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Windows 10 desktop management holiday wish list

IT pros managing Windows 10 desktops in 2018 might run into problems with OS updates or patches. As a result, they have some holiday wishes for changes to Windows 10.

It's the season for gift giving. Some people might hope for a fancy new gadget, while others just want some time with their loved ones.

IT professionals, however, might be hoping that Microsoft helps them with Windows 10 desktop management. In 2018, IT saw a range of Windows 10 problems, from undisclosed vulnerabilities to a chaotic update process.

Microsoft made some mistakes handling Windows 10 in 2018, so here is a holiday wish list for Windows 10 desktop management in the coming year.

Lock down Windows 10 security

Windows 10 endured a few notable security vulnerabilities in 2018. Task Scheduler in August, for example, ran into a privilege escalation vulnerability -- a bug that allows attackers to attain access that the user doesn't even have.

Microsoft released patches and security updates to address vulnerabilities that affected everything from Windows Shell to file associations and mapped network drives. Microsoft released these patches and updates quickly, but often times, it relies on organizations to discover the vulnerabilities via their own troubleshooting. The need for numerous updates and the reliance on customers reporting bugs have complicated Windows 10 desktop management.

Microsoft must make it a priority to thoroughly examine its patches and updates before releasing them. A hasty release could cause more harm than good if it has hidden vulnerabilities of its own.

Improved update process

Microsoft must listen more carefully to the feedback from the Insider Program for Business.

The Windows 10 October 2018 Update gave IT professionals more reason to be wary of the OS update process. Microsoft pulled the update three days after its release when users reported missing data on their updated desktops. Microsoft reissued it six weeks later.

Even if the file deletion only affected an incredibly small fraction of users -- one-hundredth of 1% according to Microsoft -- data loss can cripple a worker's productivity and erase hours of work. To improve Windows 10 desktop management and smooth out the update process, Microsoft must listen more carefully to the feedback from the Insider Program for Business. Some insiders reported the file deletion issue, but Microsoft determined it did not affect enough people to take action.

Microsoft should learn from the Windows 10 October 2018 Update issues and take the Insider Program's feedback seriously, but this is difficult for IT professionals to count on. Windows 10 desktop management pros should test OS updates on their own desktops before deploying them across their organizations. A test deployment may not detect all of the issues an OS update can introduce, but it could prevent disastrous data loss or other issues.

Smooth Windows 10 migrations

Jan. 14, 2020, the end-of-life date for Windows 7, is getting closer. Any organization that has not migrated to Windows 10 will likely do so soon.

Some IT pros have lasting concerns about switching to Windows 10 due to potential legacy application incompatibility and the problematic update process.

There are numerous issues that can come up throughout the migration process, such as printer mapping issues and potential data loss. Something as small as a single incompatible hardware add-on can derail a device's access to Windows 10 once the migration is complete.

There are some crucial steps IT professionals should perform to ensure that a Windows 10 migration runs properly. These steps include performing hardware and application inventory to ensure that there aren't any components that could ruin the migration, as well as moving crucial user data to a safe location and running a pilot deployment on a small number of desktops.

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