What’s next for Windows 10 and Windows Server quality updates
Published Aug 16 2018 10:45 AM 85.8K Views

Today I’m excited to share that we’ll be bringing a new design for quality updates to the next major versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server, coming later this year. This design creates a compact update package for easier and faster deployment.

Windows 10 quality updates are cumulative, containing all previously released fixes to ensure consistency and simplicity, and are released monthly. As Mike Benson noted in his post last month on “Windows 10 quality updates explained & the end of delta updates,” we are continuing to work to reduce the impact of cumulative update sizes and reduce complexity for IT administrators. That is why, beginning February 12, 2019, Microsoft will end its practice of creating delta updates for all versions of Windows 10.

For down-level supported versions of Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to provide express updates in addition to a full update (also referred to as a latest cumulative update, or LCU) each month. Starting with the next major version of Windows 10 and Windows Server; however, there will be only one quality update type—and it will be smaller in size, redistributable, and simpler to manage. This new, single update approach offers benefits over the three existing update types (full, delta, and express):

  • Organizations that get full updates from Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or from the Microsoft Update Catalog will seamlessly save network bandwidth thanks to the smaller size of the update.
  • Organizations that have been using delta updates to manage the size of quality updates will no longer have to monitor the update status and history of their devices to determine which devices are eligible for delta updates.
  • Since this new quality update package will be redistributable, organizations that utilize express updates via WSUS, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), or a third-party management solution that supports express updates will experience enormous savings in network bandwidth and cache size on their distribution points or update servers. In addition, devices with the next major version of Windows 10 will be 40% more efficient* while updating since there will be no behind-the-scenes computing of the optimal differentials required to download express updates.

*40% improvement in device memory utilization as compared to Express updates (Reference set measurement)



**Express update size as depicted is the best-case scenario with the assumption that the device stays up-to-date each month.

Quality updates packaged using this new design will be distributed over Windows Update (WU) and WSUS in a cabinet (.cab) file and available as downloadable Update Standalone Installer (.msu) files from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Devices managed by Microsoft Intune, and third-party mobile device management (MDM) solutions, as well as on-premises management solutions that get updates from WSUS or the Microsoft Update Catalog, will all have access to this new quality update design.

Microsoft will use the same update package design to deliver quality updates to devices connected directly to Windows Update. Today, if these devices are running a currently supported version of Windows 10, they receive applicable quality updates as full updates (LCU) with feature updates and successive monthly quality updates using express updates. Devices connected directly to Windows Update that are running the next major version of Windows 10 (and future versions) will benefit from the new small update size whether they are installing applicable quality updates with a feature update or installing a monthly quality update at any time.

This change in approach applies to all monthly quality update releases, i.e. “B” releases, out-of-band releases, and “C” and “D” releases. If you want to learn more about monthly quality update releases, see John Wilcox’s post on the Windows 10 update servicing cadence.

For more information on optimizing update bandwidth, see Optimize Windows 10 update delivery. To learn more about Windows as a service, visit the Windows as a service page on the Windows IT Pro Center.


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