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MS Backs Off Forcing Updates

The last two Win10 feature updates (1803 and 1809) have had problems. There’s been lots of grousing from business users about updates, too. Finally, Microsoft is changing its stance on pushing updates. Hooray! In a post to Windows Blogs today (April 4), Mike Fortin (Corporate VP, Windows) announced a new approach. I take from this material the idea that MS backs off forcing updates through WU. Here’s the relevant paragraph, in all its glory:

In previous Windows 10 feature update rollouts, the update installation was automatically initiated on a device once our data gave us confidence that device would have a great update experience.  Beginning with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users will be more in control of initiating the feature OS update.  We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs.  When Windows 10 devices are at, or will soon reach, end of service, Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update; keeping machines supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health.  We are adding new features that will empower users with control and transparency around when updates are installed. In fact, all customers will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they “check for updates” or to pause updates for up to 35 days.

Separate controls for Feature Updates may help those who want security and quality updates, but no upgrade yet, get what they want.
[Click image for full-sized view. Source: Fortin Blog post.]

Why Say: MS Backs Off Forcing Updates?

One single line above gets my attention. It reads: “We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs.” Two other items are also noteworthy. First, there’s a statement that “all customers” can explicitly choose to update or not. Second, they can pause updates for up to 35 days. According to Paul Thurrott, 35 days means deferring updates 7 days at a time, 5 times in a row.

What About the Next Feature Update?

It’s been renamed to the May 2019 Update in Mr. Fortin’s post. He also asserts that MS “will increase the amount of time the May 2019 Update spends in the Release Preview phase. . .” MS plans to “proactively obtain more early feedback about this release.” Good idea, especially after they skipped this step with the much-maligned 1809 Feature Update. Those in the Insider Preview/Release Preview group will get an advance look at this release starting next week. Others will be able to use “check for updates” in WU to request the new release sooner. Interestingly, customers running Windows versions at or near end of support will also get the new release pushed to them.

More Update Controls, Yes Sir!

When the new release hits it will have new and improved update controls. A new “Download and install now” option for Feature Updates will appear in versions 1803 and 1809. No doubt, that change will come through a cumulative update or a servicing stack update by late May as well. The screen cap for this blog post (clipped from the original MS post) shows what this will look like. Users will be able to use “Check for updates” without causing the Feature Update to be forced upon them. Good move, MS.

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