Windows as a Service
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In this course, we take an introductory look at administration within Microsoft 365.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the capabilities of the Microsoft 365 admin center
  • Describe user licensing, roles, and reporting in the Microsoft 365 admin center
  • Explain how Microsoft 365 helps manage applications and devices
  • Understand the Microsoft support structure for Microsoft 365 services

Intended Audience

  • Users new to Microsoft 365
  • Users who want to learn the administrative tools and capabilities available within Microsoft 365


To get the most out of this course, you should have an understanding of general technical concepts. 


As you are probably already aware, Microsoft consistently puts out updates to Windows to ensure it is safe and secure for private and business use. With Microsoft 365, they offer a service called Windows-as-a-service, to streamline Windows updates across organizations. This allows organizations to roll out Windows updates for managed devices. It does this by rolling out two different types of updates depending upon the servicing channels to specific users through something known as deployment rings. 

Starting off with the update types, we have feature updates and quality updates. Feature updates are the updates that provide new Windows features into the operating system and these are released twice a year. Quality updates are updates that include security patches and fixes as needed. These updates are usually issued once a month. Now, both of these types of updates release at different intervals, and the organization has choices of when and how to roll out these updates through service channels and deployment rings. Servicing channels are a way of controlling update frequency in our organization and can be one of three different options; Insider Preview, Semi-Annual Channel, and Long-Term Servicing Channel. 

The Insider Preview is exactly what it sounds like. It provides a new Windows features before the general release for testing and feedback purposes. The Semi-Annual Channel provides feature updates twice a year and is generally the most common across organizations. The Long-Term Servicing Channel is for specialized devices like servers or equipment that don't run Office apps. The Long-Term Servicing Channel updates much less frequently, only receiving a feature update once every few years to minimize downtime of important devices. 

There are also Targeted Channels you can use, such as the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), which can be thought of as a preview update for the Standard Semi-Annual Channel. Deployment rings on the other hand are a way to pilot new features across an org before they get general rollout across all devices. Essentially deployment rings allow you to roll out certain features and updates to a select group or a ring of individuals in your organization to ensure it works in your org before bulk rollout of the update. Now that we understand how Windows-as-a-service works, let's take a look at other potential options organizations have for desktop solutions.


About the Author
Learning Paths

Lee has spent most of his professional career learning as much as he could about PC hardware and software while working as a PC technician with Microsoft. Once covid hit, he moved into a customer training role with the goal to get as many people prepared for remote work as possible using Microsoft 365. Being both Microsoft 365 certified and a self-proclaimed Microsoft Teams expert, Lee continues to expand his knowledge by working through the wide range of Microsoft certifications.