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article imageWindows 7 and 8.1 PCs will soon get updates like Windows 10

By James Walker     Aug 17, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has announced it is changing the way it releases updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. Going forward, it will use the same approach as it does for Windows 10, wrapping all security and reliability updates up into a single monthly release.
In a blog post, Microsoft said it is making the change to deliver a "more consistent and simplified" servicing experience. It wants all versions of Windows to follow the same update model so new releases are easier to manage.
From October 2016 onwards, a single Windows Monthly Rollup update will be delivered to Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 PCs each month. This will include every security patch and reliability fix developed by Microsoft in the past month. Updates will no longer be released individually or out of schedule.
The Monthly Rollups will be cumulative and will include all the updates released previously, as well as the new ones issued each month. Microsoft already follows this approach for Windows 10 but it is new to Windows 7 and 8.1 users. It means there will only ever be one update required for your PC to keep it fully patched.
Installing Windows 7 or 8.1 today leaves you waiting for hours while hundreds of individual updates install. The new model will make that a thing of the past. You'll only need to download a single cumulative package that will include all the updates previously released for your Windows version.
Windows Update is a point of frustration for many Windows users, particularly those who are still on Windows 7 and 8.1. The new model should make dealing with updates less painful. You'll have less updates to manage, will be able to predict with greater accuracy when updates will be downloaded and will find it easier to get up-to-date should you reinstall Windows or leave your PC turned off for a month while you're away.
You'll be able to fully patch your system for security and reliability after installing a single update. You'll then be able to forget about Windows Update until the next month's rollup is released. It will download in the background and then require a single restart operation to get installed. Distributing multiple patches in one package should also make Windows Update more reliable, reducing the number of possible failure points.
"By moving to a rollup model, we bring a more consistent and simplified servicing experience to Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1, so that all supported versions of Windows follow a similar update servicing model," Microsoft explained. "The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates. The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues."
Microsoft plans to gradually add already released updates to the cumulative rollup releases. When the first rollup is launched in October, it will include only the patches developed in that month. Over time, older patches issued since the release of Windows 7 and 8.1 will be added to the rollups. Eventually, you'll be able to get a Windows 7 or 8.1 device with no installed updates fully patched after downloading a single package. This is already possible on Windows 10.
The new model isn't entirely flawless though. Microsoft warns that some update types will be excluded from the update rollups, including Servicing Stack and Adobe Flash updates. The latter means your PC may still install updates to Flash outside of the monthly rollup schedule, although Flash's demise is now far enough advanced that you should consider removing it anyway. Servicing Stack updates include patches for Windows Update itself. These may need to be issued outside of the regular patch schedule.
On the whole, the Monthly Rollup should be much easier for most consumers and enterprises to manage. While it could give hackers more time to exploit discovered vulnerabilities, the approach hasn't yet worsened any security issues on Windows 10. Making Windows Update easier to use will only be positive for Microsoft. Issuing fewer update packages reduces the chance of the program getting stuck installing a dozen updates at a time, a problem that many Windows 7 and 8.1 users will be all too familiar with.
More about Microsoft, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 81, windows 10
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