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Operating System lifecycle and support

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The Managed Workstation Service is designed to work optimally with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Enterprise operating system, and we continue to support Windows 7 Enterprise.  The UW Enterprise Architecture (EA) program promotes using specific terms to communicate technology lifecycle states, and we use their terminology in describing our support practices and lifecycle process.  We use five categories to define our support for a given version of Windows:

  • Emerging: newest release which we are preparing to support; services/support may be available at consulting rates.
  • Baseline: fully supported and preferred for new computers and upgrades/rebuilds.
  • Containment: fully supported for existing computers.
  • Retirement: Scheduled for end-of-life; actively upgrading computers to Baseline.
  • Unsupported: Not supported by MWS and may not be used on a MWS-managed computer.

For information support for Mac OS X, please see Mac support from Managed Workstation.

Lifecycle practices

Microsoft releases feature updates to Windows 10 twice a year, supporting each update for 18 months. In order to keep pace with Microsoft’s rapid cadence while ensuring we can provide a reliable and stable environment, we will update all computers we manage at a steady pace.  When a new update is released, it will be initially supported as Emerging.  Generally, within 60 days, we will move the new update to Baseline, the current Baseline version into Containment, and the current version in Containment into Retirement.  When the new version moves into Baseline, it will be the preferred version for new computers and any computers that need to be rebuilt, but we won’t automatically upgrade computers to it.  We will,however, provide a method for customers to upgrade to the new version at their convenience.  When a version moves into Retirement, generally 12-15 months after its release, we will then set an “end-of-life” date for it and begin to actively upgrade existing computers to the current Baseline.  Computers running an OS in Unsupported that become MWS-managed will receive an immediate upgrade to the current Baseline version.

We continue to support Windows 7 in Containment and will move it into Retirement, likely in early 2018.

Windows operating systems (as of October 2017)

Emerging Baseline Containment Retirement Unsupported
Windows 10 Enterprise (1709/162996) Windows 10 Enterprise (1703/150635) Windows 10 Enterprise (1607/143934)  Windows 7 Enterprise SP1: 05/04/2018 Windows 10 Enterprise (1511/105863)2
Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB Windows 10 Enterprise (1507/10240)1
Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview Windows 8.0/8.1
Windows 10 Education Windows Home/Professional
Windows Server (any version/edition)

1 Microsoft ended support for Windows 10 1507 (RTM) on May 9, 2017.
2 Microsoft ended support for Windows 10 1511 on October 10, 2017.
3 Also known as the “November Update”
4 Also known as the “Anniversary Update”
5 Also known as the “Creators Update”
6 Also known as the “Fall Creators Update”

Supported Capabilities

An operating system’s place in the lifecycle determines what support is available from the Managed Workstation Service, as detailed in the table below.

Emerging Baseline Containment Retirement
OS build image 1 X
OS troubleshooting 1 X X 3
Automated patching mechanism 2 X X X
Patch troubleshooting support 1 X X X
High risk OS security vulnerability mitigation 1 X X X
Basic data collection (inventory, logons, version, etc.) 2 X X  X
Access management 2 X X  X
Configuration management 2 X X  X
Software deployment 2 X X  X
Anti-Virus software management 2 X X  X

X – Fully supported
1 – May be purchased at consulting rates.
2 – Available “as-is” provided it works with our standard toolset.  Troubleshooting or other support may be available at consulting rates.
3 – We will upgrade or rebuild a computer to a Baseline OS.  If an upgrade or rebuild can’t be done for some reason, support is available at consulting rates.