Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy in Intune

This feature is in public preview.

With Feature updates for Windows 10 and later in Intune, you can select the Windows feature update version that you want devices to remain at, like Windows 10 version 1909 or a version of Windows 11. Intune supports setting a feature level to any version that remains in support at the time you create the policy.

You can also use feature updates policy to upgrade devices that run Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Windows feature updates policies work with your Update rings for Windows 10 and later policies to prevent a device from receiving a Windows feature version that's later than the value specified in the feature updates policy.

When a device receives a policy for Feature updates:

  • The device updates to the version of Windows specified in the policy. A device that already runs a later version of Windows remains at its current version. By freezing the version, the devices feature set remains stable during the duration of the policy.

    Note

    A device won't install an update when it has a safeguard hold for that Windows version. When a device evaluates applicability of an update version, Windows creates the temporary safeguard hold if an unresolved known issue exists. Once the issue is resolved, the hold is removed and the device can then update.

    • Learn more about safeguard holds in the Windows documentation for Feature Update Status.

    • To learn about known issues that can result in a safeguard hold, see Windows release information and then reference the relevant Windows version from the table of contents for that page.

      For example, for Windows version 2004, open Windows release information, and then from the left-hand pane, select Version 2004 and then Known issues and notifications. The resultant page details known issues for that Windows version that might result in safeguard hold.

  • Unlike using Pause with an update ring, which expires after 35 days, the Feature updates policy remains in effect. Devices won't install a new Windows version until you modify or remove the Feature updates policy. If you edit the policy to specify a newer version, devices can then install the features from that Windows version.

  • You can configure policy to manage the schedule by which Windows Update makes the offer available to devices. For more information, see Rollout options for Windows Updates.

Prerequisites

The following are prerequisites for Intune's Feature updates for Windows 10 and later:

  • In addition to a license for Intune, your organization must have one of the following subscriptions:

    • Windows 10/11 Enterprise E3 or E5 (included in Microsoft 365 F3, E3, or E5)
    • Windows 10/11 Education A3 or A5 (included in Microsoft 365 A3 or A5)
    • Windows 10/11 Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) per user
    • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

    Review your subscription details for applicability to Windows 11.

  • Devices must:

    • Run a version of Windows 10/11 that remains in support.

    • Be enrolled in Intune MDM and be Hybrid AD joined or Azure AD joined.

    • Have Telemetry turned on, with a minimum setting of Required.

      Devices that receive a feature updates policy and that have Telemetry set to Not configured (off), might install a later version of Windows than defined in the feature updates policy. The prerequisite to require Telemetry is under review as this feature moves towards general availability.

      Configure Telemetry as part of a Device Restriction policy for Windows 10/11. In the device restriction profile, under Reporting and Telemetry, configure the Share usage data with a minimum value of Required. Values of Enhanced (1903 and earlier) or Optional are also supported.

    • The Microsoft Account Sign-In Assistant (wlidsvc) must be able to run. If the service is blocked or set to Disabled, it fails to receive the update. For more information, see Feature updates aren't being offered while other updates are. By default, the service is set to Manual (Trigger Start), which allows it to run when needed.

  • Feature updates are supported for the following Windows 10/11 editions:

    • Windows 10/11 Pro
    • Windows 10/11 Enterprise
    • Windows 10/11 Pro Education
    • Windows 10/11 Education

    Note

    Unsupported versions and editions:
    Windows 10/11 Enterprise LTSC: Windows Update for Business (WUfB) does not support the Long Term Service Channel release. Plan to use alternative patching methods, like WSUS or Configuration Manager.

Limitations for Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy

  • When you deploy a Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy to a device that also receives an Update rings for Windows 10 and later policy, review the update ring for the following configurations:

    • The Feature update deferral period (days) must be set to 0.
    • Feature updates for the update ring must be running. They must not be paused.

    Tip

    If you're using feature updates, we recommend you end use of deferrals as configured in your update rings policy. Combining update ring deferrals with feature updates policy can create complexity that might delay update installations.

    For more information, see Move from update ring deferrals to feature updates policy

  • Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policies cannot be applied during the Autopilot out of box experience (OOBE). Instead, the policies apply at the first Windows Update scan after a device has finished provisioning, which is typically a day.

  • If you co-manage devices with Configuration Manager, feature updates policies might not immediately take effect on devices when you newly configure the Windows Update policies workload to Intune. This delay is temporary but can initially result in devices updating to a later feature update version than is configured in the policy.

    To prevent this initial delay from impacting your co-managed devices, configure a Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy and target the policy to your devices before you configure them for co-management or you shift the Windows Update workload to Intune. You can validate whether a device is enrolled for the feature update profile by checking the Windows feature update report under the Reporting node in the Microsoft Endpoint Management admin console.

  • When the device checks in to the Windows Update service, the device's group membership is validated against the security groups assigned to the feature updates policy settings for any feature update holds.

  • Managed devices that receive feature update policy are automatically enrolled with the Windows Update for Business deployment service. The deployment service manages the updates a device receives. The service is utilized by Microsoft Endpoint Manager and works with your Intune policies for Windows updates to deploy feature updates to devices.

    When a device is no longer assigned to any feature update policies, Intune waits 90 days to unenroll that device from feature update management and to unenroll that device from the deployment service. This delay allows time to assign the device to a different policy and ensure that in the meantime the device doesn’t receive a feature update that wasn't intended.

    This means that when a feature updates policy no longer applies to a device, that device won’t be offered any feature updates until one of the following happens:

    • 90 days elapse.
    • The device is assigned to a new feature update profile.
    • The device is unenrolled from Intune, which unenrolls the device from feature update management by the Deployment Service.
    • You use the Windows Update for Business deployment service graph API to remove the device from feature update management.

    To keep a device at its current feature update version and prevent it from being unenrolled and updated to the most recent feature update version, ensure the device remains assigned to a feature update policy that specifies the devices current Windows version.

Create and assign Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.

  2. Select Devices > Windows > Feature updates for Windows 10 and later > Create profile.

  3. Under Deployment settings:

    • Specify a name, a description (optional), and for Feature update to deploy, select the version of Windows with the feature set you want, and then select Next. Only versions of Windows that remain in support are available to select.

    • Configure Rollout options to manage when Windows Updates makes the update available to devices that receive this policy. For information about using these options, see Rollout options for Windows Updates.

  4. Under Assignments, choose + Select groups to include and then assign the feature updates deployment to one or more device groups. Select Next to continue.

  5. Under Review + create, review the settings. When ready to save the Feature updates policy, select Create.

Upgrade devices to Windows 11

You can use policy for Feature updates for Windows 10 and later to upgrade devices that run Windows 10 to Windows 11.

When you use feature updates policy to deploy Windows 11, you can target the policy to any of your Windows 10 devices and only devices that meet the Windows 11 minimum requirements will upgrade. Devices that don’t meet the requirements for Windows 11 won’t receive the update and remain at their current Windows 10 version.

When there are multiple versions of Windows 11 available, you can choose to deploy the latest build. When you deploy the latest build to a group of devices, those devices that already run Windows 11 will update while devices that still run Windows 10 will upgrade to that version of Windows 11 if they meet the upgrade requirements. In this way, you can always upgrade supported Windows 10 devices to the latest Windows 11 version even if you choose to delay the upgrade of some devices until a future time.

Prepare to upgrade to Windows 11

The first step in preparing for a Windows 11 upgrade is to ensure your devices meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11.

You can use Endpoint analytics in Microsoft Endpoint Manager to determine which of your devices meet the hardware requirements. If some of your devices don't meet all the requirements, you can see exactly which ones aren't met. To use Endpoint analytics, your devices must be managed by Intune-managed, co-managed, or have the Configuration Manager client version 2107 or newer with tenant attach enabled.

If you’re already using Endpoint analytics, navigate to the Work from anywhere report, and select the Windows score category in the middle to open a flyout with aggregate Windows 11 readiness information. For more granular details, go to the Windows tab at the top of the report. On the Windows tab, you’ll see device-by-device readiness information.

Licensing for Windows 11 versions

Windows 11 includes a new license agreement, which can be viewed at https://www.microsoft.com/useterms/. This license agreement is automatically accepted by an organization that submits a policy to deploy Windows 11.

When you use configure a policy in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center to deploy any Windows 11 version, the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center displays a notice to remind you that by submitting the policy you are accepting the Windows 11 License Agreement terms on behalf of the devices, and your device users. After submitting the feature updates policy, end users won’t see or need to accept the license agreement, making the update process seamless.

This license reminder appears each time you select a Windows 11 build, even if all your Windows devices already run Windows 11. This prompt is provided because Intune doesn’t track which devices will receive the policy, and its possible new devices that run Windows 10 might later enroll and be targeted by the policy.

For more information including general licensing details, see the Windows 11 documentation.

Create policy for Windows 11

To deploy Windows 11, you’ll create and deploy a feature updates policy just as you might have done previously for a Windows 10 device. It’s the same process though instead of selecting a Windows 10 version, you’ll select a Windows 11 version from the Feature update to deploy dropdown list. The dropdown list displays both Windows 10 and Windows 11 version updates that are in support.

  • Deploying an older Windows version to a device won’t downgrade the device. Devices only install an update when it's newer than the devices current version.
  • Policies for Windows 11 and Windows 10 can exist side by side in Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Manage Feature updates for Windows 10 and later policy

In the admin center, go to Devices > Windows > Feature updates for Windows 10 and later to view your profiles.

For each profile you can view:

  • Feature Update Version – The feature update version in the profile.

  • Assigned – If the profile is assigned to one or more groups.

  • Support: The status of the feature update:

    • Supported – The feature update version is in support and can deploy to devices.
    • Support Ending - The feature update version is within two months of its support end date.
    • Not supported – Support for the feature update has expired and it no longer deploys to devices.
  • Support End Date – The end of support date for the feature update version.

Selecting a profile from the list opens the profiles Overview pane where you can:

  • Select Delete to delete the policy from Intune and remove it from devices.
  • Select Properties to modify the deployment. On the Properties pane, select Edit to open the Deployment settings or Assignments, where you can then modify the deployment.
  • Select End user update status to view information about the policy.

Validation and reporting

There are multiple options to get in-depth reporting for Windows 10/11 updates with Intune. Windows update reports show details about your Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices side by side in the same report.

To learn more, see Intune compliance reports.

Next steps