1.    31 Oct 2016 #1

    Current Branch or Extended Beta?


    In chewing over TenForums forum traffic lately, and watching what's happened with 9 cumulative updates since 8/2/2016 I find myself wondering if recent, widely reported post-AU issues might not reflect a deliberate policy from MS. I blogged on that topic for Window Enterprise Desktop at TechTarget today:

    Three Windows 10 release branches unfolded since the OS made its debut in July, 2015. Recent events and issues have me pondering this proposition: “Current Branch or Extended Beta?” Let me explain, first with some history, then with some recent observations.

    First the history part. At present, there are three primary branches in the “servicing options” tree:

    • the most current branch, aka Current Branch (CB) now on version 1607
    • the Current Branch for Business (CBB) now on version 1511 (November 2015)
    • the Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), still on version 1507 (RTM)

    End-users/consumers follow the CB, where they suffer the slings and arrows of current/bleeding-edge release issues. Business users follow the CBB, and are somewhat insulated from those projectile weapons. The LTSB aims at situations where stability is the end-all and be-all. This means kiosks, factory floor systems, nuclear power plants, and the like. In short, LTSB is for places where “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rules supreme. It’s also where a corollary has emerged “If it ain’t broke, don’t update it, either.”

    Whence That Proposition: Current Branch or Extended Beta?

    Lately in the wake of the Anniversary Update on August 2, 2016, I’ve observed lots of CB users complaining about Windows 10 1607 and its follow on cumulative updates (9 of them, starting on August 2). I’ve also spent two-plus hours every day for the past 5 weeks helping out on line at TenForums.com. There, I’ve seen numerous users wax wroth and eloquent on these and other issues:

    • Difficulties installing AU and subsequent Cumulative Updates
    • Related issues with Windows Update problems and failures
    • Profound and vexing issues with Windows 10 freezing up and becoming nonresponsive
    • Booting to a black screen instead of a desktop
    • Serious driver issues with audio, printing, and video

    I’ve also seen personal reports from dozens upon dozens of TenForums members and visitors claiming they they’re rolling back. That is, they’re reverting to Windows 7 (mostly), Windows 8 or 8.1 (only a few), or earlier versions of Windows 10 (the remainder). They’re doing do because problems that prove too intractable or time-consuming to fix on the Current Branch simply don’t exist on earlier versions.

    Hence the Proposition…

    It all has me wondering if MS might not be assuming that because such business as has upgraded to Windows 10 is hanging back on the CBB, it’s OK to use the end-users and consumers on the Current Branch as guinea pigs. That is why I think “Current Branch or Extended Beta” could explain a lot of what I’ve been seeing and hearing recently. Perhaps this is too cynical, and MS really seeks a stable leading edge OS environment. But it’s indisputable that they have averaged three cumulative updates per month since August. It’s also indisputable that some of these updates have included hurry-up fixes to issues introduced by their predecessors.

    My fervent resulting wish is for MS to slow down the pace of releases, and spend more time compatibility testing them. We’ve got a new Preview level that anticipates the Current Branch (I’m running it on my Surface Pro 3, in fact). Why not spend more time unkinking updates there before dropping releases into the Current Branch itself? This lowers the troubleshooting burden for non-professionals in the end-user and consumer communities. It might also repair some of the damage to Win10’s reputation that Microsoft has foisted it upon itself recently. Hello? I only hope somebody at MS is listening…


    Source: Current Branch or Extended Beta?
    Last edited by Brink; 31 Oct 2016 at 15:13. Reason: fixed format issues
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  2. Joined : Oct 2014
    Posts : 1,311
    W10 Pro + W10 Preview
       31 Oct 2016 #2

    Interesting article Ed, I must admit first of all to have been surprised both by the size of these cumulative updates as well as their frequency.
    On the other hand, apart from the inconvenience, none of these updates has caused any of the problems quoted or encountered in your post....have three computers.....a Gaming laptop, a Surface Pro 4 and a Desktop.....each more or less problem free.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    31 Oct 2016 #3

    I've noticed that the Release Preview is too close to going live in the wild for any serious testing. MS tends to ignore serious problems that do get reported and go live regardless. It's really no way for a reputable organisation to behave.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    31 Oct 2016 #4

    Yes, I'm a similar position myself. I've had three or four problems across the range of 9 cumulative updates myself. Two required me to grab manual updates from the Catalog and install outside WU, one required replacing a missing driver, and another required a start-from-repair-media-plus-rebuild-Windows-boot-environment. Nothing too taxing or mind boggling, but indeed time consuming and vexing. I'm a lot more worried about my Forum colleagues and friends who don't have the benefit of working on and writing about Windows since the early 1990s, as has been the case for me. I don't think it's a catastrophe, or even close, but MS is putting a bigger burden on ordinary end-users than they have in the past. Interesting times we live in!
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    31 Oct 2016 #5

    EdTittel said: View Post
    MS is putting a bigger burden on ordinary end-users than they have in the past. Interesting times we live in!
    --Ed--
    Perhaps too big a burden?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 


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