Understand Windows Update for Business

Q. What is Windows Update for Business?
Dept - Windows

A. When you hear Windows Update for Business it may conjure up ideas of a portal that you configure the updates you want for your business, like a WSUS in the cloud but that is not what it is. Windows Update for Business is Windows Update however with build 1511 and beyond of Windows 10 there is a new group policy that is enforced that enables a delay for the application of upgrades and another delay for the application of updates. No change on the Microsoft cloud side but rather additional control in the application of the upgrades and updates applied to your Windows 10 machines thanks to the new policy. Note this only applies to Current Branch for Business (CBB) and not the regular Current Branch.

This policy can be found at Computer Configuration - Policies - Administrative Templates - Windows Components - Windows Update. The policy is named Defer Upgrades and Updates and the upgrade can be deferred up to 8 months and updates up to 4 weeks as shown. You could create multiple GPOs with different configurations that you could apply to different rings of machines in your environment to enable staged testing and deployment. An example may be the initial pilot group may not be deferred by disabling this policy at all which means use Current Branch. For another ring who wants CBB straight away once its declared this policy would be enabled with a 0 duration metric. For the final rollout ring they may have an upgrade deferral of 4 months. The exact numbers will depend on your organizations rollout. Microsoft has an article on this setting at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt622729(v=vs.85).aspx#configure_your_systems_to_receive_updates_on_cbb.

To summarize, Windows Update for Business is really just control over deferring delivery of branches via a client-side policy. The values mean:

  • Defer Upgrades and Updates set to Disabled - Use Current Branch
  • Defer Upgrades and Updates set to Enabled with 0 for defer values- Use Current Branch for Business once declared
  • Defer Upgrades and Updates set to Enabled with additional defer values - Use Current Branch for Business once declared and the configured defer time has passed

Note if your organization is using Configuration Manager 1511 or above you would not leverage the Windows Update for Business as Configuration Manager has this functionality and more.

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