This is Susan Bradley for CSOonline. Recently, the Microsoft online tech conference called Microsoft Ignite, they had a session that reminded me how much Windows 10 has changed over the years. I’ve often seen enterprises indicate that they are on a certain version of Windows 10 or a feature release, and they haven’t moved on to that or they’ve decided to roll out long term servicing branch and they’ve never revisited that decision. If you are like many in tech, you kind of hover on the advantages of certain releases and you don’t really remember over time how much Windows 10 has changed.

So let’s give a little refresher of what Windows 10 has done over the years. And I want you to ask yourself, why are you on the version that you are on?

20H2 is out. And I don’t want you to have to justify why you’re on that one, because I don’t think you need to be on that one quite so soon. But if you’re still in the 1800’s or 1903 three, is there a really good reason that you’re on that older version? So let’s do a little bit of a history lesson, 1507, you remember way back when the Windows 10 was first released to manufacturing that had Windows Defender, Windows Hello. The first password, the original Microsoft Edge. Yes, the old one. Device guard, bit locker and smart screen technology. It included support for inplace upgrades, Cortana, and it’s still under support for enterprises and Internet enterprises, long term service branch editions. 1511 added mobile device management, group policy settings for the Windows Update for business, as well as Azure active directory join. 1511 is no longer serviced. And I hope no one is on that version, which is still under support for Enterprise and Internet of Things enterprise long term service branch additions. Windows Information Protection, Windows Halo for business and hybrid as your active directory join. Now we’re up to the first quarter of 2017. How many years ago was that? 1703 and Windows Defender, Advanced Threat Protection, one of my favorite features, and Windows Defender Security Center 1703 at this time is no longer under support. 1709 third quarter of 2017 added Windows Defender Exploit Card System Guard Application Guard and application control it is unsupported as of October 13th, 2020 for Enterprise and Internet of Things enterprise. Long Term Service Branch additions. So now we’re up to 1803, fixes for Spectre and meltdown, do you remember those vulnerabilities in the the BIOS updates? It also added Windows delivery optimization, Windows defender, advanced threat protection, automatic remediation, conditional access based on Windows Defender, Advanced Threat Protection device risk threat analytics, emergency outbreak updates, advanced hunting cloud credential guard and Windows 10 Enterprise S edition. I’ll be going over that in a future edition of CSOonline. 1803 is supported through May 11th, 2021 for enterprises and Internet of Thing Enterprise Long Term Service Branch editions. We’re now up to the third quarter of twenty eighteen. We started off with Windows Update packages being reduced in size in order to speed up the servicing and installation. Microsoft defender, advanced threat protection, new attack, Surface reduction controls, investigation and remediation across Office 365 Advance Protection.

Microsoft Edge added Web authentication and Windows Halo added support for FIDO 2.0. Microsoft Edge at a kiosk. 1809 drops out of support for home, pro, pro education, proper workstations and Internet of Things core on November 10th of 2020. So that’s your drop dead date for 1809, November 10th of 2020, if you’re still on that version for those editions. Ask yourself, why did you wait so long? You should be off of those by now.

It’s still enough support for Enterprise, Internet of Things, Enterprise, Long Term Service Branch Edition and will be supported through May 11th, 2021 rep to first quarter of 2019. We added Microsoft defender, advanced threat protection enhancements, attack service, reduction enhancements, next generation protection enhancements, tamper proofing capabilities, windows sandbox and application guard enhancements. Many of these you need E5 subscription in order to see the benefits of the 1903 also added the ability to sign on with passwordless Microsoft accounts. Delivery optimization was also improved. For those of you running home. Pro, pro education, pro for workstation and Internet of Things core. The support goes through December 8th, 2020, so keep that in mind. You’ve got to end of life dates coming pretty close to one another. They got pushed off because of the pandemic. So you got a November drop dead date and a December drop dead date. November Drop Dead is at 1809 December drop dead date is 1903. Just recently in 1909, the release introduced bit longer caroling support for TLC one point three.

This release is supported through May 11th, 2021 for home pro pro education, pro four workstations and then also supported through May 10th of 2022 for Enterprise and Internet of Things enterprise, long term service branch editions. Now then, I challenge everyone. If you are on 1909 right now, and especially if you’re on Windows 10 pro, you need to be in your final stage process of rolling on to at least 2004. You might even want to test out to 20H2 because remember, you can skip Edition’s.

Now we’re up to the first quarter release for 2000 , 2004, I should say, this introduced application guard for Edge in office delivery optimization power so commands and introduced Windows Autopilot as your actor director joined with virtual private networking. Very handy for those of us doing work from home and connecting in the pandemic. This release is supported through December 14th, 2021 for home, pro, pro education, pro workstations and Internet that things core as well as enterprise and Internet of Things Enterprise Long Term Service Branch Edition.

Now comes the new kid on the block 20H2, that’s the new naming you need to get used to. It means the second half of the 2020 release. If you have an E5 subscription, you get extra good news with Microsoft Defender Application guard, which also supports office, more Windows Hello Options, Modern Device Management, and it combines the servicing stack update and the latest cumulative update in one release. Now for the bad news, if you made the decision years ago to roll out long term servicing branch on your workstations, for whatever reason, there is no emplace upgrade path from long term service branch to the normal release of office excuse me, the normal release in Windows 10.

You must start over and redeploy and rebuild the machines. Windows autopilot can make it easier for you to roll out these Windows 10 to machines. But I really want you to question why are you choosing long term service branch and also question why are you holding back on an older release? Look at all the key features that you’ve lost out on along the way. The servicing stack updates the ability to do better protection for your workstations, advanced threat protection has come a long way since it was released.

Windows Defender is much, much more powerful, and especially as the attackers are going after us much, much more. So it’s time to step back and ask yourself, why did you choose the version you’re on? Why did you choose long term surfacing branch? Why did you choose that certain feature release? Take the time to reevaluate and see why it’s still a good decision to make today. I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. There’s lots more things to research and look at on the IG Tech Talk YouTube channel.

Join me next time. This is Susan Bradley for CSO Online.

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