It seems Microsoft’s efforts to force companies to stay up to date with the latest version of Windows 10 is hitting some pushback, as Microsoft has once again had to extend support for a very old version of the operating system.
Windows 10 November Update (version 1511) dates to 2015 and was due to exit support in October 2017, but in a blog post Microsoft announced that they are extending support a further 6 months, to April 2018.
The extension only applies to the Education and Enterprise SKUs, who tend to be the most reluctant to disturb the productivity of users with a potentially problem-inducing upgrade process.
Microsoft has previously said they intend to support only 2 active versions of the OS, but it is notable that there are now currently 4 supported versions of Windows 10 (1511, 1607, 1703, and 1709,) meaning Microsoft will not yet be able to reap the advantages of fewer versions of the operating system, such as less testing resources, the ability to rely on more APIs and features in the operating system, and a more consistent security profile for the OS. For many companies frequent OS updates are actually a significant drain on resources, suggesting Microsoft is putting their interest ahead of their own, a courtesy they are less reluctant to extend to consumers.
Newer versions of Windows 10, however, include advanced security features such as Windows Defender ATP, and the OS also picked up lots of reliability and performance improvement over the past two years, and when companies do in the end bite the bullet they should be able to reap significant benefits eventually.
Microsoft’s blog post can be read here.