Everything you know about Windows deployment is undergoing wrenching changes. For IT pros who've grown accustomed to "set it and forget it" as a management strategy, three big changes are making life much more challenging.

When Microsoft rolled out the "Windows as a Service" tagline for Windows 10, most of us assumed it was just another marketing ploy.

But as we approach Windows 10's two-year anniversary, it's becoming apparent that there's some substance behind the label. And for Windows power users and IT pros, the ramifications are just beginning to become apparent.

Microsoft has published a handful of low-key technical articles covering the new rules, but some of those details have shifted over time. The maximum interval for deferring feature updates, for example, was eight months when the feature debuted in November 2015, but shrank to 180 days in the July 2016 Anniversary Update.

Even for those of us who regularly attend IT-focused conferences and keep up with deployment news, managing a Windows-based organization in this new era can be confusing. For those who are simply using Windows for day-to-day-business, the changes can appear unexpectedly. And the realization that tried-and-true workflows no longer apply isn't sitting well with some IT pros.

For the past year, I've been hearing a steady stream of complaints from longtime Windows admins and users. Consistently, those grumbles all boil down to a single objection: Because of "Windows as a service," we're losing control of our desktop PCs.

They have a point.

For the past quarter-century, businesses running Windows have been able to count on a few constants, all of which are now changing. Consider these three major shifts:


Read more: "Windows as a service" means big, painful changes for IT pros | ZDNet