Windows 10 is trying something different with feature updates

Windows 10 feature updates 2020
Windows 10 feature updates 2020 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is testing out a new way of pushing certain features to Windows 10 users, with some bits of functionality set to be delivered via separate updates outside of the major biannual operating system updates (which typically happen in the spring and fall of each year).

These single package deployments will be called Windows Feature Experience Packs, and Microsoft has just released the first such pack to Windows 10 testers in the beta channel.

The snappily named Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.1070.0 only introduces minor differences, and is doubtless about testing the ins-and-outs of the delivery method, as much as it is about the changes themselves.

2-in-1 device users will find that in portrait mode, the touch keyboard now supports a split keyboard mode, and the snipping tool allows you to paste a snip (grab) of your screen directly into a folder for convenience. So yes, just minor changes really.

Scoping things out

Senior program manager of the Windows Insider Program, Brandon LeBlanc, commented: “Through the Windows Feature Experience Pack, we can improve certain features and experiences that are now developed independently of the OS. Currently, only a limited number of features are being developed this way, so we are starting out very scoped.

“By testing this process first with Windows Insiders, we hope to expand the scope and the frequency of releases in the future.”

The future plan, then, is to deliver these packs during monthly updates for Windows 10, so users will get some additional features for the OS between the big biannual feature updates.

On an overall level, this will allow for more regular tinkering with some features of Windows 10, rather than having to wait to deploy improvements or additional bits of functionality during the big spring or fall updates – which can only be a good thing.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).