Microsoft has begun testing minor feature updates for Windows 10 in the form of the Windows Feature Experience Pack. Branding appeared in Windows 10 earlier this year, but Microsoft has only confirmed what packages will be used for this week. The Windows Feature Experience Pack will be used to “enhance certain features and experiences that are now being developed independently of the operating system,” according to Microsoft.
The first feature pack was released for Windows 10 beta testers this week and includes the ability to use the built-in screen cropping app to place screenshots directly in folders in File Explorer. The package also includes a split keyboard mode for 2-in-1
Microsoft says feature packs will be delivered to Windows testers, similar to how existing compilations and cumulative updates are delivered. However, it is not clear how these feature packs will pave the way for consumers and businesses. Feature packs appear to be a new channel for Microsoft to update parts of Windows that are not directly controlled by the operating system, but are also not separate applications that are supported through the Windows Store.
This may mean that we will see more regular small updates to Windows 10 in the coming months and years to come. Microsoft typically delivers two major updates to Windows 10 annually, one arriving around April and the other around October. The company uses a Service Pack-style update model for some Windows 10 updates, including relatively minor changes to one of the updates and major changes to the other.
“By testing this process with Windows Insiders first, we hope to expand the scope and frequency of publications in the future,” explains Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft. “Eventually, Windows Feature Experience Pack updates will be folded into the existing Windows 10 service process and delivered to customers through Windows Update.”