A moment to recap our journey of servicing Windows 10 upgrades

Microsoft announced almost a year a go ‘Windows as a service’. The last annoucement was the Windows 10 anniversary update (see https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/upcoming-features ). All those upgrades can bring some new challanges for the system administrator. Let’s take a look of some notes from the field servicing Windows 10 for almost a year now.

Servicing Windows 10 by System Center
Okay the first discussion you have to solve is, what is your upgrade policy for your end user ? When do you release those upgrades ? One of the biggest challanges is that a Windows 10 upgrade will take one hour to install, which means for a company that they will loose 1 hour of inproductivity at least per employee.

Another side effect we saw was that the BITS policy didn’t work on Windows 10 systems. When you upgrade all your systems at once, the complete network can become congested, which results in more than the one hour of improductivty of the employee.

In the upcomming versions of ConfigManager here will be a possiblity for peer-2-peer sharing of those images, so that not every client have to download the Windows 10 upgrade image for each computer, which can solve this problem in an effcient way.

New Features, some side effects
I’d like to share some issues we ran in after upgrading Windows 10 , just to trigger you about making a good upgrade policy and testscenario’s. Some examples from the field:

After upgrading a customer to Windows 10 Build 1511 , breaks the offline file possibility. Because this customer uses folder redirection , they all had an empty desktop at home, oops! Microsoft made a new design decision that you are not allowed to use offline files in combination with a fileserver cluster, which is configured with SMB continous availiablity (this forum brings me to that conclusion (https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/4d234757-0334-441d-aa39-8a2f8179a4a3/the-option-make-available-offline-not-available-in-build-1511?forum=win10itpronetworking ) . So we had to disable the continous availibility option to solve this issue.

Another new feature which causes some nice telephone calls was the change of the default behaviour of setting the default printer. WIndows 10 automatically sets the default printer to the last used printer. This setting is turned on by default. This means that every time you use a printer, this printer becomes the default printer for the system. This can cause some really unwanted behaviour. We solved this one by applying a group policy to disable this new always-wanted-to-have-feature

Another new feature we encountered in the latest Windows 10 build was the behaviour of how Windows 10 works with DFS sharing. With offline files turned on, it will never open the DFS path anymore when you are connected outside the network via a VPN connection. When you connect bij an UNC path it works like a charm. We are still investigation this nice new feature.

Recap, upgrades are nice, but test them very very good before you release it in production. untill now every build has it’s own new features, problems and fixes. Make some very good agreements on your upgrade policies. I hope this post is helpful to setup this kind of policies and that upgrading and Windows as a service looks easy, but gives the system administrator a lot of new challenges to solve.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at www.twitter.com/erikloef

 

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