In the form of Windows Feature Experience Pack, Microsoft is testing smaller feature updates for Windows 10. The branding appears inside Windows 10 earlier this year, but Microsoft only confirms what the packs will be used for this week. As per Microsoft, the Windows Feature Experience Pack will be used to “improve certain features and experiences that are now developed independently of the OS.
This week, the company releases the first feature pack to Windows 10 beta testers. And it includes the ability to use the built-in screen snipping app to paste screenshots directly into folders within the File Explorer. The pack also consists of a split keyboard mode for 2-in-1 touch devices. The tech giant says feature packs will be delivered to Windows testers much like how existing builds and cumulative updates are provided.
It’s not clear how these feature packs will make their way to consumers and enterprises, though. Feature packs appear to be a new channel for Microsoft to update parts of Windows. That the OS doesn’t control directly and isn’t separate apps that are maintained through the Windows Store, in simple terms it means, we will see more regular minor updates to Windows 10 in the coming months and years ahead.
What does Microsoft promise with regards to Windows Feature?
Most likely, Microsoft promises to deliver two big Windows 10 updates per year. With one arriving around the April time frame and the other around October. For some time now, the company seems to use a Service Pack-style update model for some Windows 10 update. It mainly includes relatively minor changes in one of the updates and more significant changes in the other.
We hope to expand the scope and the frequency of releases in the future by testing this process first with Windows Insiders. Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc explains this. Eventually, Windows Feature Experience Pack updates will get folded into the already existing servicing process for Windows 10. And they will delivered to customers that way through Windows Update.
The Windows Feature Experience Packs could mean Microsoft is rolling out small updates for Windows 10. It also rolls out service packs regularly, which come with security and performance improvements. The Windows Feature Experience Packs will rolled out to Insiders the same way they receive builds and cumulative updates.
Windows feature the ultimate big thing:
In a blog post, Microsoft says, “Through the Windows Feature Experience Pack, we can improve certain features and experiences. As of now, they developed independently of the OS. Microsoft’s first Windows Feature Experience Pack releases to the beta channel now. Microsoft said it’s starting out “very scoped” with a limited number of features. Even the first one has updates for only two components.
It allows Windows Insiders to use the built-in screen snipping tool to “create a snip of your screen. And you can paste it directly into a folder of your choice in File Explorer to save the screenshot there. This feature pack also supports split keyboard mode for the touch keyboard in portrait mode for 2-in-1 touch devices.
Windows Insiders can check for this feature pack by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. The update also requires beta testers to have 20H2 Build 19042.662 installed on their devices. Hence, as of now, Microsoft is keeping the contents of these Experience Packs tiny. It is mainly because so they can manage scope and determine whether or not Insiders like the idea.
Briefing about Microsoft’s updates:
Microsoft’s massive semi-annual (usually) Windows 10 updates are the primary way for the tech giant to deliver new tools and features to the OS’ userbase. These Packs are smaller, self-contained updates that are differently developed from the OS. And as a result, it can be shipped separately. As such, early EPs will mostly include tiny improvements and tweaks to existing Windows features and tools. They will also be relatively infrequent at first, though that will undoubtedly change over time.
For an example of what an EP might contain, here’s the update log for Experience Pack 120.2212.1070.0, available now to Beta Channel Insiders. You can now use the built-in screen snipping experience in Windows (WIN + SHIFT + S). It is to create a snip of your screen. It depends on the insider feedback mainly.
There’s not much to analyze there. The snipping tool improvement will be nice. But it’s hardly game-changing, and that seems to be precisely what Microsoft is shooting for with these EPs. It remains to sew whether or not Microsoft will stick with the EP concept. But on paper, rolling out smaller, less controversial updates at faster intervals is a smart move in the long run. At any rate, EPs are purely optional for now. If you like the idea and want to help Microsoft tests it out. You sign up for the Windows Insider program and join the Beta Channel
How ever, we can say that Microsoft is exploring a new way to use its ‘Windows Feature Experience Kit’ to roll out app upgrades. Tiny updates to only a few features in Windows 10 can come with these feature packs. With Windows Insiders, Microsoft is exploring this for the first time with no word on whether it will hit businesses and consumers.
For Windows 10, the Windows Features Experience Packs mostly mean that Microsoft is carrying out minor updates. Hence you can say the feature will surely make Microsoft stand out in the crowd. Microsoft plans to change this approach, though, and introduce some new features via what it calls Feature Experience Packs.
Additionally, Windows 10 has got a significant update with new features biannually in recent years. The feature experience pack appears to be Microsoft’s new channel for updating Windows. Mainly it is for applications and not for systems.