What are Windows 10 Service Stack Updates?

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 17, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

The following guide attempts to provide some clarification in regards to Servicing stack updates for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system (applies to Windows 7 and 8.1 as well).

You may have come across a servicing stack update (SSU) before as a system administrator or home user. The description that Microsoft provides for these updates is rather vague most of the time.

When you check KB4132650 for Windows 10 version 1709 for instance, you get "This update makes stability improvements for the Windows 10 Version 1709 servicing stack" which does not really explain a whole lot.

KB4132216 for Windows 10 version 1607 reveals additional details, however about the update but Microsoft never really explained why it releases Servicing stack updates in first place.

Answers come from Microsoft Japan Windows Technology Support in form of an article. The article is in Japanese but good old Google Translate provides some insight.

The article provides the following information:

  • What is a Service Stack Update?
  • Details and impact when applying service stack updates.
  • How to find out what the latest version of Service Stack Updates is for a particular version of Windows.
  • What to do if you get "This update can not be applied to your computer".

What is a Service Stack Update?

servicing stack update

A Service Stack Update updates Component Based Servicing (CBS) which handles the installation process for the operating system.

Cumulative updates in Windows 10 deliver only the newest versions of files or new files to the system when installed. Service Stack Updates need to be separate from the process as they are mandatory.

By installing updates, the following things may be improved:

  • Ensure that updates can be installed as they may require a specific Service Stack version.
  • Improve the reliability of the update process.
  • Improve the performance.
  • Other improvements outlined in the description of individual Service Stack Updates.

When you install a new SSU on a Windows 10 device all modules of the CBS component are updated. Windows 10 blocks the removal of Service Stack Updates on Windows machines and the only recourse that users and admins have when they run into issues after installing a new SSU is to restore an older version of the operating system.

It is quite difficult to find out which Service Stack Update is the latest for a particular version of Windows. The Japanese support team suggests two methods to find out about it:

  • Run a search on Microsoft's Support website and go through the results.
  • Set up a virtual environment and check which Service Stack Update gets installed.

Microsoft does not maintain a public list of Service Stack Updates that users and administrators could consult to find out about the latest version for a particular version of Windows.

Updates may have Service Stack Update prerequisites. If a required SSU is not installed, Windows throws the error message "This update can not be applied to your computer".

An event is written to the Windows log listing error 2149842967 as the cause. The error "translates" to "WU_E_NOT_APPLICABLE"; in other words, the update cannot be installed because a prerequisite update is missing.

Closing Words

Service Stack Updates (or Servicing Stack Updates) update only CBS components according to Microsoft. The Japanese article provides some insight into the current update process.

Now You: What is your take on these updates? (via Born)

What are Windows 10 Service Stack Updates?
Article Name
What are Windows 10 Service Stack Updates?
The following guide attempts to provide some clarification in regards to Servicing stack updates for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system (applies to Windows 7 and 8.1 as well).
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.