Microsoft revealed this week how it plans to deliver content to Windows devices outside of the regular feature update and cumulative update process.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems will receive one feature update per year going forward and one cumulative update per month (not including preview updates). Both can be used to provide new functionality to users’ devices.
Company officials confirmed some time ago that the features could also be rolled out to Windows devices through other means. Last month, Microsoft announced that it would make certain features available for public testing, including the long-awaited Windows Subsystem integration for Android.
A new blog post from Amanda Langowski on the official Windows Insider blog sheds light on how Microsoft plans to deliver features to Windows devices that don’t ship with cumulative updates or annual feature updates .
We will provide feature and experience updates in the dev and beta channel releases by also releasing feature, web, and online service experience packs in addition to these releases.
Langowski mentions Dev and Beta channels, but the whole experience pack system is not limited to these channels.
- Feature Experience Packs — These push new features and updates to Windows devices as they are updated. They have been used for some time.
- Online Service Experience Packs — Smaller in nature than Feature Experience Packs, Online Service Experience Packs enhance specific experiences. Microsoft names the “new your Microsoft account settings page” as an example of such an update.
- Web Experience Packs — Microsoft does not provide descriptions for Web Experience Packs. It could be used to improve web features, for example PWAs, Windows widgets or support for new technologies.
12 months is a long time when it comes to introducing new features and improving operating systems. Microsoft will use Experience Packs in the future to deliver updates to Windows devices outside of the annual feature updates it releases.
Windows users will have faster access to Microsoft-chosen features with new Experience Packs. The downside is that it can become more difficult to keep control over updates and feature additions. Until now, Windows administrators could delay the installation of feature updates.
Now you: What do you think of the Experience Pack update system?