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MS Explains "August updates" for Windows 8.1 and more

Yesterday, MS Senior MarComm Manager Brandon LeBlanc posted some interesting info about the upcoming updates to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 scheduled for August 12 (next week) over on Blogging Windows. In a post entitled “August updates for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2” he revealed a new approach to making functionality and UI changes to the latest Windows versions — namely, exchanging the practice of “waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update” (a la Service Packs for older Windows versions, or Windows 8.1 Update 1 released in April 2014) for a practice of “us[ing] our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of ‘Update Tuesday.’ …despite rumors and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 ‘Update 2′” [emphasis mine, because I plan to write further about both bolded elements in the paragraphs that follow].


Lots of interesting tidbits about future Windows updates in this recent Blogging Windows post.

Here’s what’s interesting to me about this post, to my way of observing and thinking:

  • Looks like there’s a change of terminology regarding the regular “second Tuesday of the month” for pushing Microsoft updates: the traditional term for this until now has been “Patch Tuesday,” but now it looks like MS is seeking to use the more all-embracing term “Update Tuesday” instead.
  • Also looks like functionality and UI updates will start flowing out on a more-or-less constant basis henceforth. This helps to get those changes into user’s hands faster, to be sure, but I can see it creating headaches on several fronts: it means constant compatibility testing for enterprises that seek to avoid being (unpleasantly) surprised by changes of any kind, and it also means that documenting, teaching, and testing individuals who work with the Windows UI and its tools and utilities (I’m thinking certifications here as well as books, how-tos, help files, and more) gets even more tricky than it already is.
  • If indeed there is some bundling of functionality updates emerging next Tuesday, to reflect changes and additions since April 2014, MS is choosing not to acknowledge this, and is opting instead to simply identify it as one of an upcoming and regular series of such changes and additions to Windows going forward on an as-they-come basis from now on.

All in all, it looks like we’re moving to a constant update cadence for Windows now, for good and/or for ill. This should be an interesting situation to watch, learn from, and get used to. I’m sure nobody understands all the implications just yet, but we’ll be figuring it out as it moves along in the months and years ahead. Get ready!

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