Windows 10: Watch out for Microsoft’s new way of doing release notes

Many Windows users don’t even bother looking at Microsoft’s Windows release notes, but those who do often pay close attention. 

For those users who do rely on information about Microsoft’s operating system, the company is preparing improvements to Windows release notes, the Windows update history pages, and informational articles. 

Reflecting Microsoft’s shift to the Microsoft 365 bundle for Windows 10, Office 365 and management tools, Microsoft is now merging the support.office.com and support.microsoft.com sites into a unified support site. 

Users should be able to find support and troubleshooting resources for Microsoft 365 more easily when using a search engine, according to Microsoft. Additionally, consolidating the two sites helps Microsoft quickly publish new articles and update existing ones. 

These changes will be rolling out in the coming weeks, the company says.    

Microsoft is also reformatting the structure of its URLs for Windows 10 release notes, giving the KB (knowledge base) article number a more prominent position in the URL and on the page itself. 

This change is designed to help users distinguish between two pages with similar-looking titles and make it easier to search for support articles by KB ID number. 

As Microsoft notes, the existing URL structure also includes the KB ID that users can copy from the address bar and append to the root URL, https://support.microsoft.com/help. However, sometimes KB IDs aren’t listed in the article and can only be seen in the URL. In these situations, it’s harder to use search engines to find an article by KB ID. 

“For greater consistency and to support improved search indexing, the URL structure moving forward will include both the GUID and the KB ID. Since many are familiar with appending the KB ID to the URL, we will continue to support this approach and use automatic redirects to ensure you land on the appropriate article,” Microsoft explains.   

The Windows 10 release notes pages currently only support sharing articles by email. Microsoft is updating sharing options to include Facebook and LinkedIn. The share controls will be at the bottom of each page.

There’s no change to Microsoft’s current release note content strategy, which includes Monthly security updates (B week releases), non-security updates (Preview releases), and out-of-band updates (OOB releases). 

It’s also tweaking the formatting, user interface and the type of metadata available, which may affect tools that admins use to organize Microsoft’s support and release notes. 

Articles on support.microsoft.com will no longer serve articles in a JSON format, which are then rendered on the client, but will rather render the articles in HTML. Also, metadata from each article won’t be served as JSON anymore and will instead be rendered in a block of meta tags.  

Microsoft is also paring back the metadata available in the page’s source and has provided a table of changes affecting KB numbers, release dates, last updated details, Windows versions the article applies to, heading details, and the locale of the article.