s a free update for everyone using the Education Edition of Minecraft.
Microsoft is also tweaking Word for Mac, Outlook desktop, and OneNote for iPad / Mac to include a new immersive reader that helps with reading and writing. In addition Microsoft is making some Mixed Reality content available for both the HoloLens and the range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, will start distributing a new curriculum in March that will work on HoloLens and they will release new apps for students.
Microsoft has announced that students can receive a 10% discount on HoloLens to tempt schools into trying out its augmented reality headset. Windows Mixed Reality headsets will still be the cheaper option for schools, though.
Method 180 knows that the education market (and developers, remember that famous Steve Balmer video) were key to Microsoft market dominance in the late 90’s. For many years, Microsoft lost focus on this market where our kids learn and choose their platforms early in life. It appears Microsoft is trying to reconnect with students and hopefully develop another generation of workers who grew up with and love Microsoft products. Time will see if this push is to late or if companies like Google and Facebook can break into Microsoft’s enterprise dominance with the next generation of workers.