Microsoft to change Windows 10 release terminology

In an effort to streamline release terminology of Windows 10 and Office 365, Microsoft plans to replace the current terms “Current Branch” and “Current Branch for Business” with “Semi-Annual Channel (Pilot)” and “Semi-Annual Channel (Broad).

Current Branch (CB) is the servicing option that is offered to the majority of windows installations by default. Pro, Enterprise and Education systems may be switched over to the Current Branch for Business (CBB) servicing option, and there is also a specialized Long-Term Servicing Branch servicing option available for the Enterprise.

The main difference between CB and CBB is that Current Branch devices will get feature updates as soon as they are made available, and Current Branch for Business systems  after four months of general availability.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update for instance was released on August 2, 2016 to Current Branch devices, and on November 29, 2016 to Current Branch for Business devices.

Semi-Annual Channel

Servicing option Version OS build Availability date Latest revision date
Semi-Annual Channel Broad 1709 September 2017
Current Branch (CB) 1703 15063.25 04/11/17 04/25/17
Current Branch (CB) 1607 14393.11 08/02/16 04/11/17
Current Branch (CB) 1511 10586.87 11/12/15 04/11/17
Current Branch (CB) 1507 (RTM) 10240.17 07/29/15 04/11/17
Semi-Annual Channel Pilot 1709 January 2018
Current Branch for Business (CBB) 1607 14393.11 11/29/16 04/11/17
Current Branch for Business (CBB) 1511 10586.87 04/08/16 04/11/17
Current Branch for Business (CBB) 1507 (RTM) 10240.17 07/29/15 04/11/17
Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) 1607 14393.11 08/02/16 04/11/17
Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) 1507 (RTM) 10240.17 07/29/15 04/11/17

Microsoft plans to change the terminology with the release of the next feature update for Windows 10. The release, which flies under the Redstone 3 codename currently, will be out in September 2017. Microsoft won’t use CB or CBB anymore when it comes to the release, but use Semi-Annual Channel (Pilot)” and “Semi-Annual Channel (Broad) instead from that point onward.

The timeline would look like the following then:

  1. Windows 10 version 1709 gets released in September 2017. It becomes the first Semi-Annual Channel (Pilot).
  2. About four months later, version 1709 is declared Semi-Annual Channel (Broad).
  3. 18 months after the initial release, version 1709 is no longer supported.

You may have noticed that the grace period that is in effect currently is gone. This means that there is no 60 day period that is added to the 18 months before support runs out.

Why the change?

office channels

Microsoft makes the change to sync Office 365 and Windows 10 release terminology. The company announced in April 2016 on the official Office Support website and the Office blog that it will change the terminology:

  • Current Channel becomes Monthly Channel
  • First Release for Deferred Channel becomes Semi-Annual Channel (Pilot)
  • Deferred Channel becomes Semi-Annual Channel (Broad).

Office 365 ProPlus will get two updates a year just like Windows 10, and they will be released in sync with Windows 10’s releases. Support for a particular release is guaranteed for 18 months, which is identical to how support is handled for Windows 10 releases. (via Deskmodder)

Closing Words

It is always confusing at first when companies change the terminology of systems or services, but this change will make it easier in the long run because it syncs the Office 365 ProPlus terminology with that of Windows 10.

The cutting of the “grace period” may be disliked by some administrators though, as it means that they have 60 days less for upgrades (still 18 months).

Now You: Confusing, or does the change make sense?


Article Name

Microsoft to change Windows 10 release terminology


Microsoft plans to change the release terminology that it uses to describe Windows 10 and Office 365 servicing options in September 2017.


Martin Brinkmann


Ghacks Technology News


About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand.You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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