Microsoft today has announced a change in how enterprises can deploy updates for Surface Pro 3 tablets.
In the past, companies using software deployment products such as System Center Configuration Manager, had to pull the Surface Pro 3 updates from Windows Update like everyone else, and then stage the delivery. This new option allows those same customers to pull the updates from the Microsoft Download Center and then deploy using the command-line options available in the standards Windows Installer engine.
Windows Installer, of course, is the engine that supplies most application installation routines and has for years. This is sort of a backtrack, considering Microsoft has been steadily moving to a Click-to-Run model for most applications – Office 2013 being an example. Still, Windows Installer has been a tried-and-true method for both pre-install customization and delivering workable installations.
The Windows Installer files (MSI) will now become available at the Microsoft Download Center in the same location Microsoft stored the previous installation versions. You can find them here: Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro firmware and driver packs
Obviously, Microsoft would still prefer customers to use the Windows Update method because there are some caveats associated with using the old Windows Installer technology. Microsoft outlines those caveats as:
- It does not check power state
- It does not update touch firmware
- It does not help build a Surface image from scratch
The intent to provide the Surface Pro 3 updates as Windows Installer installations is to allow customers to deliver the updates using the applicable command-line switches, including silent mode.
Surface Pro 3 customers have already developed processes utilizing the current system, so it will be interesting to see if any of them take advantage of this new option.