Unprotected devices can increase risk to the entire network. If a device is out of service, it is no longer receiving quality updates from Microsoft and may become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. A single exploited device can reveal other devices on a network, revealing otherwise secure information or spreading malware to other computers in the network.
Microsoft security updates and patches for vulnerabilities like DejaBlue (CVE-2019-1181/1182) and BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708), for example, are available for supported operating systems. As a result, we strongly recommend that you update your devices to the latest version of Windows 10 to have access to future critical security fixes.
Today, and in the coming weeks, two older versions of Windows 10 will reach end of service:
Windows 10, version 1703 – Devices running the Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10, version 1703 will receive their final quality update on October 8, 2019.
Windows 10, version 1803 – Devices running the Home and Pro editions of Windows 10, version 1803 will receives their final quality update on November 12, 2019.
You may still have devices running these versions in your environment. To continue to receive quality updates beyond these dates, you will need to update those devices to the current version of Windows 10, version 1903.
Windows 10 delivers updates on a regular basis. Quality updates provide security and reliability fixes monthly, while feature updates add new functionality twice a year. With this update cycle, Windows 10 moved away from the classic approach – a major new version every three years requiring large-scale efforts to upgrade – to smaller, regular updates and an operating system that is more responsive to customer feedback and the needs of a changing environment.
Older versions of Windows 10 need to be updated to stay in service and to continue receiving security updates. From talking to customers, we’ve found that infrequently used devices are particularly at risk for falling behind on updates. This includes devices primarily used for travel or demos, kiosks, secondary and shared devices, and devices used for training. Laptops with aggressive power management policies are also at risk for falling out of service as those policies can disrupt update attempts.
You can determine what version of Windows 10 is installed throughout your environment using System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune, or your current device management system. You can also check which version of Windows 10 is running on a given device from the Settings menu.
Windows 10 gets better with every update. We continually add new capabilities – including ongoing improvements to the update experience itself – that help you manage your time, be more productive, and stay secure. In addition, new tools make it easier for organizations to keep devices on the latest version of Windows 10. With Windows Update for Business, an organization can take advantage of cloud-delivered updates, while still creating and managing a ring-based deployment approach.
To provide more transparency about update availability and quality, the Windows release health dashboard offers near real-time information on known issues, workarounds, and resolutions – as well as the current status of the latest feature update rollout. Additional tools like Desktop Analytics provide insights to inform decisions about the update readiness of your Windows clients while services like Desktop App Assure can help address compatibility concerns.