Windows 10: Microsoft deletes the channel "SAC-Targeted" in the update for corporate customers


Windows 10 version 1903 in the spring of 2019
For administrators using Windows Update for Business, the semiannual Channel Targeted is not applicable to client upgrades as of Windows 10 V1903.
With the expected Windows 10 version 1903 in the spring of 2019, Microsoft is creating the Semi-Annual Channel Targeted (SAC-T) in Windows Update for Business. Roughly speaking, the topic of Semi-Annual Channel is enterprise IT governance that determines how Microsoft should provide functional updates on Windows 10 machines. However, Microsoft had already end of May 2018 in the contribution Windows 10 and the "disappearing" SAC-T the surplus of SAC-T implied.

So far: the agony of choice in the update installation
Up to version 1809 of Windows 10, Microsoft allowed administrators to choose when clients should receive the feature updates when using Windows Update for Business (requires Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise). This can be set with an administrator account in the settings under "Update and Security / Windows Update / Advanced Options".


By default, the installation time for updates was previously set to "Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)". This option is resolved in Microsoft being able to deploy a released feature update to compatible machines immediately or at the latest after expiration of any delay set by the administrator

To allow more time to install feature updates, administrators were able to move clients to Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) and delay the installation of quality and feature updates by a specified number of days. This ensured that the Windows 10 clients did not receive a feature update until after Microsoft declared the build in question as a "Semi-Annual Channel-ready". Only then did a countdown, possibly set by the administrator on the machine, start for further delay of the installation

Microsoft's intent was to provide corporate IT with a kind of security buffer against unwanted functional updates. Only when the functional update for home users and business users in the "Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)" had matured on average for three months was the release approved for the broad business use in the "Semi-Annual Channel".

In Windows 10 V1903, the selection disappears
With the deployment of Windows 10 V1903, Microsoft is eliminating this choice between SAC-T and SAC. There will be no more SAC information on the servicing options page of a Windows 10 release. In the future there will only be information about when a Windows 10 function update was released. For administrative tools such as System Center Configuration Manager or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft will in the future only provide a functional update. So far, the usual second 'SAC-ready' function update has been omitted since version 1903.

On the "Advanced Options" preference page of the Windows 10 client, Microsoft has also removed the ability to select the Semi Annual Channel since version 1903. There is only one way to fix delays for quality and feature updates.

Administrators in enterprise IT can simplify the administration of updates for Windows 10 clients. It then only needs the delay time for the update installation in days to be specified.

What changes in practice?
For IT departments that had already opted for SAC-T under Windows Update for Business, nothing changes with the introduction of Windows 10 V1903. To help IT departments that chose Windows Update for Business for SAC to migrate to Windows 10 V1903, Microsoft plans a one-time special promotion, The upgrade to Windows 10 version 1903 will be postponed by an additional 60 days in addition to the delay time set for function updates. For example, if there is a delay of 30 days for feature updates, their installation will be postponed by 90 days (60 + 30). This additional value is not displayed in the settings page of the system, but only managed internally by Microsoft on the update servers. In the fall of 2019 following Windows 10 19H2 comes in Windows Update for Business only the administrator specified delayed time for updates to bear.

The whole thing does not affect home users with Windows 10 Home, since there are no corresponding settings. And users of Windows 10 Pro who have not made any selections for SAC yet are also unaffected. For administrators who voted for SAC, the additional period of the upgrade delay between the release of a feature update and the SAC-ready declaration by Microsoft is eliminated.

For the IT administration in the corporate environment, Microsoft proves once again that Windows 10 means 'learning on a living object'. Originally, Microsoft was using the terms "Current Branch" (CB) and "Current Branch for Business" (CBB) to manage updates in the business environment in 2015. However, this nomenclature was adopted in the summer of 2017 in favor of SAC and SAC-T Now SAC-T is deleted - what remains are six-monthly function updates, which are then offered immediately after release or after the delay set by the administrator for installation

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