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MS Starts Providing Update Details for Windows 10

Sure, there’s a lot that’s new about Windows 10, and there have been a lot of changes introduced with the new OS. While some are positive, and some negative, nearly everyone has been unhappy about the lack of information on Windows Updates that MS has provided since Windows 10 went into full rotation in July 2015. Until yesterday, the most anyone could get out of MS about updates was boilerplate language along the lines of “Changes made to add stability…,”quality improvements, security fixes, and so forth.

Starting with the latest “Patch Tuesday” (2/9/16), MS has introduced a new Web page entitled “Windows 10 Update History,” that goes back to the old changelog approach of documenting new updates. Not coincidentally, yesterday’s updates also included a new Cumulative Update — namely, KB3135173. Here’s what that page has to say about it, as an illustration of the kind of information once again being made available:

February 9, 2016 — KB3135173 (brings system to 10586.104)

This update includes quality improvements and security fixes. No new operating system features are being introduced this month. Key changes in this update include:

  • Improved installation time of updates.

  • Fixed issue with Microsoft Edge browser caching visited URLs while using InPrivate browsing.

  • Improved Silverlight performance.

  • Fixed issue that didn’t allow a Windows 10 PC to remotely configure a server.

  • Fixed issue with pictures and tables not displaying in Windows Journal.

  • Fixed security issues that could allow remote code execution when malware is run on a target system.

  • Fixed security issues in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 that could allow code from a malicious website to be installed and run on a device.

  • Fixed additional issues with Input Method Editors (IMEs), Direct Access, assigned access, peripheral device detection, barcode scanning, Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, and scripting.

  • Fixed additional security issues with .NET Framework, PDF library, Windows Journal, kernel-mode drivers, Remote Desktop, and WebDAV.

For more info about the security fixes in this update and a complete list of affected files, see KB3135174.

For an audience that’s been half-frustrated, and half-appalled with the lack of information about Windows Updates for Windows 10 until now, this comes as very welcome relief. I must say I liked it better when you could simply click on entries in the Update History on a specific PC and get this kind of information, but the new approach is much, much better than the total lack of detail provided up until now. For the incurably curious, the information available within Update History remains pretty generic, though. Here’s the “detail” provided for the foregoing KB3135174 therein:

A security issue has been identified in a Microsoft software product that could affect your system. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. For a complete listing of the issues that are included in this update, see the associated Microsoft Knowledge Base article. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system.

My best guess as to why MS has made this change, and introduced the Web page instead of returning to detail in Update History is that with multiple release branches now in place, it’s easier for them to manage all the data online. They don’t have to package that information for distribution with the updates any more, either.