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Take control over Windows 10 automatic updates

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Visual Editor: Sarah Evans

Windows 10 automatic updates can derail productive workers if they happen at the wrong time. To control the update cadence, IT must pick one of the four Windows 10 update branches.

The Insider Preview Branch allows IT to receive updates before they are available to the general public. Insider Preview Branch updates are basically test runs for Microsoft and IT to tinker with, but are often full of bugs. The Current Branch is best left to consumers, because it sends secured updates automatically, with no warnings.

Most organizations opt for Current Branch for Business, which gives IT pros a four-month period to test out the latest build and eight months to apply it. The glaring issue with this branch is IT only has those eight months to either implement the latest build or they lose support. So, IT either has to accept that one of its applications is incompatible with the new update -- if that's the case -- or lose Microsoft support.

The most elusive branch is the Long Term Servicing Branch, specifically designed for industries that cannot afford downtime for updates, such as banks with automatic teller machines. IT admins receive system updates every nine to 18 months, and they have 10 years to apply it. Only companies who have a Volume Licensing agreement with Microsoft and run Windows 10 Enterprise are allowed to enter this option. IT also has the choice of opting out completely by selecting a mission-critical environment and only opting for security updates.

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