Assign devices to servicing channels for Windows 10 updates

Applies to

  • Windows 10

Looking for consumer information? See Windows Update: FAQ

Tip

If you're not familiar with the Windows 10 servicing or release channels, read Servicing Channels first.

Due to naming changes, older terms like CB and CBB might still be displayed in some of our products, such as in Group Policy. If you encounter these terms, "CB" refers to the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)--which is no longer used--while "CBB" refers to the Semi-Annual Channel.

The Semi-Annual Channel is the default servicing channel for all Windows 10 devices except those with the LTSB edition installed. The following table shows the servicing channels available to each Windows 10 edition.

Windows 10 edition Semi-Annual Channel Long-Term Servicing Channel Insider Program
Home no no yes
Pro yes no yes
Enterprise yes no yes
Enterprise LTSB no yes no
Pro Education yes no yes
Education yes no yes
Mobile no no yes
Mobile Enterprise yes no yes

Note

The LTSB edition of Windows 10 is only available through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center.

Assign devices to Semi-Annual Channel

Important

Due to naming changes, older terms like CB and CBB might still be displayed in some of our products, such as in Group Policy. If you encounter these terms, "CB" refers to the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)--which is no longer used--while "CBB" refers to the Semi-Annual Channel.

To assign a single devices locally to the Semi-Annual Channel

  1. Go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options.
  2. Select Defer feature updates.

To assign devices to the Semi-Annual Channel by using Group Policy

  • In Windows 10, version 1607 and later releases:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Defer Windows Updates > Select when Feature Updates are received - enable policy and set branch readiness level to the Semi-Annual Channel

To assign devices to to the Semi-Annual Channel by using MDM

  • In Windows 10, version 1607 and later releases:

    ../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/BranchReadinessLevel

To assign Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise devices to the Semi-Annual Channel by using MDM

  • In Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, version 1607 and later releases:

    ../Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Update/BranchReadinessLevel

Enroll devices in the Windows Insider Program

To get started with the Windows Insider Program for Business, you will need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. On the Windows Insider website, go to For Business > Getting Started to register your organizational Azure AD account.
  2. Register your domain. Rather than have each user register individually for Insider Preview builds, administrators can simply register their domain and control settings centrally.
    Note: The signed-in user needs to be a Global Administrator of the Azure AD domain in order to be able to register the domain.
  3. Make sure the Allow Telemetry setting is set to 2 or higher.
  4. Starting with Windows 10, version 1709, set policies to manage preview builds and their delivery:

The Manage preview builds setting gives administrators control over enabling or disabling preview build installation on a device. You can also decide to stop preview builds once the release is public.

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/Windows Update for Business - Manage preview builds
  • MDM: Update/ManagePreviewBuilds

The Branch Readiness Level settings allows you to choose between preview flight rings, and allows you to defer or pause the delivery of updates.

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/ Windows Update for Business - Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received
  • MDM: Update/BranchReadinessLevel

For more information, see Windows Insider Program for Business

Block access to Windows Insider Program

To prevent devices in your enterprise from being enrolled in the Insider Program for early releases of Windows 10:

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Data Collection and Preview Builds\Toggle user control over Insider builds
  • MDM: Policy CSP - System/AllowBuildPreview

Important

Starting with Windows 10, version 1709, this policy is replaced by Manage preview builds policy.

  • Group Policy: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/Windows Update for Business - Manage preview builds
  • MDM: Update/ManagePreviewBuilds

Switching channels

During the life of a device, it might be necessary or desirable to switch between the available channels. Depending on the channel you are using, the exact mechanism for doing this can be different; some will be simple, others more involved.

From this channel To this channel You need to
Windows Insider Program
Semi-Annual Channel Not directly possible
Long-Term Servicing Channel Not directly possible (requires wipe-and-load).
Semi-Annual Channel Insider Use the Settings app to enroll the device in the Windows Insider Program.
Long-Term Servicing Channel Not directly possible (requires wipe-and-load).
Long-Term Servicing Channel Insider Use media to upgrade to the latest Windows Insider Program build.
Semi-Annual Channel Use media to upgrade. Note that the Semi-Annual Channel build must be a later build.

Block user access to Windows Update settings

In Windows 10, administrators can control user access to Windows Update. By enabling the Group Policy setting under Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows update\Remove access to use all Windows update features, administrators can disable the "Check for updates" option for users. Any background update scans, downloads and installations will continue to work as configured.

Note

In Windows 10, any Group Policy user configuration settings for Windows Update were deprecated and are no longer supported on this platform.

Steps to manage updates for Windows 10

done Learn about updates and servicing channels
done Prepare servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates
done Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates
done Assign devices to servicing channels for Windows 10 updates (this topic)
to do Optimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates
to do Deploy updates using Windows Update for Business
or Deploy Windows 10 updates using Windows Server Update Services
or Deploy Windows 10 updates using System Center Configuration Manager