Microsoft has begun testing small feature updates for Windows 10 in the form of the Windows Feature Experience Pack. The branding appeared inside Windows 10 earlier this year, but Microsoft has only confirmed what Packs will be used for this week. According to Microsoft the “Feature Feature Experience Pack” will be used to “improve some of the features and experiences developed independently of the OS”.
The first feature pack for Windows 10 beta testers has been released this week, and includes the ability to use the built-in screen snipping app to paste screen explorers directly into folders within File Explorer. The pack also includes a split keyboard mode for 2-in-1 touch devices.
Microsoft says feature packs will be extended to Windows testers such as how existing builds and cumulative updates are distributed. It is unclear how these feature packs will make their way to consumers and enterprises, however. The Feature Pack appears to be a new channel for Microsoft to update parts of Windows that are not directly controlled by the OS, but are also not separate apps that are maintained through the Windows Store.
This may mean that we will see more regular minor updates for Windows 10 in the coming months and years. Microsoft typically offers two major Windows 10 updates per year, one around the April deadline and the other around October. The company is using the service pack-style update model for some Windows 10 updates, including relatively minor changes in one update and major changes in another.
Brandon Leblanc of Microsoft explains, ‘Testing this process first with Windows Insiders allows us to expand the scope and release of releases in the future. “Eventually, the Windows Feature Experience Pack update will change to the pre-existing servicing process for Windows 10 and be passed on to customers through Windows Update.”