Windows 10 updates: What IT admins need to know

Windows 10 updates: What IT admins need to know

Whenever Microsoft rolled out updates to its Windows operating system (OS), implementing them across your entire organization was quite a chore for IT administrators. They had to consider the capacity of their machines, see if they could implement all the updates at once or do it in a staggered or piecemeal fashion, and train people to adopt new methods, if any.

However, with Microsoft implementing Windows as a service, the firm is taking away some control from users to limit the number of OS configuration variations available in the market and thereafter provide ample technical support to those few variations.

While receiving greater support from Microsoft is good in the long run, it looks like organizations that use Windows 10 will have a lot of adjusting to do in the meantime. Let’s take a look at what your IT admins need to be aware of.

A lot of the updates for Windows 10 are done automatically in the background

Updates are classified into two major types: feature updates and quality updates. Formerly known as version upgrades, feature updates contain a few gigabytes worth of new features and are delivered twice a year. Quality updates, on the other hand, offer no new features but instead contain patches and fixes for ensuring performance reliability and data security.

Official reliability and security updates are installed automatically, while not-yet-official updates are previews that can be installed optionally. The optional updates are cumulative and — if you haven’t uploaded these already — are installed automatically in their entirety once they become official. In other words, you can’t be selective and reject particular items — you’ll be completely up to date once the official update is delivered.

Updates that don’t fall under feature and quality updates are provided separately. These include:

  • Definition updates for Windows Defender
  • Security updates for Adobe Flash Player
  • Hardware driver and firmware updates (bug fixes that address PC instability issues)
  • Servicing stack updates (bug fixes for the Windows 10 program that scans and processes updates)

Some of these may be installed at your discretion, though for the sake of convenience and security, it is highly advised that you enable automatic Windows updates for these.

Update delivery in Windows 10 is simpler now

Both feature and quality updates are delivered to home users and small business accounts via Windows Updates, while larger enterprises often use an internal update management solution such as Windows Server Update Services to deploy updates across its fleet of computers.

As previously mentioned, feature updates are delivered twice a year and may take weeks or even months to roll out across all Windows 10 users. Cumulative quality updates, on the other hand, are provided every second Tuesday of each month (officially dubbed Update Tuesday by Microsoft), though critical updates may be delivered anytime as a response to a Windows security flaw that’s being exploited.

Wait…will the automatic updates interfere with work?

Not necessarily. Under Settings, go to the Windows Update page and specify Active Hours to block up to 18 continuous hours of time when you don’t want to be notified by updates. However, this will only work if your machine is still turned on during inactive hours.

Keeping your OS up to date is crucial to maintain data security and operational efficiency. To tackle the complexities and hassle of Windows 10 updates, approach our experts at XBASE Technologies. Our Exponentially Better™ IT services will ensure that you get the perks of technology while helping you avoid its pitfalls.