Microsoft axes Group Policies in Windows 10 Pro version 1607

On August 2, 2016, Microsoft releases Windows 10 version 1607 (Anniversary Update). There are several changes coming with this new release. One change: Some Group Policies will be removed from Group Policy Editor in Windows 10 Pro, version 1607.


We have had the first change back in version 1511, when Microsoft removed the ability in Windows 10 Pro (November update) to block access to store apps. Martin Brinkmann mentioned a few days ago on, that Microsoft removes further Group Policies in version 1607 of Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft published a new article on Technet that confirms that policies related to "tips and tricks" and "store suggestions" cannot be disabled anymore on Windows 10 Pro. Features, that can't be blocked by Group Policy rules in Windows 10 Pro anymore are:

  • Windows Spotlight on the lock screen. Daily updated images on the lock screen that can include additional facts and tips in "hotspots" that are revealed on hover.
  • Start menu app suggestions. App suggestions in Start that recommend productivity tool or utilities from the Windows Store.
  • Additional apps on Start. Additional apps pre-installed on the Start screen which can enhance the user's experience.
  • Windows tips. Contextual tips that appear based on specific user actions to reveal related Windows features or help users complete a scenario.
  • Microsoft account notifications. For users who have a connected Microsoft account, toast notifications about their account like parental control notifications or subscription expiration.

Microsoft intends to force users who are in need of these Group Policies to shift from Windows 10 Pro to a subscription based Windows 10 Enterprise edition. The following table reflects this situation.

My conclusion: Anniversary Update removes again functionality from Windows 10 Pro, which is a bad move. Because many users (and also companies) are not able to get Windows 10 Enterprise (which is subscription based on a volume license agreement). It's not customer friendly and together with other moves (Cortana search integrated in Windows 10 v1607) is more and more a no-go for business cases. What's your opinion?


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