Windows 10 launched in July 2015, and on April 11, 2017, Microsoft released the third major update to their latest operating system. First announced in October with the Surface Studio, Microsoft has dubbed the latest update the Creators Update. Officially it is Windows 10 version 1703, OS build 15063. Naming it the Creators Update seems to signal some future intentions, but the actual release is less creative than the hardware they announced with it, and feels a bit like the company really just didn’t want to call it Windows 10 SP1 R2. Compared to the last major update, named the Anniversary Update, this version has less big features, but does bring a few new things to the OS along with some more polish.

With the new “Windows as a Service” model that came with Windows 10 in July 2015, more small updates seem like the proper method for servicing Windows, but Microsoft is definitely pulled between the consumer and business groups that they serve.  Consumers want more features, and sooner, but business needs to test everything before rolling it out. They must walk this tightrope between the two groups, and it’s not clear that they have struck the right balance yet. With this update coming early in 2017, and an announcement of another event in New York City in early May, it does seem like there will be a second update later this year too.

Throughout it all, they have kept their successful Windows Insider program running, and they are now citing over 10 million people in the Insider Program. This feedback driven change has been very successful, even if certain features which have been highly requested still haven’t seen their introduction yet. The number of builds being released has ramped up significantly from when the program first started, and now it is not uncommon to see several builds released in a week. The overall quality of some of those builds has degraded though, so people running in the Fast Ring carry much more risk than before, but there are less risky rings to be in as well. Microsoft has also opened up the Insider Program to business as well, since they are going to need to stay on top of the changes.

Windows 10 is going to keep evolving for the foreseeable future, with regular updates being first tested with the Insider Preview program, and then rolled out to the general public. With almost two years of Windows 10 behind us, we can take a look at what’s improved, what needs work, and where Microsoft can go from here.

Universal Windows Platform, now down a leg
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  • Aloonatic - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    Well, so far all that's happened for me is that Minecraft has gone from about 25 fps to 5 or 6, with "game mode" turned off.
  • ruzicka4613 - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    For some of us, The update fails to install, even when using an ISO. To date, Microsoft tech support is stumped. The install gets to 75%, reboots...then fails.
  • Gigaplex - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    The new Windows Defender UI overhaul now nags at me that I've got a driver issue. Following the prompts it turns out that it doesn't like disabled devices. Well, that's how the Cisco VPN system works, the VPN adapter is disabled while not connected. Stop nagging me already!
  • serendip - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    UWP is still needed for Windows tablets for instant resume and long battery life. There are a bunch of small tablets that run full Windows for less than $200 but they all use old Cherry Trail Z38xx chips, as no Apollo Lake parts go below 4W TDP.

    Anyway, I'm totally stoked about Windows Subsystem for Linux. It's been a pain running Ubuntu VMs on an Atom-based tablet because of VM integration issues and a big hit on battery life. Hopefully I can do dev work on a Windows tablet without the horror of Cygwin...
  • serendip - Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - link

    And then I found out 32-bit Windows doesn't get WSL. Why, Microsoft, why? Ubuntu has 32-bit images of the latest releases.

    So it's back to Cygwin and VMs for me. Looks like a whole bunch of Atom machines are due to get EOL'd because they're stuck with 32-bit UEFI even though they have 64-bit CPUs, all because Microsoft couldn't get Connected Standby working properly on 64 bit Windows way back when.
  • Zingam - Thursday, April 27, 2017 - link

    What is a 32bit Windows?
  • Ascaris - Thursday, April 27, 2017 - link

    "Consumers want more features, and sooner,"

    Are you sure about that? There are an awful lot of consumers who are going out of their way to avoid any of the new features in Creator's... and Anniversary... and Threshold 2... and RTM... and Windows 8.1... and Windows 8. MS had to force the new "features" on these consumers using every dirty trick they could think of even though Windows 10 was a free upgrade!

    I don't want new features. I want the old ones back! Things like user control over updates and telemetry, a desktop-centric UI featuring a complete lack of "app" garbage, no nags when I install or use non-MS software, no ads, no changing my settings, no uninstalling my stuff, changing my drivers, or downloading stuff I never asked for... those are all must-haves. Any product lacking any one of these isn't even worthy of consideration.
  • versesuvius - Thursday, April 27, 2017 - link

    Very true. Thank you very much for that comment.

    The bug as feature philosophy is gaining new ground in Microsoft strategy. And this is one of the richest companies in the world with practically unlimited resources. The future is bleak. I can already picture robots that shit their pants as a natural feature.
  • Zingam - Thursday, April 27, 2017 - link

    A bunch of unneeded stuff and no fixes for older laptops - mostly driver
    And then it looks like new laptops have probs too. I am talking from personal experience.
  • Icehawk - Thursday, April 27, 2017 - link

    Jesus, when will they learn that one friggin place for settings is a lot better than two? Just go back to the old control panel for F's sake

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