Windows uses well-established feature and monthly security updates to bring the latest features to your PC. With Windows 11, you'll receive new features in a variety of ways:

  • As part of an annual feature update in the second half of the calendar year

  • Through periodic updates using servicing technology

  • Through Microsoft Store updates for apps

There's nothing you need to do to get these features other than install updates when they're available to you and restart your PC when prompted.

Read on to learn more about how Microsoft will continue to bring you new features in a way that ensures quality and reliability.

Continuous innovation

Microsoft is committed to delivering continuous innovation by releasing new features and enhancements into Windows 11 more frequently, as announced and delivered in February 2022. These features are delivered using servicing technology (like a monthly update) and Microsoft Store updates, in addition to annual updates. This helps bring you the best experiences year-round, when new features are ready based on quality and reliability. With this approach you'll:

  • See new features more frequently than in other versions of Windows

  • Get updates through servicing technology that's well established and familiar to you

  • Have additional controls for commercial customers with select features disabled by default

The annual feature update, delivered in the second half of the calendar year, marks the start of the support lifecycle, with 24 months of support for Home and Pro editions of Windows and 36 months of support for Enterprise and Education editions.

A phased and measured approach

Microsoft will periodically deliver new improvements and experiences to the current in-market version of Windows 11 using the existing Windows monthly update process. Our phased and measured approach will introduce new features using Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR) technology, which is also used in the Windows Insider Program and with Microsoft Edge.

Using CFR, features will be gradually rolled out, starting with devices that install the monthly optional non-security preview release. When we've validated that each feature is ready, we'll gradually roll it out to new devices, and eventually include it enabled-by-default in a subsequent monthly security update. 

Microsoft will announce new enhancements and features when they're ready, including documenting features shipped outside of the annual feature updates using our well-known existing process:

  • Unique build and KB numbers for each monthly security update and optional non-security preview release

  • Broad scale communications via the Windows release health dashboard, social media, and other channels including blogs

Choice and control for enterprise and education customers¹

Windows innovations are designed to deliver value to everyone. We recognize that enterprise and education customers might have different requirements for when they install updates based on planning and process requirements in their organizations. To provide the choice and control, Microsoft will:

  • Ship features off by default and create a single policy (GP/MDM) that allows enterprise customers to turn on these features. This will be done as a set, and not for individual features or individual releases.²

  • Offer documentation on these features and how to optionally turn them on (via the single policy or their own dedicated GP/MDM policy).

  • Deliver features and enhancements ON by default in the next annual feature update. Enterprise and education customers can continue to choose when to deploy new annual feature updates based on their schedule needs.

¹Organization-managed devices using Windows 11 Enterprise and Education editions and domain-joined Pro editions.

²This policy will control features introduced after November 2022.

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Windows Update: FAQ

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