Windows 10 Creators Update features fall short for IT

IT pros hoped for more advanced security tools and other new Windows 10 Creators Update features, but they were underwhelmed by what they actually received.

The Windows 10 Creators Update does not have as many new enterprise features as IT professionals had hoped for.

Despite some improvements to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and the operating system update process, the lack of other anticipated Windows 10 Creators Update features left IT underwhelmed. Microsoft released the update last week.

"There's just not much in here," said Matt Kosht, IT director at an Alaskan utility company that uses Windows 10 Enterprise. "They cleaned it up and polished it a little. There are a lot of little tweaks to improve performance, but it seems to be very consumer-facing."

Prior to downloading the Creators Update, Kosht anticipated new advanced security features, such as Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge. This feature runs the Edge browser in a virtual machine, separate from the rest of the operating system, to protect the device from any web-based malware.

"It'd be a pretty significant advantage to be able to do that," Kosht said.

Microsoft announced Application Guard at its Ignite conference in September and said it planned to release the feature sometime in 2017. But Application Guard is not one of the new Windows 10 Creators Update features. Kosht said he hopes to see it in the next update, about which Microsoft is expected to share more information at its Build conference next month.

Windows 10 security dashboard

While Windows Defender is making impressive advances, they aren't at the point that a third-party product would do worse.
Doug Grosfieldpresident and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions

The Windows 10 Creators Update's new dashboard for Windows Defender ATP, called Security Center, gives IT more visibility into users' profiles and PCs. It scans for malware and viruses and allows admins to set alerts for any unusual activity that might compromise a device or network.

The knock against Windows Defender ATP is it's a paid subscription-based service. Larger businesses will likely stand pat with their existing third-party antivirus and endpoint protection software, said Doug Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a consultancy and Windows 10 customer in Kitchener, Ont.

"While Windows Defender is making impressive advances, they aren't at the point that a third-party product would do worse," Grosfield said.

Control over Windows 10 updates

A lack of control over when Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs updates has been one of the biggest complaints about the operating system since it came out. A feature called Active Hours allows users and IT to set periods of time during which Windows 10 doesn't update and restart the PC. Originally, the maximum window of time was 12 hours, but the Windows 10 Creators Update allows for up to 18 hours.

"That is a very welcome thing for both big and small businesses," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas. "You might have standard work hours, but let's say you have a presentation at 8 p.m. at a banquet. If you update your PC there, and then -- oh my gosh -- then there's no presentation anymore."

Windows 10 privacy options

Microsoft also looked to address the privacy concerns regarding Windows 10 in the Creators Update. The operating system sends information about user email, browsing history, apps and more to Microsoft in the background.

To quell the complaints from users, Microsoft added new privacy controls to the Windows 10 Creators Update that will allow IT and users to limit the amount of data the OS collects. When organizations upgrade or install Windows 10 for the first time, a menu will appear, in which users or IT can disable the sharing of data related to location, diagnostics, tips and advertisements, and more.

"It will appease some people," Moorhead said. "If you are a big enterprise, you had control over that before anyways in your management tools."

In addition to adding these new Windows 10 Creators Update features, Microsoft will publish the different types of data it collects in an effort to be more transparent.

Next Steps

How IT can run Windows 10 mobile smoothly

Why some companies are sticking with Windows 7

Quiz yourself of the browser updates in Windows 10

Dig Deeper on Windows 10 security and management