Sometimes, I feel like Microsoft's right hand does not know what the left hand does. It does not help if communication is often minimal or non-existent. Vital information are often missing, and it is up to guesswork and not facts when it comes to changes.
As you may know, Microsoft announced a major change coming to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices related to how updates are provided by the company (the same applies to Windows Server products).
The company decided to bring cumulative updates to those operating systems, much like it does for Windows 10.
This means that organizations and end users get only update packages instead of individual updates. Considering that the system did not work too well on Windows 10, it seems likely that users will be hit with issues eventually on Windows 7 or 8.1 devices as well.
Since it is no longer possible to block faulty updates, or uninstall them, all that users can do if they run into issues is to remove the whole update package. This means removing all security updates if updates were installed via Windows Update, or if a security update is causing issues.
The October 2016 patch day was the first month in which only update packages were made available.
Without rehashing what has been said already, this meant the following things:
Microsoft noted that the security-only update package would only be made available via WSUS or the company's Update Catalog. The former is only available to organizations, the latter only if you use Internet Explorer as it requires ActiveX. There is a workaround for that though.
While Microsoft was adamant about the availability of update packages -- it explicitly stated that security-only updates would only be made available via WSUS and Microsoft Update Catalog -- it turns out that downloads are still available on Microsoft's Download Center site as well.
This means that users can download the security-only updates from Microsoft's Download Center site as well.
No word on why Microsoft changed its mind and is offering the downloads directly as well. The most likely explanation -- guesswork of course -- is the Internet Explorer exclusivity of the Microsoft Update Catalog.
It could be that Microsoft decided to make direct downloads available for as long as it has not published an updated version of the Update Catalog that runs on all modern browsers.
Now You: What's your opinion on the change?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.