Microsoft is starting to test a new method for releasing software updates to Windows users more quickly. The Windows Feature Experience Pack is a bundle of Windows features that can be updated outside of the regular Windows Feature updates — meaning that instead of releasing updates twice a year, Microsoft can push updates on a rolling basis.
Some users have been spotting signs of the Feature Experience Pack in their Windows settings for the past year, but Microsoft hadn’t publicly commented on it until today… when the company released the first Windows Feature Experience Pack update to members of the Windows Insider Preview program.
— Brad Sams (@bdsams) November 30, 2020
The update’s not particularly exciting. It only has two features:
- The Windows screen snipping tool now lets you create a snip and paste it directly into a folder on your computer using File Explorer.
- The Windows touch keyboard now lets you use split keyboard mode on a Windows tablet held in portrait orientation (this was previously limited to landscape).
Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc notes that right now “only a limited number of features are being developed this way,” but that the company hopes “to expand the scope and frequency of releases in the future.”
What’s more interesting than these two little features is that Windows Experience Pack 120.2212.1070.0 could just be the first in a series of updates that could change the way updates are delivered by allowing OS features to be rolled out or updated via Windows Update without waiting for a major OS update.
Currently, you’ll only get the update if you’re a Windows Insider in the Beta Channel running Windows 10 20H2 Build 19042.662, which was released last week. But if the program proves successful, it could eventually make its way to stable builds of Windows 10 in the future.