Here’s an interesting tidbit of information, courtesy of Forbes magazine. That story references a December 10 Windows Insider Program blog post. It’s from Michael Fortin, MS CVP for Windows, entitled “Windows monthly security and quality updates overview.” In that memo, Fortin identifies update release labels: B, C, and D. The B release comes in the second week of the month: it’s the usual Patch Tuesday stuff. Likewise, C and D releases to WU come in weeks 3 and 4, respectively. Thankfully, Fortin describes C and D releases clearly. “These are preview releases, primarily for commercial customers and advanced users ‘seeking’ updates.” Thus, my post title that late-month WU items equal update previews. Like I said: interesting, eh?
Knowing recent Patch Tuesday dates are 11/13 and 12/11, it’s easy to tell that several updates shown here may qualify as “previews.” One 12/6 item even says “Preview.”
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What Late-Month WU Items Equal Update Previews Really Means
In addition, the afore-cited blog post explains further about C and D releases:
These updates have only non-security fixes. The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release. Advanced users can access the “C” and “D” releases by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and clicking the “Check for updates” box. The “D” release has proven popular for those “seeking” to validate the non-security content of the next “B” release.
OK, then. What does this really mean for run-of-the-mill users? Admins working on test/staging PCs? For one, ordinary users should “wait for WU updates.” Jumping early means installing preview level update code. For others — namely, admins, power users, and insiders — this is stuff for which advanced access is helpful. In fact, this goes double if you’re trying to create canonical images for your next upcoming, scheduled in-house update cycle.
If you want to play the WU game well, it helps to know the rules. Though they come as a bit of a surprise, I’m still grateful to Mr. Fortin and MS for clarifying things somewhat.