Everyone who watches Microsoft is watching Windows 10.
More to the point, everyone who is watching Microsoft is watching to see if it can pull it off and do what it promised to do all those months ago when Satya Nadella promised to transform a lumbering juggernaut to a rapid response company.
It’s going to take time before anyone knows whether Microsoft has managed to do this. But last night’s release of the first upgrades to the Windows 10 Technical Preview (TP) could be the first concrete sign that the whole speed thing is more than just tough talk from Nadella.
The upgrades to Windows 10 TP offer loads of interesting things. But what’s really interesting is that TP was just released on Oct. 1. Three weeks later, it is already offering upgrades based on feedback from testers.
If that’s impressive, Microsoft is promising more of the same — although realistically it probably won’t be working on a three-week turnaround basis all the time. There are bound to be a number of glitches that will take longer to fix before the final consumer release in the middle of next year.
So far so good, though. The Oct. 1 release was designated Build 9841. This one is designated Build 9860, giving some indication of how much work has gone into it. It also comes with the usual warnings to users that Technical Reviews are not complete and finished products.
Gabe Aul, who leads the data and fundamentals team in the operating systems group at Microsoft, said the team only received tester feedback a week ago. "We’ll continue to deliver more as part of the Windows Insider Program. Sometimes they’ll be more frequent and sometimes there will be longer gaps, but they will always be chock full of changes and improvements, as well as some bugs and things that are not quite done," he noted.
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More importantly, he said, the team is pushing to share “stuff” early and as quickly as possible in keeping with the new, super-fast development cycle that has been promised.
Over the coming months, Aul promises regular releases that will include not only the usual security patches and tweaks, butalso performance-enhancing features and even new feature releases.
One other final note on the release. Businesses will be able to download and upgrade these updates on a monthly basis, but Microsoft is also offering the possibility of two release speeds.
The first will be updates that can be downloaded every four to six months, while the second speed will be ever two or three years, apart from the kind of security updates that anyone using Windows will be already familiar with.
Windows 10 Updates
Most of the changes in this build will be invisible to you, but we’ve made nearly 7,000 improvements and fixes to the product between 9841 and 9860. Many of those fixes were based on problem reports that you submitted in the Community forum or through the Windows Feedback app."
Users that qualify for them will start getting upgrades delivered to their computers in the coming days or weeks. But those that really want to get their hands on it can download it themselves. Be warned, though, that this download will take up between 2GB and 2.7 GB of space and could take some time to download.
Aul also flags a number of issues that those using Windows 10 need to be aware of. In some places, he said, the user interface (UI) has taken a step back to cruder UIs while the final product is being developed. It is also harder to join some Wi-Fi networks, but that is being fixed already. Other machines may wake up and not go back to sleep properly.
The response to the version that was released on Oct. 1 has been massive so far, with over 250,000 pieces of feedback through the Windows Feedback tool, 25,381 community forum posts and 641 suggestions in the Windows Suggestion Box, according to Aul.