Microsoft in 2016 changed the way it rolls out updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, leaving many IT admins and users confused. Here's how to sort out what the company is doing.
It's been more than a year since Microsoft ended the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply, and instead instituted a cumulative update maintenance model for Windows 7 and its shadow-of-a-sibling, Window 8.1.
And yet some users still don't grasp the new scheme.
"There are plenty of people who don't know which kind of update they should use," Chris Geottl, product manager with client security and management vendor Ivanti, said in a recent interview. "'Which one should I do? What non-security features are included in the monthly rollup? There's still some confusion."
No wonder there.
Microsoft asked for a lot last year. It asked enterprise IT administrators to upend ingrained patching practices. It asked them to make radical changes to how they maintain Windows 7 deep into its lifecycle, when there were just three years and change remaining before retirement, a phase most admins probably thought they'd be coasting as they prepped for Windows 10. It asked customers to absorb new terminology. And it changed the rules more than once after the new process debuted.
In return, users had questions - ans still do. The top query may seem among the simplest - what's the difference between the two types of Windows 7 updates now offered - but as Computerworld found out, appearances are deceiving.
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