Remember when Microsoft’s disastrous Windows 10 October Update removed entire user folders like documents and photos? Or the Surface Book 2 owners who had their systems rendered useless from update KB4467682? This happened because users were manually checking for updates and not waiting for the update to get automatically triggered. Why is this a big deal? Because the average Windows user believes that’s a safe way to get their system updates as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite, and Microsoft’s Corporate President for Windows has admitted it in a recent blog post.
First a brief explainer on the release cadence of Windows Updates. Each month Microsoft releases three batches of updates. The second Tuesday of each month (also known as “Patch Tuesday”) is a quality update that includes security and non-security fixes. Microsoft labels these as “B” releases.
However, Microsoft also issues optional updates during the third and fourth weeks of each month. These are known as “C” and “D” releases. Here’s Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President, Windows, to explain those for you:
“These are preview releases, primarily for commercial customers and advanced users “seeking” updates. These updates have only non-security fixes. The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release. Advanced users can access the “C” and “D” releases by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and clicking the “Check for updates” box.”
I wonder how many of the 700 million Windows 10 users don’t realize they are potential “seekers,” which effectively translates to beta-testers. Certainly those folks who tried to get the latest updates for their PCs by manually initiating the process, only to have documents wiped out of existence or flagship Microsoft laptops broken didn’t realize it.