On the Lambda

Programming, Technology, and Systems Administration

On the Lambda

Can we please get annual update rollups from Microsoft?

November 26th, 2012 · No Comments · Windows

One of the more tedious things we have to do in IT from time to time is apply Windows Updates to a fresh machine. Depending on your process and connection, it can literally take days to get a blank machine up to speed. Most of us have things in place to reduce that time, and we don’t have to babysit a machine through the entire process, but it would be nice to be able to reduce the turn-around time and complexity of preparing the new machine.

I think that Microsoft could create a lot of good will in the IT community by offering annual update rollups. Each January, take all of the security or critical updates released since the last service pack and put them into a single downloadable package. The package should be smart enough such that the new process for setting up a fresh computer is to apply the latest service pack (likely already part of the OS install), apply the latest update roll-up, and apply only the new patches released this year. I would use such a package even with machines that are relatively current.

I think part of the reason this has not been done in the past is the complexity. Do you include Office updates? What version of Internet Explorer? Media Player? Either the number of different packages gets very large and complicated, or the size of the package itself becomes unwieldy. Also, traditionally Microsoft has tied support longevity of an operating system to this kind of packaged update, though this is easy to address by specifically excluding these annual updates in the documentation that talks about the product life-cycle.

On the other hand, the benefits to consumers and IT staff are obvious, and I think there are some additional benefits for Microsoft itself that may address some of the challenges. What if Microsoft only supported the latest Internet Explorer, Media Center, and Office in the update rollups? What if there were a simple switch that allowed the package to update to the latest Internet Explorer and Media Center, so that it could apply those updates? This would be an easy way for Microsoft to help consumers and IT departments stay up to date on these products. It would do a lot towards pushing users from IE8 to IE9 and 10, for example. It would help reduce the fragmentation of their products and encourage users to upgrade to the latest and greatest, especially IT departments which tend to otherwise lag behind. This is the point that I think would justify the engineering resources from Microsoft’s perspective.

Unfortunately, at the moment I’m still just dreaming.



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