Microsoft says start practicing now for Windows 10 update cycle

Microsoft says start practicing now for Windows 10 update cycle

Government IT managers should get in shape for the Windows 10 update relay by installing updates more frequently, Microsoft advises.

Windows 10, when it gets released as a final product, will have a fast update cycle that will include the delivery of new features along with security patches. And while consumers typically use the Windows Update service to automatically install updates without testing them, that’s not the case for enterprise users.

Still, Microsoft would prefer that enterprise IT mangers be more "proactive" about installing optional updates and update rollups than they have been in the past, explained Thierry Paquay, a member of Microsoft's Windows CXE patch team.  They should also turn on telemetry reporting so that Microsoft can get the feedback it needs,  Paquay said in an Ignite talk this month, called "Getting Ready for Windows 10: Servicing Windows Client and Server in a Managed Environment Today."

Of Microsoft's many update types, Paquay just described four: security updates, hotfixes, optional updates and update rollups.

Organizations should deploy security updates as soon as possible, Paquay said. Hotfixes, on the other hand, are designed to solve a particular problem. In the past, Microsoft had published information saying that hotfixes should be deployed only if an organization was experiencing the specific problem being addressed. Paquay said that Microsoft's new recommendation for installing hotfixes is that organizations should deploy them proactively. He said IT managers can do testing if they need to, but "don't wait" to deploy hotfixes.

Optional updates that come out each month also may have been ignored by IT managers in the past, but Microsoft now wants organizations to test and deploy these optional updates proactively, too. "I know that's a big ask," Paquay acknowledged.

Update rollups, which are collections of hotfixes in a single package with a reboot, also should be deployed proactively, Paquay said.

He added that if IT pros start carrying out these tasks now, then they will be ready to do the same thing when Windows 10 arrives. However, if organizations continue to focus on deploying only security updates, things will be more difficult when Windows 10 arrives, he warned.

Paquay did not specify what the frequency of Windows 10 updates would be. However, Microsoft officials have previously suggested that Windows 10 updates would arrive when they are ready, rather than according to a set schedule -- possibly several updates per month.

Microsoft plans to provide more information about this update concept in a future Windows IT pro blog post that's going to arrive in the coming weeks, according to Paquay.

Paquay's talk was an appeal of sorts to IT pros who had paid to attend Ignite, and who get paid for exercising caution and keeping systems running in organizations. The talk comes at a time when Microsoft has had notable troubles in issuing problem-free software updates. For instance, just last week, Microsoft reissued Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2014 after a flawed initial release. The flawed patch, described as rendering SQL Server 2014 "unusable," had 270 downloads before being halted by Microsoft. Such context may make Paquay's request somewhat of a hard sell among IT pros.

A longer version of this article originally appeared on Redmondmag, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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