Ensuring a successful Windows quality update experience
Published May 31 2022 12:30 PM 15.6K Views

Today I'd like to offer some handy tips on the best ways to test updates for compatibility with your infrastructure, applications, and managed devices. In the Windows quality updates primer, I shared a brief overview of the what, why, and when for the different Windows quality updates we deliver to keep you protected and productive. With Windows 11, new features are generating rich conversation and feedback. Our monthly Windows optional updates are just one great way to test out previews of the updates and features that will officially be released on the next Update Tuesday. I'd like to share with you my personal bookmarked resources, which offer:

  • Strategies and opportunities to test updates early
  • Venues to stay informed on the latest updates and issues
  • Tried and proven ways for you to share ideas and provide feedback

Strategies and opportunities to test updates early

There are several freely available test programs for you to join and evaluate updates before deploying them to your entire device population. These include Security Update Validation Program, Windows Insider Program for Business, and the Test Base for Microsoft 365. Here are a few basics to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Security Update Validation Program (SUVP)

Freely test application compatibility up to three weeks before new security updates are publicly released! Organizations can partner with us through the Security Update Validation Program (SUVP) to download pre-release security updates and file feedback. Test updates and get help addressing compatibility issues so that you are ready to rapidly deploy on Update Tuesday. This is a great way to share timely and specific reports regarding usability, bugs, and test results.

Windows Insider Program for Business

Another opportunity to test early and provide feedback is with Windows Insider Program for Business. Do you want to check out the upcoming non-security fixes and features that will be in next month's security patch? Or see what's in the upcoming version of Windows to validate your apps and infrastructure before it is even released? Register a small set of devices in your organization by following the guidance provided in Manage Insider Preview builds across your organization. And the best part: leveraging the Windows Insider Program for Business is supported for commercial customers. This means you can report any bugs you find pre-release in the Release Preview Channel and ideally get fixed before release.

If you're an administrator, you can manage Windows Insider Preview Builds across multiple devices in your organization using Group Policy, MDM solutions such as Microsoft Intune or Windows Server Update Services, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager Configuration Manager. See Manage Insider Preview builds across your organization for more details.

Test Base for Microsoft 365

Test Base for Microsoft 365 enables software vendors and IT professionals to validate applications prior to deploying Windows updates. As an Azure service, this automatic testing is intelligent, data-driven, and cloud-powered, occurring on secure virtual machines (VMs). Please sign up for Test Base for Microsoft 365 online or from your Microsoft Azure portal. Additionally, let us support you through our Test Base blog and the Test Base for Microsoft 365 community.

Venues to stay informed on the latest updates and issues

Knowledge is power and we are committed to bringing you the latest insights quickly. Here is a variety of communication channels that we've developed for the various needs of our diverse audiences.

Windows release health in the Microsoft 365 admin center (authenticated portal)

As an IT admin with an eligible subscription[i], you can receive all of the latest communications about updates and issues right where you manage users, passwords, and invoices – in the Microsoft 365 admin center! See How to get the best of Windows on the Microsoft 365 admin center for details on the latest capabilities and details on how to customize your notifications.

Windows release health on Docs

Keep up with all monthly update details on the all-in-one Windows release health dashboard. Browse the dashboard for quick access to the known issues, resolved issues, and release notes for all the latest Windows versions.

Release notes

Visit Windows release notes for a comprehensive review of highlights of the release content and the new features included in your updates. And if you're short on time, Windows 11 release notes now come in a short video format, too!

Support and troubleshooting

Microsoft's compatibility promise, backed by the App Assure team, ensures that your apps will work on Windows 10 or 11 when installing the latest updates. If you do encounter an app compatibility issue on Windows 10 or 11, App Assure engineers will work with you to help you resolve the issue at no additional cost. Our experts will:

  • Help you troubleshoot and identify a root cause
  • Provide guidance to help you remediate the application compatibility issue
  • Engage with third-party independent software vendors (ISVs) on your behalf to remediate some part of their app, so that it's functional on the most modern version of our products
  • Work with Microsoft product engineering teams to fix product bugs

Learn more about App Assure compatibility assistance here. To connect with App Assure, visit aka.ms/AppAssureRequest or send an email to achelp@microsoft.com to submit your request for app compatibility on Windows 10 or 11.

And yet sometimes it's just easier to ask or browse the ongoing conversations among IT pros just like you. We constantly learn and grow through direct collaboration with IT pros and hope you would join us for our regular interactive opportunities as well:

We encourage you to create a free profile on Tech Community to participate in discussions, comment on blogs, get relevant notifications and reminders, and get recognized for your valuable community contributions. A big shout-out to this week's top contributors and the member of the week spotlighted on our home page!

Stay tuned for upcoming features to help with testing

Additionally, you can always learn about the upcoming features on the Windows IT Pro Blog. Two examples we have recently announced are gradual rollouts with the Windows Update for Business deployment service and the seamless update experience for organizations using Windows Update for Business. Now more than ever, it is a great time for you to get involved in the conversation. Please leave us comments and questions on our blog posts so we can continue to provide updates on the topics of most interest to you.

If you use Twitter, follow @WindowsUpdate to stay informed about monthly quality and security updates, non-security optional preview releases, out-of-band releases, and other servicing news.

Tried and proven ways for you to share your ideas and feedback

We always want to know about your experience so we can make it better! That's why we have created several channels for you to reach out to us. Hopefully you've already seen these options throughout our website, but let me recommend the following strategies:

  • Submit feedback through Windows using Feedback Hub (Windows key + F).
  • Microsoft Support – File a support ticket on a specific issue.
  • Answer the "Was this information helpful? Yes/No" at the foot of our release notes and known issues pages. Feel free to include any desired details to help us improve communication.
  • Give us a thumbs up or thumbs down on the messages in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
  • Take our short release notes survey!

Continue the conversation. Find best practices. Visit the Windows Tech Community.

Stay informed. For the latest updates on new releases, tools, and resources, stay tuned to this blog and follow us @MSWindowsITPro on Twitter.

[1] Requires one of the following subscriptions: Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3/A3/F3, Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5/A5, Windows 10 Enterprise E3/A3, Windows 10 Enterprise E5/A5, Windows 11 Enterprise E3/A3, or Windows 11 Enterprise E5/A5.

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‎May 31 2022 04:24 PM
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