Microsoft is to include key client-side virtualisation tools with the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update release, but only with volume licensed versions of the platform. Customers using these tools will be forced to license those versions in future.
The company confirmed in a TechNet blog post that the Application Virtualisation (App-V) and User Environment Virtualisation (UE-V) tools will be included as standard in the volume licensed Enterprise and Education editions of Windows with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, due for release on 2 August.
App-V and UE-V are two of the most popular components of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP). App-V packages Windows applications in such a way that they can be deployed and run without the need to install them or touch system files, while UE-V allows customers to roam personal settings and preferences across different Windows endpoints.
"By including these components in the operating system itself, you will not have to take additional steps to deploy and maintain them outside the general Windows deployment and update process," said Microsoft solution asset programme manager Joseph Hornbeck.
"Future updates to App-V and UE-V will be delivered as part of general Windows updates and will not require any separate administrative steps."
This means that there are no extra steps or costs required for large organisations with Software Assurance licensing that already use Windows Enterprise.
But the move has a sting in the tail for customers running Windows 10 Pro. If they plan to deploy the Windows 10 Anniversary Update release, they will need to upgrade to the Enterprise edition if they want to use App-V and UE-V on endpoint systems.
"If you are using Windows Professional, when you upgrade to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and your organisation uses App-V and UE-V for management functionality, you will need to upgrade to the Enterprise or Education edition," warned Hornbeck.
"Direct upgrades to the Pro SKU will result in App-V and UE-V binaries being removed during the OS migration process."
Microsoft explained that the versions of App-V and UE-V included in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are the same as the current "out-of-box" versions shipped last year in MDOP 2015.
However, future enhancements to App-E and UE-V will be available only for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later.
The move seems to be part of an effort by Microsoft to coerce businesses into using the Enterprise edition of Windows 10, which also requires them to sign up for Software Assurance volume licensing, rather than the Windows 10 Pro edition that is widely used by many companies.
Microsoft pushed out an update to the Windows 10 Pro edition earlier this year that removed the ability for IT administrators to restrict end-user access to the Windows Store.
This meant that administrators could no longer control user access to content such as games, unless they opted to deploy the Enterprise edition of Windows.
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