The demise of detailed info about Windows 10 Cumulative Updates

The demise of detailed info about Windows 10 Cumulative Updates

If you are holding your breath hoping that Microsoft will soon provide detailed change lists of the updates and fixes included in cumulative updates for Windows 10 then you should probably exhale.

According to the Vice President of the Windows Device Group (WDG) Engineering Systems, Gabe Aul, full change lists are not coming anytime soon.

This confirmation was provided in reply to a question he received on Twitter yesterday when asked about the WDG letting users know details of the changes in the update packages for Windows 10.

This aligns with a comment from an official spokesperson at Microsoft, which was reported by multiple outlets late last week, that confirmed only significant updates would be detailed after their release. 

Look no further for how Microsoft plans to de-emphasize these cumulative updates for Windows 10 then to the fact they only get a brief mention on Aul’s Twitter account and there is no announcement blog post published when they hit Windows Update. This is quite contrary to the detailed build posts we have seen from the team over the course of the development of Windows 10 and even with the first post Windows 10 release Insiders received last week.

The most consistent phrase you will see in these Knowledge Base articles associated with the Cumulative Updates for Windows 10 is “This update includes improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10.”

One group of users who could not care less about this new approach are your typical everyday home users. These are the folks whom expect their computer to just work when they turn it on. Just like they expect their toaster, microwave and TV to work. Flip the power switch and then do their Facebook, email and web browsing. Their focus is not on what bugs were fixed or what was added but just basic functionality.

This approach works well for them because it is a transparent aspect of their system being maintained along with the mandatory OS and app updates.

The next group of users, enthusiasts and geeks, actually want to know what has changed so they can dive in and check out the fixes and verify their system is reacting to those updates properly. If something new was added, then they want to see that as well and then will likely post images on social media to show others. Many members of this group will also blog about these changes to either praise them or rant about it.

Not getting detailed information about updates being installed on their system sets this group of folks on edge because they like to maintain full control of their software and hardware.

The final group of folks who are not fans of this lack of detail for what are considered routine updates are the IT Pros who maintain networks of systems from small to large. These networks might be of the small business variety with less than 250 systems or the vast corporate networks that not only span buildings but geographic locations around the world.

These IT Pros are expected to keep their company systems running smoothly, maintain system compatibility with any legacy software and make sure the flow of data is not disrupted. Time is money and if time has to be spent figuring out why an update may have broken things then that will never be a good situation.

In defense of Microsoft I understand that they want these updates to be routine – as routine as receiving signature updates for Windows Defender 2-3 times per day.  I even wrote about this recently and said that these Cumulative Updates need to be normalized.

Windows as a Service, WaaS, is an entirely new approach to updating and maintaining Windows and there is no doubt Microsoft wants this process to be as transparent to the enthusiasts, geeks and IT Pros as it is to those home users who view their PC’s as appliances.

However, there should be a transition period where we do see what new changes are in each cumulative update.  Each new Knowledge Base article would only need to contain the details that were new since the last CU was issued. We can be responsible for going back and keeping up with the sequence of changes.

A move like this would help Microsoft build trust amongst its biggest brand advocates, those enthusiasts, geeks and IT Pros who can be very vocal about the pros and cons of these updates. That in turn helps get the message out that these routine updates can be depended upon to not break things.

Major updates like TH2 this fall and Redstone next year will no doubt have detailed information available about them since they are considered significant updates and I expect Microsoft will treat them just like the build releases through the Windows Insider program.

However, if you are not happy with Microsoft’s new approach to the routine updates for Windows 10 there is an opportunity to make your voice heard on this by voting on a request to bring back the detailed Knowledge Base articles at the Windows User Voice website.

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