In Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft gives you the ability to control when or even if you want to download and install updates. But that seems to be changing with Windows 10, at least with the Home edition.
A new Windows 10 specifications page posted by Microsoft provides system requirements, notes and other facts about the upcoming new operating system software. And one section in particular reveals a change to the way Microsoft will let you handle updates.
"Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available," the Descriptions page explains. "Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates."
The wording is a bit vague and can be misinterpreted, especially the term "automatically available." But assuming I'm reading it correctly, the option to defer or delay updates will not be present in Windows 10 Home edition, only in Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise. And for some users, that might be a problem.
The new option would take away some of the control that users have over Windows. Microsoft has always offered a certain amount of flexibility in the way you can manage and customize Windows, including the manner in which updates are installed. But the new option seems a step backward as it's removing some of that control, and only for Windows Home, the cheaper consumer version of Windows 10.
Microsoft on Monday announced that it will begin offering its newest software to power PCs and tablets as a free upgrade on July 29. Users running Windows 7 or 8.1 with the latest updates can reserve the upgrade, which is available for one year. (You can for more details.)
For everyone else, a copy of Windows 10 Home will run $119, while Windows 10 Pro will cost $199. For those who wish to upgrade from the Home edition to the Pro edition, a Windows 10 Pro Pack will cost $99.
The company has a lot riding on Windows 10, which it hopes will erase the bad experiences people had with the touchscreen-focused Windows 8, which failed to catch on with any significant number of PC users.
Currently in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, you can determine how you want updates installed. You can have Windows install them automatically, so you don't have to install them yourself. You can have updates downloaded automatically but choose whether you want them installed. You can tell Windows to check for updates but allow you to choose whether to download and install them. Or you can tell Windows to never check for updates.
Though some updates are critical ones that should almost always be installed automatically, sometimes Microsoft comes out with a buggy update that should not be installed. In that case, you'd want the ability to prevent that update from being installed until Microsoft can fix it.
In the latest Windows 10 build, No. 10130, you're presented with two options in how updates are installed -- either install updates automatically or notify you to schedule a restart. There is a separate option called "Delay Upgrades (not recommended)," but the "Learn more" link under that option doesn't work, so it's not clear exactly what this does. But overall, the new Updates screen may give us a clue as to what Windows 10 Home users will see.
Why handle Windows 10 Home users this way but not those running the Professional or Enterprise editions?
Reflecting its name, the Home edition is geared toward home users, or individual consumers, and for security reasons Microsoft may want to ensure that such users don't have the ability to defer automatic updates. Windows 10 Professional is geared for more advanced users and small organizations, while Enterprise is aimed at large businesses, all of whom may have a better grasp of the update process or use other tools to install updates for multiple users.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.