Windows 10 Changes Include Free Upgrade Option for Enterprises
By Shirley Siluk / CIO Today. Updated January 20, 2017.
Developers testing Microsoft's latest Insider preview build of Windows 10 will see "a ton" of fixes to previous versions, along with new options for buying and reading e-books, the ability to choose custom accent colors and an experimental tool for controlling device power usage on a sliding scale.
Upon rolling out the new Windows 10 build yesterday, Microsoft also revealed plans to delay the launch of the "My People experience" to a later update, rather than introducing it with the Creators Update expected sometime early this year. My People is a feature that will let users pin their favorite contacts to the Windows taskbar for faster and easier messaging and document sharing.
In a separate announcement yesterday, Microsoft also said it's offering a free Windows 10 update option to Windows Enterprise Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program subscribers. The offer will allow CSP subscribers to upgrade the operating system on devices currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 without having to pay for separate upgrade licenses.
Power Slider Test at Partners' Request
The latest Insider build for PCs and mobile devices fixes numerous issues that developers had identified in the last two preview versions, Windows and Devices Group software engineer Dona Sarkar wrote yesterday on the Windows 10 blog. In addition to removing a bug that caused some devices to reboot frequently, the new build also gets rid of the Apps Corner in Windows 10 Mobile "due to decreased usage," Sarkar said.
One of the bigger changes Microsoft is introducing with this latest build is an experimental power slider option that will let some users select their preferred device power settings on a sliding scale that can be opened from the Windows taskbar. Currently visible only to some Insiders, the power slider is being tested at the request of some of Microsoft's Windows PC manufacturer partners, Sarkar said.
"Some of our Windows PC OEM partners have asked for the ability to give people a number of options for how to 'tune' their PC for different scenarios," she said. "A person playing a game, for example, might be willing to have a few less FPS [frames per second] when on a long flight if it gets them more battery life -- whereas the same person playing the same game, when near a power supply, may want top-end CPU performance to eek [sic] out every ounce of performance they can get."
For now, the slider feature doesn't actually change a device's settings; it's appearing in this build simply to generate feedback from users, she noted.
New Windows 10 Upgrade Incentive
Many of the features being tested in the latest Windows 10 build are expected to appear in the next major consumer update, known as the Creators Update, due to arrive this spring. However, the My People feature is now not likely to appear until a subsequent update later this year
"Our goal with Windows is to deliver experiences you'll love and we've made the decision to hold this feature for the next major update to Windows," Sarkar said.
Meanwhile, enterprise users who currently subscribe to Windows via Microsoft's CSP program can now upgrade their devices to Windows 10 at no extra cost, according to Nic Fillingham, small business product manager for Windows Marketing. CSP subscribers will be able to continue using Windows 10 on those devices even if they decide later to end their CSP subscriptions, he added.
Aimed at small and midsize businesses, the E3 and E5 CSP subscriptions introduced by Microsoft last summer are priced at $7 and $14 per user per month, respectively.
"This is an important benefit addition to Windows cloud subscriptions in CSP as it enables customers who have yet to purchase a new Windows 10 device, or who missed out on the free upgrade to Windows 10 campaign, to take advantage of enterprise-grade security, managed by a trusted partner, for the price of coffee and a donut," Fillingham noted in a blog post yesterday.
According to the latest figures from Microsoft, Windows 10, the cloud-based OS launched in mid-2015, is currently running on more than 400 million devices.