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This past October, we notified you that we were going to improve the Windows update history experience, particularly with regard to release notes. Our optimization efforts are complete and I'd like to take this opportunity to walk you through the changes and improvements.

KB identifiers and URL structure

One of the primary ways that many find release notes is through the use of a KB identifier (KBID). We use a unique identifier for each Windows update. Once a KBID is created, it is then used to identify the update throughout the release process, including documentation. In the older experience, the KBID was used in several different ways:

With the new experience, many of these methods are still utilized, just in different ways. For instance, the URL structure of https://support.microsoft.com/help/<KBID> is still supported, however, it will redirect to a newly formatted URL https://support.microsoft.com/<locale>/topic/<article-title><GUID>. Additionally, if a KBID appears in the title of a page, it will appear in the URL. If a KBID is not in the title, it will not appear in the URL. Types of articles where you may not find a KBID include informational articles and articles released for non-cumulative updates or specialty packages.

For those of you who are familiar with viewing web-based source code, there is still a way to locate the KBID for future reference.

  1. Right-click on the article.
  2. Select “view page source."
  3. Look for <meta name="awa-kb_id" content="#######" />
  4. The number listed as the value for “content” is the KBID.

We understand that this workaround is not ideal and are working to find a more user-friendly means of providing this ID within the article body.

Landing pages and update pages

There are two different types of articles that make up the Windows update history experience:

  • Landing/product pages
  • Update pages

Landing page and update pages for Windows 10, version 20H2 and Windows Server, version 20H2Landing page and update pages for Windows 10, version 20H2 and Windows Server, version 20H2

Landing pages

Landing/product pages supply details on the overall feature update release. These details may include information on the servicing lifecycle, known issues, troubleshooting, and related resources.

Update pages

Update pages supply information on a specific update. These updates service the operating system detailed on the landing page. On an update page, you'll find:

  • Highlights – fixes important to both consumer and commercial audiences.
  • Improvements and fixes – addressed issues in more detail specially targeted to commercial audiences.
  • Known issues with the update.
  • Information on how to get and install the update.
  • A detailed list of all files that were changed as part of the update.

File lists

Where the file list appears on the update history pagesWhere the file list appears on the update history pages

The file list can be found at the bottom of each update history page in the “How to get this update” section and enables you to track which system files were affected as part of the release. This allows you to gauge risk and impact. In prior releases, the file list was working improperly and not supplying the versioning or the architecture information for newer operating systems. With our new format, this issue is resolved and versioning is now working as expected. There are still files listed as “not applicable”, however, these are files that do not have versioning information. The files are also now organized by architecture, so it is easier to see which files belong to a specific architecture, as shown below:

03_file-list_opened.png

RSS and article sharing

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds will continue to be available for the Windows update history pages. If you are already subscribed to Windows update history RSS feeds, you will continue receiving updates and no further action is necessary. However, please note that the feature that allows the initiation of a new RSS subscription has been delayed and will be available in the next few months.

The ability to share an article via Facebook, LinkedIn, and email will be coming soon and we look forward to providing this new functionality for our customers. To make the wait worth it, here is a brief walkthrough of how it will work:

Share controls on the Windows update history pagesShare controls on the Windows update history pages

Facebook

Selecting the Facebook icon will trigger the dialog below. You can then provide a comment and select whether to post to your story or your news feed.

Sharing a Windows update history page article via FacebookSharing a Windows update history page article via Facebook

LinkedIn

To share an article on LinkedIn, select the Linked in icon, log in, and choose to share the post or send it as a private message.

Sharing a Windows update history page article via LinkedInSharing a Windows update history page article via LinkedIn

Email

The ability to share articles via email works as it has previously. You will be able to select the envelope icon and your default email client will open a new email message with a link to the content embedded in the content.

Sharing a Windows update history page article via emailSharing a Windows update history page article via email

Feedback

If you have feedback on this new experience, please feel free to reach out via the feedback options at the bottom of each article. Selecting “Yes” or “No” will provide you with a dialog to elaborate on how we are doing.

How to provide feedback on the Windows update history pagesHow to provide feedback on the Windows update history pages

We believe that these changes will make it easier for you to search for, and find, the resources you need to support and get the most out of your Windows experience. We look forward to bringing you future improvements!

7 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Hi @Christine Ahonen 

If a KBID is not in the title, it will not appear in the URL.

Why can't you just add it to the url? You've got a title and a huge guid there already. KBID isn't an overhead. But no, you make us view or parse the source. 

 

Yourapproach doesn't make sense, but you don't really bother to explain it.

 

 

 

Hold the phone.  Enough.  Don't mess with my KB numbers this is how we all "speak" in terms of patches, patch management, etc.  I noticed that the other day when I was looking at a page and had to really search for it's KB number.

Clearly this is making it easier FOR YOU but not FOR US.  You remember, us?  Your customers?  The ones you should be making happy?  If it is a KB, then it needs to have a KB IN THE URL.  Period.

If you have a KB number, put it in the URL. If you're rewriting URLs anyway, you can come up with a scheme to include the KB. Consider Amazon's URL format (disclosure - this is to a book I co-wrote).

 

I can use any 10-digit ISBN number and look for it on Amazon using the form amazon.com/dp/<ISBN-10>. So if I type in amazon.com/dp/0135561086 it will rewrite to https://www.amazon.com/SQL-Server-2019-Administration-Inside/dp/0135561086/.

 

Note how the URL contains the ISBN number at the end of the rewritten URL, which is analogous to the KB number.

 

Don't remove the KB number from the URL. If you can put a GUID at the end, you can also include the KB number.

Regular Visitor

However, please note that the feature that allows the initiation of a new RSS subscription has been delayed and will be available in the next few months.

But facebook sharing was important to get through? :lol:

RSS is the ideal way to follow an update list like this, it's basically the perfect use case for RSS. Please get the easy-to-find links on the page as soon as possible.

For those of you who are familiar with viewing web-based source code, there is still a way to locate the KBID for future reference.

  1. Right-click on the article.
  2. Select “view page source."
  3. Look for <meta name="awa-kb_id" content="#######" />
  4. The number listed as the value for “content” is the KBID.

Wait what? Please consider a user-friendly and commonly understandable way.

 

There is DELL / Citrix / Commvault / Sophos everybody is using KBs in their URLs, what is the benefit of this change?

Occasional Visitor

Please have the KB number as a search option in the title. Listing the updates as you have in the past has been instrumental for me in assisting both myself and my (and also your) customers. I do not believe this new change will make it easier for end users or the tech community to find these updates. If you are trying to make it better for your customers, I do not believe "This is the way".  Thank you.

Occasional Visitor

When tackling updates, it's very common for me to just type support.microsoft.com/help/kb###### into the address bar. This is a *terrible* change, and I fail to see the benefit of it in any way.

 

Please reconsider/revert the change.