Skip to the content of the web site.

Windows 10

Windows 10 at UW

Windows 10 was released to the public the beginning of August 2015, and to corporations and academic institutions shortly after. Many questions needed to be answered before we could sanction Windows 10 as a mainstream operating system here, and support it properly as the client’s primary workstation. IST recognizes that there will be early adopters, like there has been for most new operating systems, but we have no intention of deploying it on mass until our technical and support infrastructure are ready. In the meantime, the following information may help put things in perspective for IT support staff, being challenged by clients asking for an upgrade.

Proper Version

It is important to distinguish between “consumer” versions of the Windows OS and the “Campus Agreement” versions that we are licensed to run on UW-owned PCs. That is the key: whether-or-not, the PC running Windows is UW-owned or not.

Our license allows us to run the “Education” version of Windows 10 on “UW-owned” PCs. Conversely, we cannot legally run the Education version on private or personally, owned PCs. Home PCs not belonging to UW typically come with a consumer version of Windows. Even though they may look and behave the same, the two streams are not compatible. Because home PCs belonging to UW are running the “Pro” or “Enterprise” versions of previous OS’s, the “free” upgrade from Microsoft does not work on these.

More information on why the “Education” version was chosen over the “Enterprise” version, as we did for Windows 7, is available here.

Proper Version Number: CB versus CBB

Windows 10 as a service is a new model significantly different from previous OS's. The new design defines it to be constantly upgraded and enhanced without client intervention. This is good in that it will always remain current and secure. It is also a challenge for corporations and us because applications will have to be continually tested for compliance and operation. To help, Microsoft will be directly applying ongoing updates and upgrades to home PCs, but allowing large organizations to hold back all but security updates for up to 8 months. These two streams are called Current Branch or CB (for home PCs) and Current Branch for Business or CBB (for us).

Significant details will become available over time, but rest assured that IST will continue to have some control over deployment cycles. Your personal home PCs however will also upgrade frequently, but be under Microsoft's control. CB versions will become CBB versions at which time, testing cycles begin again before this version is deployed on campus.


This information is current as of January 2017. We are almost ready to distribute W10 to clients en masse. Our current infrastucture has been upgraded as there have been significant changes made. As of this writing, IST has enhanced our KMS licensing server to respond to W10 licensing requests. WSUS and SCCM have also been altered to accept and deliver W10 patches. SCCM has been upgraded to support in-place upgrades from one release of W10 to the next, and most corporate applications have been tested and certified to run under Windows 10. We believe we are ready now to begin upgrading primary workstations to Windiws 10.

Recommended Upgrade Path

As with all, previous OS's IST strongly encourages staff to use this opportunity to clean workstations of all noise accumulated over the last few years since the last OS was installed. This means starting with a new install of W10. Although Microsoft goes to great lengths to allow upgrades to work, experience has shown many differences in directory structures and registry hives that do not appear on a new install. Over the life of a "mission critical" PC these subtle changes can affect performance, successful software installs and ongoing support. For this reason, we do not recommend upgrades for any UW-owned PCs.

IST intends on doing a fresh install of all client's primary and home PCs when the time comes, and as we have in the past, migrating as much user data and applications as we can at that time.

Access and Testing

For IT staff that need to gain familiarity with Windows 10, we again encourage them to do this on secondary or UW-owned home PCs. For these select few, they can get the "Education" version from our Webstore. (Please don't share your copy with others but rather have them get their own.)

IST intends on continuing to create virtual instances of all required versions of operating systems in our VDI environment that IT staff can RDP to. As with other VDI instances, it can be configured in such a way that all work can be accomplished from this workstation, to properly test all aspects of the OS without affecting ones primary workstation. To get access to this please contact IST Workstation Services, or submit an RT.

Known Problems/Delays

Please feel free to report known problems to IST Workstation Services, so this page can be kept up-to-date until a better way has been made available.
  • Computer Name is randomly generated during sysprep. We believe Microsoft is aware of this.

  • Power settings are not likely what the Power Options control panel is reporting. Our test workstation had power settings set to "High Performance" and all sleep options disabled. Regardless it still goes into power save after 3 hours.

  • The Ctrl/Alt/Del lock screen no longer supports Alt-K to lock, or Alt-O to logout.

This page maintained by Manfred Grisebach. Last change: January 17th, 2017