The Windows 10 Anniversary Update was released to the stable Windows 10 channel back on August 2. Today is September 13, and many Windows 10 users are still waiting for their update. According to an e-mail that some Windows users have received, that update may not be rolled out until November, as reported by Mary Jo Foley.
Impatient Windows 10 users can force the update to install by using the Windows 10 Upgrade Tool here.
Staggered rollouts aren’t new. Previous major updates have often taken days to become universally available. But this scale, with three months from start to finish, is longer and more drawn out than has been seen before, and Microsoft is being much more tentative about the rollout than it traditionally is.
Last week, Paul Thurrott wrote about how the first wave of update recipients used configurations known to work courtesy of either internal Microsoft testing or the Insider Program. As early adopters and power users forcibly install the update onto their systems, Microsoft can determine new working configurations and open up the distribution a little further. Incrementally, more and more combinations of software, hardware, and drivers can be tested and shown to work (or, alternatively, shown to not work, prompting appropriate remedial action). This incremental introduction should enable Microsoft to safely distribute the update to more and more people.
Eventually, the company will be able to throw open the floodgates and push out the update to the last remaining users.
While this slow rollout and careful tracking of configurations helps avoid any major incompatibility issues with the Anniversary Update, it still leaves gaps in the way that Windows 10 is being tested. Design issues—such as a change to the webcam stack that left popular cameras non-functional in software including Skype as well as bugs that caused problems with some Kindle hardware—suggest that important configurations aren’t getting the testing and usage that they need before the software is distributed. Broken patches that omit essential files also point to gaps in the testing process that aren’t filled yet.
To give users a better idea of what might be broken, we’d argue that a strong case can be made for greater information about what new releases and patches contain. The Insider builds themselves should also be more consistently high quality to ensure that they can safely be used on production hardware. High-quality Insider builds would also ensure that a greater number of configurations gets tested early in the development process.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update’s deployment process squarely positions mainstream consumers as an important part of the testing process. The Current Branch for Business (CBB), which is the mainstream corporate and enterprise offering, lags behind the consumer-oriented Current Branch. The CBB won’t receive the Anniversary Update until some time after the consumer rollout is complete. The extra three months of testing should mean that the eventual corporate rollout is smoother than the consumer one. But many consumers will wonder why they have to serve as guinea pigs in the first place.