Deciphering (and understanding) Microsoft’s patch administration choices

Should you requested a standard person what they dislike most about Home windows 10, the reply would probably be associated to patching, rebooting and the commonly complicated replace course of. Complete web pages have sections dedicated to explaining the updating course of and handle it — and I’ve written my fair proportion in regards to the subject. 

Along with writing about Microsoft patches right here (and about Home windows safety for CSO), I’m additionally a moderator on the Patchmanagement.org listserve. We’ve many individuals who depend on numerous patching instruments to deploy updates and preserve workstations.  There are a variety of choices, so it’s vital to grasp how they work (and the way they fluctuate) so you may get probably the most out of them.

Microsoft itself has a number of:  There’s, first, the fundamental Home windows replace most shoppers and residential customers use. It permits every workstation to independently attain out to Microsoft’s replace servers for wanted patches. The benefit? It’s inbuilt, prices nothing (aside from bandwidth), and is about up from the get go. The drawback? It’s doesn’t offer you a lot management over when and the way updates obtain — and the way it behaves has modified through the years.

Microsoft additionally has a network-based patching platform. I’m sufficiently old to recollect when it was known as Software program Replace Companies (or SUS).  Initially, it concerned a separate obtain; now it’s part of Home windows Server. However through the years Microsoft has been pushing away from a website primarily based/on-premises software program supply system and transferring as a substitute towards different patching platforms equivalent to Intune  (now of Microsoft 365) and Home windows Replace for Enterprise.  That latter one seems like a standalone platform; in actuality it’s a bunch of group insurance policies or registry keys that permit you to set guidelines for when Home windows will set up updates.

The benefit for Intune is for individuals who have totally embraced the Microsoft 365 subscription mannequin.  Workstations may be managed and managed by a web based console.  Home windows Replace for Enterprise is a hybrid compromise: it provides an admin sufficient group coverage controls to let workstations apply updates however little perception into completion and points.

And let’s not neglect Home windows replace supply optimization, which builds on the standalone Home windows replace idea however permits workstations to seize bits of replace code from fellow workstations. So if workstation A downloads bit 1, and workstation B downloads bit 2, they share that code between them with out having to return to Microsoft and downloading the identical bit twice. Early on it was buggy, very buggy, and I disabled it on my dwelling community as a result of it saturated my bandwidth.  It’s significantly better  behaved now, but it surely nonetheless doesn’t have a console for reporting.

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