VMworld 2017 US has come and gone, and VMworld 2017 Europe is upon us. Although many announcements have been made within many business units, it seems one slipped past many of us. A few of us were discussing which versions of Windows 10 were supported on VMware Horizon, and Phillip Jones (@P2Vme on Twitter) informed us that he just realized VMware updated their support KB a couple weeks ago.
As per VMware KB2149393 and the below table listing the “Supported versions of Windows 10 on Horizon 7 Including All VDI Clones (Full Clones, Linked Clones, Instant Clones)”, it seems that the first Windows 10 1703 branch (Current Branch for Business, or CBB) is now fully supported for Horizon 7.1 and 7.2. This is something we were expecting to be included with Horizon 7.3 (due to be released very soon) but I was happy to see that VMware is now supporting 1703 back to Horizon 7.1.
This is a big deal considering the cadence Microsoft has chosen within its non-LTSB branches.
If you are a shop that would like to put the newest Windows 10 version into production, you would like to maximize your usability window for the version you have in mind. The below chart comes from the Microsoft Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet. According to the chart, if you had a project to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 version 1703, you would probably need to start testing as soon as it was released (4/2017), put it into production within 60 days (6/2017) to get 15 months of production out of it before it goes end of life (tentatively 9/2018).
|Windows 10 version 1507||July 29, 2015||May 9, 2017|
|Windows 10 version 1511||November 10, 2015||October 10, 2017|
|Windows 10 version 1607||August 2, 2016||Tentatively March 2018|
|Windows 10 version 1703||April 5, 2017||Tentatively September 2018|
If your environment was a Horizon environment, an 8/25/2017 production support date would chop your window down to 12 months before it went end of life. Here is where that short version period matters. If you are using non-persistent desktops with a persistent persona management strategy (such as Roaming Profiles, among others), you will need to understand that a user environment that was used with an older Windows profile version, might not be compatible with a newer version of Windows.
It is easy enough to upgrade a Windows 10 parent image from one version of Windows 10 to another. Simply upgrading the version of Windows 10 in some non-persistent VDI environments is not enough. For example, if User A logs in to a Windows 10 1511 desktop using a roaming profile, logs out, and logs in to a Windows 10 1607 desktop, the roaming profile will not function seamlessly. This is because the Windows profile version for Windows 10 1511 is a v5 profile while a Windows 10 1607 is a v6 profile.
There are some 3rd party UEM solutions that have strategies to counteract this issue. More about this in a future post.
Long story short, if you are looking at upgrading either your Windows 10 version to 1703, or upgrading Windows 7 to the most current version of Windows 10, there is no time like the present!