Microsoft has finally released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update again, though it should probably be called the November 2018 update by this point. Alongside the announcement of the resumption of the update's rollout, Microsoft's Michael Fortin also penned a blog post outlining the company's commitment to ensuring the quality of its software from this point forward.
He acknowledged that last month's decision to pull the October 2018 Update due to a bug that was was deleting a small number of people's data was the first such occurrence since Microsoft adopted the 'Windows as a service' approach to its desktop OS.
While the trends for the quality of Windows 10 releases have apparently increased on aggregate, there's clearly a lot of work to still be done. To that end, Microsoft is promising greater transparency about how it will approach quality. The blog post is set to be the first of many such communications by the company aimed at clarifying its approach to quality, which has been under quite some criticism following its decision to fundamentally change how Windows is tested after laying off many of its testing engineers.
Fortin defends the change by suggesting that the change to testing methodology ensures that code is of higher quality from the start. It's also important to remember that alongside Windows Insiders, the latest builds are also tested within Redmond itself and by Microsoft's extensive list of OEM partners.
Microsoft already takes a number of precautions to ensure that builds are flighted slowly and carefully. For one, it uses a 'seeker' deployment system, whereby users who manually seek out the latest updates by going to the relevant settings are prioritised in receiving the update first. While our Rich Woods has criticised this strategy, it seems Microsoft will be sticking with it for now.
Following the release of a new build, the company uses machine learning to ensure that device configurations that have a likelihood of running into issues do not receive the new build. Microsoft also uses a large amount of telemetry data, obtained via either the Feedback Hub or through its various support channels, to quickly identify new issues with builds and fix them as soon as possible.
As a result, the number of customer service chats and calls has actually decreased according to Microsoft, despite increasing Windows 10 installations. Despite its issues, the blog also suggests that the April 2018 Update had the highest ratio of users who found their experience with the OS to be positive.
Fortin ends the blog with a pledge:
"We will up our effort to improve our ability to prevent issues and our ability to respond quickly and openly when issues do arise. We intend to leverage all the tools we have today and focus on new quality-focused innovation across product design, development, validation and delivery."
Hopefully, these changes and more transparency will allow Microsoft to avoid a repeat of what happened with its latest feature update and avoid all the negative publicity that came with it.