Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Finally ready for prime time

The newly released KB 3197954 tips the scales in favor of upgrading to Windows 10 1607

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Finally ready for prime time
Credit: Thinkstock

It took nine cumulative updates and more than 12 weeks, but the latest version of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update seems good to go. I've converted my production Win10 Fall Update (version 1511) systems to 1607 and recommend you do the same. For those of you who used the wushowhide trick to block the upgrade to 1607, now's a good time to go back and "unhide" the update.

Why the optimism? Microsoft has finally fixed most (although not all) of the myriad problems that appeared in the original Aug. 2 release.

The biggest problem I see right now is that the 1511-to-1607 upgrade and the KB 3197954 patch installers may move very slowly. My upgrades, early Friday morning, went through quickly. But many folks aren't having the same kind of luck.

Two weeks ago Microsoft told me "we are not currently seeing widespread issues with the upgrade process." My email, comments on AskWoody.com, and many complaints on the web led me to believe otherwise. Now, as best I can tell, the installation process may be slow, but given an hour or three, it finally goes through.

The Windows 10 Update history page lists 11 specific improvements in this release. In particular, the SCOM crash I talked about last week has been fixed.

A couple of patterns are emerging. The SCOM crash bug introduced Oct. 11 in MS16-118 and MS16-126 was fixed differently depending on the version of Windows 10. For Win10 RTM (1507) and Fall Update (1511), the bug was fixed with two cumulative updates issued on Oct. 18: the KB 3119125 cumulative update for Win10 RTM, and the KB 3200068 cumulative update for Win10 version 1511. If you look at the Win10 Update History page, you won't see either of those cumulative updates listed.

Folks running Anniversary Update 1607 didn't get the fix for the SCOM crash until Oct. 27. That is an official fix, listed on the Update History page.

If Microsoft continues in this vein, it's possible that bugs in Win10 security updates will in future be fixed by cumulative updates that aren't on the official list. (Can we call them "cumulative hotfixes"?)  The most recent branch of Win10 -- in this case 1607 -- may receive bug fixes a week or two after the older branches.

The other pattern I detect lies in the general cadence of major Windows 10 updates. It took months for Windows 10 Fall Update to stabilize; it's taken three months for Win10 Anniversary Update to stabilize. Your perception of "stabilize" might vary from mine by a few weeks, but there's still a significant lag between the initial release of a new official update and the point at which it has acceptably few bugs.

During those intervening two or three months, Microsoft is using the public to beta test its product.

That's the motivation of the Current Branch for Business approach. Looks like it's working.

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