Here's how Microsoft may slow down to only one Windows 10 upgrade a year

If Microsoft dumps its major/minor release cadence for Windows 10, opting for a lone feature update every year, the result could be chaotic for some users.

If Microsoft decides to release just one Windows 10 feature upgrade annually, some customers — notably consumers and small businesses running unmanaged Windows 10 Pro PCs — will be forced into more work than they'd banked on.

According to Microsoft-watcher Mary Jo Foley, who writes for ZDNet, the Redmond, Wash. developer "may end up releasing just one feature update per year for Windows 10 starting in 2021 to free up more engineers to be able to focus on both Windows 10X and Windows 10."

Windows 10X will be a variant of the extant Windows 10, a spin-off of sorts, one that will, at least initially, run web and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps only, sport a more streamlined UI and execute apps within containers — virtual machine-like creations that separate app workspaces from the operating system. Windows 10X appears to be Microsoft's latest effort to craft a lighter-weight OS, one designed with mobile devices foremost in mind, to compete with, say, Google's Chrome OS and Apple's iPadOS.

With Windows 10X in the mix, Foley's sources told her, Microsoft may release that next spring and forego the usual Windows 10 first-half feature upgrade. That pattern would continue, she said, with annual Windows 10X refreshes as yyH1 (22H1, 23H1 and so on) and Windows 10's as yyH2 (21H2, 22H2, and the like).

Computerworld has urged Microsoft to slow the pace of Windows 10 upgrades from the current major-minor, twice-a-year (which translates to about 1.25 annually) to a simpler, single refresh every 12 months. Whether the company does so because Windows 10X is running interference or simply as another sop to customer "feedback," a.k.a. complaints, doesn't matter.

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