Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, speaks during an interview on the David Rubenstein Show in New York on September 27, 2017.

Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft made a subtle but significant change in its Windows business on Tuesday aimed at minimizing the frustration customers experience with updates.

After posting last month Windows 11, Microsoft’s newest operating system, the company announced that it would only be releasing an annual update for its predecessor, Windows 10, rather than forcing consumers to update twice a year, as has been the norm in the past. Windows 11 has a similar annual plan.

Windows remains vital to Microsoft’s business and contributes about 13% to sales. In 2020, Windows almost had 83% market share according to standard shipments while Google Chrome OS had 10% and Apples According to research firm Gartner, Mac OS had 7%.

By halving the number of updates, Microsoft is conforming to what has become the industry standard. Apple releases a new version of MacOS once a year, and Apple’s iOS only got an annual update, as did Google’s Android operating system. However, Google says There is a full update to Chrome OS roughly every four weeks.

Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015 and updated it twice a year, causing complaints from some customers who don’t like the extra configuration work. In 2019 Microsoft began to roll out one major update each year with new features and one smaller update with a focus on performance and reliability.

With Windows 11, Microsoft has completely given up the twice-a-year approach, relying on customer input. The company will continue to support Windows 10 through October 2025 for those not ready to upgrade.

On Tuesday, Microsoft began releasing the Windows 10 November 2021 Update, also known as Windows 10, version 21H2.

“We continue to listen to customer feedback as part of our ongoing support for Windows 10, and we’ve geared the November 2021 update to focus on productivity, management, and security,” said John Cable, vice president of Program Management for Windows Maintenance and Delivery, written in a blog entry.

The update includes stronger security to prevent attacks when using Wi-Fi networks. The updated Universal Print feature in Windows 10 Enterprise can handle print jobs of up to one gigabyte. And customers can now use the Azure Virtual Desktop service to deliver apps for cloud-based Windows 10.

Users can check if the update is available by opening the Settings app, navigating to Update & Security, selecting Windows Update, and clicking the Check for Updates button. When the PC is ready for the update, a download and install button will appear.

The release of Windows 11 is also progressing faster than Microsoft expected. Cable added in the post that the company “is now making the Windows 11 upgrade more widely available to eligible Windows 10 devices.”

SEE: How Microsoft is creating a new “cloud PC category” with Windows 365

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