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  1. #1
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    How Microsoft plans to release Win10 updates




    FIELD NOTES

    How Microsoft plans to release Win10 updates


    By Tracey Capen

    Here's how to find the latest edition of the Windows Secrets Ultimate Utility List on our site. Also: More information on Win10 updating and some interesting news on the security services, OpenDNS.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/field-notes/how-microsoft-plans-to-release-win10-updates/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2015-07-01 at 18:05.

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    Regarding the suggestion about putting smileys in your back window to say "thank you" to the driver of the car behind you, in South Africa we accomplish that by switching on our emergency flashers for two flashes (no more). You usually get two flashes in return - "It was a pleasure!" All very informal, but it does contribute to good road manners.

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    I'm a bit confused about the OpenDNS story. It mentions Cisco and Oracle as having bought OpenDNS but I thought Cisco and Oracle were separate companies. Can someone clarify?

    Thanks!

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    From the OpenDNS web site at https://blog.opendns.com/2015/06/30/...quire-opendns/ it appears that Cisco, not Oracle, is wanting to buy them.

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    Concerning MS intention to dictate updates. I thought that could be blocked by a well behaved firewall. I hope so. Surely there will soon be a list of microsoft download sites, which can be blocked. If not, there will be a ready market for hacks and programs, some of which will be dubious.
    Controlling updates myself is vital. I have been locked out of my own computer more than once because of an update. Each updates time needs a tedious full system backup first, and I cannot do that if the patching is unpredictable and out of control.

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    On OpenDNS, yes, it seems a typo crept into the title and was repeated in the article. The Oracle example was confused with Cisco.

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    That's what I figured but thought I would check in case I had missed something.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ILowe View Post
    Concerning MS intention to dictate updates. I thought that could be blocked by a well behaved firewall. I hope so. Surely there will soon be a list of microsoft download sites, which can be blocked. If not, there will be a ready market for hacks and programs, some of which will be dubious.
    Controlling updates myself is vital. I have been locked out of my own computer more than once because of an update. Each updates time needs a tedious full system backup first, and I cannot do that if the patching is unpredictable and out of control.
    Absolutely not!

    No third-party site will be allowed to interfere with MS Updates in Windows 10, and third parties are already forbidden from hosting MS Updates downloads. Windows 10 will be more difficult than ever to hack regarding updating, and no Comsumer Track edition (Home or Pro) will be able to defer any updates longer than about a day. Less for Home Editions. See my comment below. [#9]

    One example of how hacking updates will be more difficult:

    Reportedly, when patches are applied to Windows 10, they modify the Recovery Base Image on most devices. This means that even a OEM Reset will not remove any updates which have been successfully applied. Not even bad updates can be removed from the Recovery Image on these systems. That alone is very troubling to me.

    [My ASUS Transformer Book t100ta is such a device.]

    So let's suppose I was able to get the jump on MS Streaming Updates, and I have a System Image Backup from before the errant update was applied to the Base Image for my device. I roll back using my backup/recovery software. But as soon as I connect to the Internet, MS Updates automatically downloads and installs all the missing updates, even the bad one(s). So I end up right back where I started -- with an unbootable device and no way to roll it back.

    Brilliant thing, foresight is. Except when it is entirely absent.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2015-07-03 at 17:48.
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    Windows 10 Updating -- Still Very Unclear

    The information in the video is in direct contradiction to Mary Jo Foley's articles:

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/piecing...or-windows-10/

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-h...usiness-users/

    Users who upgrade stand alone versions of Windows (any version) to Windows 10 Pro and who are not subscribing to the Current Track for Business (with the Business branch of Windows Updates, not available without a Business Domain Server) will get stuck on the Current Branch (for Consumers), regardless of whether we opt for the Home or the Pro editions or upgrades. All free upgrades for consumers will be on the Current Branch for Consumers. Pro makes absolutely no difference in this updating branch. System Builder OEM-PUL licenses will be treated no differently from the Current Branch for Consumers.

    Current Branch for Consumers updates cannot be deferred more than about a half-day, or until the next Windows reboot.

    Current Branch for Business Track can only delay security patch deployment for 24 hours.

    The numbers in the in the Windows Secrets article and on the video do not make any sense when compared with Mary Jo Foley's diagrams, tables and texts.

    Where does this new information come from? Who or what was the original source of the allegedly official Microsoft information cited in the Windows Secrets article? Whom are we to believe this week??
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2015-07-03 at 17:54.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    The information in the video is in direct contradiction to Mary Jo Foley's articles:

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/piecing...or-windows-10/

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-h...usiness-users/
    How is it contradictory?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Users who upgrade stand alone versions of Windows (any version) to Windows 10 Pro and who are not subscribing to the Current Track for Business (with the Business branch of Windows Updates, not available without a Business Domain Server) will get stuck on the Current Branch (for Consumers), regardless of whether we opt for the Home or the Pro editions or upgrades. All free upgrades for consumers will be on the Current Branch for Consumers. Pro makes absolutely no difference in this updating branch.
    I think this is wrong. I don't think Windows Update for Business requires a server. Why do you think it does?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Current Branch for Consumers updates cannot be deferred more than about a half-day, or until the next Windows reboot.
    Where did you get "half-day"?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Current Branch for Business Track can only delay security patch deployment for 24 hours.
    Isn't it enough that we have Rings and Branches without you introducing Tracks?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    The numbers in the in the Windows Secrets article and on the video do not make any sense when compared with Mary Jo Foley's diagrams, tables and texts.
    In what way? She doesn't have any tables in the two articles you linked.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Where does this new information come from? Who or what was the original source of the allegedly official Microsoft information cited in the Windows Secrets article? Whom are we to believe this week??
    I'm not sure if this is actually the same video referred to in the Windows Secrets article, but it's officially from Microsoft and supports all of the same points and number diagrams:

    Windows as a Service: What does it mean for your business?


    I also find the Wikipedia chart of Editions, Branches and Update methods to be a useful overview: Windows 10 Update and Support Branches

  13. #11
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    In response to the detailed post by BruceR:

    I can't address all of your points, as I haven't actually installed and used Windows 10 in any form. How exactly updating will really work is terribly unclear to me, and I don't find much solace in the video referenced in this Windows secrets Newsletter article.

    As to some of your points:

    I think this is wrong. I don't think Windows Update for Business requires a server. Why do you think it does?
    Just who will be eligible for the Microsoft Updates for Business service is not clear to me, so I won't try to justify what I posted above, except to refer to this post:

    Current Branch for Business…

    …enterprises will be able to receive feature updates after their quality and application compatibility has been assessed in the consumer market, while continuing to receive security updates on a regular basis. This gives IT departments’ time to start validating updates in their environments the day changes are shipped broadly to consumers, or in some cases earlier, if they have users enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. By the time Current branch for Business machines are updated, the changes will have been validated by millions of Insiders, consumers and customers’ internal test processes for several months, allowing updates to be deployed with this increased assurance of validation. Enterprises will be able to decide if they want to receive updates automatically via Windows Update, or via WSUS to have control through management tools over how the updates are distributed in their environments.
    http://windowsitpro.com/windows-10/m...ing-windows-10

    This does not sound like you can have CBB with updates deferrrals without WSUS (or some sort of Business Domain). WSUS is the present business server method of updating. Not available without a business domain. I don't know what in Hell Windows Update for Business will be. Neither does Wikipedia, judging from the lack of any links in their article to explain this updates mechanism. Maybe it's vaporware which will never really be delivered?

    "Current Branch for Consumers updates cannot be deferred more than about a half-day, or until the next Windows reboot."
    "Where did you get 'half-day'?"
    The updates deferral numbers are for Current Branch (consumer) and Current Branch for Business are posted here:

    Current branch Windows 10 users won't have much ability to defer updates. Windows 10 Home edition users can at best defer updates for a "couple of hours," while Windows 10 Pro edition users will have the ability to defer updates "for up to 24 hours," according to a Microsoft MVP, answering a question in this Microsoft community forum page.
    https://redmondmag.com/articles/2015...indows-10.aspx

    Microsoft community forum page (referenced in the quote):

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...6-649a6f2d8fb5

    So it's actually worse than I stated in my post. It isn't clear to me that the Pro Edition time referenced above is for Current Branch for Business, using the Microsoft Updates for Business updating service.

    The tables I saw included an image in this article:
    https://mcpmag.com/articles/2015/06/...h-options.aspx

    and the Upgrade Matrix illustration in this post:
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/i...4-45f4b7ed2fb9

    (This post also has several other useful illustrations about upgrade paths and servicing branches. Not much on who gets to defer updates, which updates can be deferred or for how long.)

    Sorry about concatenating those with Mary Jo Foley's posts.

    Enterprise customers have the most flexibility and home users have the least – BUT everyone gets security updates.
    http://www.windows10update.com/windo...vice-branches/

    Here is what Terry Myerson had to say:

    We understand that businesses require choice in how updates are delivered, and at what pace. So as I discussed on September 30th, with Windows 10, businesses will be able to pick the speed of innovation that is right for each group of their users, rather than rely on a one size fits all solution.

    Business customers will be able to opt-in to the fast-moving consumer update pace, or lock-down mission critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems. And businesses will have an additional option for systems that aren’t mission critical, but need to keep pace with the latest innovations while having the benefit to install updates after they have been tested in the broad market. And the choice isn’t one or the other for businesses; we expect that most corporations will require a mix of these options to accommodate their business scenarios. Take for example an investment bank, where mission critical systems on the trading floor receive only security updates, whereas mobile devices for financial advisors are kept up to date with the latest feature innovations – enabling the appropriate pace of updates for each device.
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/i...4-45f4b7ed2fb9

    Clear as mud. Typical of Microsoft's pre-release "explanations" of just about anything since the Windows 8 rollout.

    I'm not sure if this is actually the same video referred to in the Windows Secrets article, but it's officially from Microsoft and supports all of the same points and number diagrams:
    It looks like a different video. I wish Windows Secrets had posted a reference to this video rather than the one which was actually referenced in this WSN article. It does make things look a bit clearer.

    The Wikipedia tables are much more clear than the ones I've seen elsewhere. But the data are inferred from the same Terry Myerson speech which contained all the Biz-Speak babble I posted here, which even an astrologer would have a hard time redacting to a precise set of tables.

    I still want to know:

    If Microsoft botches a patch for Windows 10 (ANY Patch) what recourse do users have to restore their systems to their previous functional states? Or to prevent the damage by hiding the botched patches, as we can do now?


    I don't recall where I read this, but I have information that at least on some Windows 10 systems, applying an update modifies the Base Image (the one used to Reset to OEM conditions) so that the update becomes a permanent part of that Image. If this is true, there is no way to roll back a bad patch through any Windows recovery options, is there?
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2015-07-05 at 04:52.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    I don't know what in Hell Windows Update for Business will be. Neither does Wikipedia, judging from the lack of any links in their article to explain this updates mechanism. Maybe it's vaporware which will never really be delivered?
    I agree that there are hardly any details available yet about Windows Update for Business. I was basing my opinion that it probably won't require a server on this quote:

    Windows Update for Business is FREE for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices.
    It’s part of our intelligent cloud – we will update and maintain Windows devices for you, while still giving you control.

    Announcing Windows Update for Business

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    I agree that there are hardly any details available yet about Windows Update for Business. I was basing my opinion that it probably won't require a server on this quote:

    Windows Update for Business is FREE for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices.
    It’s part of our intelligent cloud – we will update and maintain Windows devices for you, while still giving you control.

    Announcing Windows Update for Business
    Yeah, that makes it clear that there is no additional cost to the new update option for businesses.

    What is not clear, is how to sign up for the Current Branch for Business and the Business updates scheme, instead of the conventional Windows Updates (consumer branch) option. I guess we'll just have to wait awhile to find out those details.

    I want to restate my open questions to which I still do not think I've found any definitive answers.

    The key questions in my mind are:

    1) Who gets to upgrade to which versions of Widnows 10? We have answered that question. But who gets to sign up for which Servicing Branch, and how do we sign up for a Branch which is not the default Branch for our Windows 10 version? How will we get to make our choice of updating by the Consumer type or by the Business type of updates mechanisms? And does it really make any difference, in terms of whether and for how long we can defer MS Updates?

    Sub-Question: What does defer mean? Can we still choose to Notify but Not Download all MS updates, even critical security updates? If so, for how long can we not download? Can we select specific updates and permanently Hide them, as we can now? Including any botched critical or security updates?

    2) When (not if) Microsoft seriously botches a critical or security update (causing some users Blue Screens, endless reboots or totally bricked devices) how will Microsoft fix these issues? Will we be able to roll back to a condition before the updates were applied, and never, NEVER have those updates installed again? Or are we at the mercy of Microsoft to find a fix and distribute it, after who knows how many weeks or months of delays? How will Microsoft compensate customers for the loss of use of their devices or PCs while Microsoft scrambles to fix its own patching mistakes?

    Until satisfactory answers to those questions are put forth in plain English at a published official web site or page, Microsoft will have a very hard time convincing me to upgrade anything to Windows 10. I have already removed Windows 8 from my Toshiba Satellite laptop over similar issues of Microsoft not being forthcoming with important deal-breaking "details" regarding key features and changes between Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8.0 Pro. I will not be putting myself through such experiences again with Windows 10.

    The alternative for me is to find Linux versions, or prebuilt Linux devices, which offer comparable features and comparable Apps access to either Windows or Android. While I abhor ChromeOS for its Cloud and browser reliance, Chromebooks are beginning to look like serious contenders. Especially as some ChromeBooks can reportedly be pretty easily converted to run some popular Linux desktop Distros. That might be my ultimate solution to Microsoft's lack of clarity about Windows 10 patching.

    In any event, we'll all see how the whole patching environment plays out over the next few months as Windows 10 is rolled out to consumers and businesses. If anyone is willing to play guinea pig or lab rat for Microsoft, we'll see who gets which arrows in their backs. When and if the coast seems reasonably clear, I may then choose to upgrade. Or not.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2015-07-05 at 13:54.
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    I honestly don't understand why anyone would want even remotely to consider upgrading to any version of Windows 10 until at least the situation regarding how updates are going to be applied has been satisfactorily addressed by Microsoft. Even the minority of users who currently rely on imaging backups to resolve issues with updates have no assurances that they will be able to restore those backups without being forced down the same update path once more by automatic installation of the faulty update the moment the backup has been restored. As for the majority who don't make backups...

    I also honestly don't understand why Microsoft has allowed the whole promotion of Windows 10 to be hijacked by the concern over loss of user control of updates. If it remains their intention to force users to install updates then they should have explained their justification for that by now, and if it's false speculation that they will do so then why the heck haven't they clarified the situation by now?

    I can only assume that either (a) if they had retained their approach of charging for upgrades then their marketing department would have picked up on the market's resistance on this point, but because so many people wanted to preview the upgrade and wouldn't have to pay for it Microsoft became blase about it because it isn't about immediate revenue, or (b) very few people actually realise yet that this is indeed a potential computer-breaking issue.
    Last edited by Tandor; 2015-07-14 at 16:20.

  17. #15
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    Or, as an alternative, Microsoft has historically had two main solutions to patches which have not worked well with some PCs or some software:

    (1) issue a KB with workarounds; or,

    (2) issue a Fixit which blocks the errant patch on affected machines.

    When and if the patch is revised or withdrawn, the Fixit can then be reversed, or the workarounds can be removed.

    Why hasn't Microsoft at least assured us that these two mechanisms might be employed when, not if, an errant automatic patch causes a major problem in some Windows installations?

    Sure, maybe a patch-blocking Fixit should be in the hands of the technicians at the local Microsoft Store, or in the hands of Microsoft Tech Support personnel and not be publicly available to just any end user, but at least Microsoft needs to take ownership of their own patching issues, which are ongoing.

    Can Microsoft really have become so arrogant that they won't even respond in their Microsoft Answers or Social forums to reports of patching issues, and possibly use these two mechanisms to (temporarily) mitigate the damages which their patches may have done?
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2015-07-16 at 15:31.
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