Windows 10 update servicing cadence

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 2, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

All Windows administrators and many Windows users know that Microsoft releases updates on the second Tuesday of any month for all supported operating systems.

Microsoft's John Wilcox published information about the Windows 10 update servicing cadence yesterday on the company's Tech Community website.

He shares Microsoft's guiding principles for updates for Windows 10, and provides context to help users and administrators better understand when and how updates do get released.

Update Tuesday, or Patch Tuesday, is the most important day of the month when it comes to updates. Microsoft refers to quality updates that it releases on the day as "B" releases.

The updates released on the second Tuesday of each month are "the primary and most important of all the monthly update events and are the only regular releases that include new security fixes".

Tip: Microsoft revealed what Service Stack Updates are used for recently as well.

Why Tuesday was selected by Microsoft

windows 10 update

you may have asked yourself why Microsoft releases updates on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time. The day and time was selected intentionally for two reasons:

  • To give administrators time to deal with other things on the first day of the week (Monday).
  • To give admins enough time to deal with issues that may be caused by update installations (Wednesday to Friday).

Update Tuesday was formalized in October 2003 by Microsoft. The company releases updates when they were ready prior to that month; while that pushed out updates as early as possible, it meant that administrators had to work more to test and deploy updates as they were not released on schedule.

Microsoft may release "C" or "D" releases on the third or fourth week of each month besides that. These are preview releases that contain no security updates but only non-security updates.

The main intention of these updates is to provide system administrators and home users with options to test these updates before they are made available on the upcoming month's Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft pushes out previews most commonly as "D" releases two weeks after Patch Tuesday ("B" releases" and two weeks before the coming month's Patch Tuesday.

The company may release updates for older versions of Windows 10, and for Windows 7 and 8.1, a week early as "C" releases instead to extend the test period to three weeks.

Preview releases for the most recent versions of Windows 10 may also be shifted to the "C" releases week when the release of a new feature update draws closer as fewer time for testing is required.

Microsoft may release out-of-band releases also. These updates follow no schedule and are reserved for updates that resolve issues that require immediate updating; common scenarios include patches for vulnerabilities that are widespread and exploited in the wild or fixes for issues that impact functionality or stability.

The company has three guiding principles for monthly quality update releases on Windows 10:

  • Be simple and predictable -- Updates are released on schedule (with the exception of out-of-band updates) so that administrators and users can play ahead and test releases before deployment.
  • Be agile -- provide updates quickly when required, and without compromising quality or compatibility.
  • Be transparent -- offer as much information as needed to prepare, test, and deploy updates. Provide simple release notes, servicing tools, and more.

Closing Words

It is certainly helpful that Microsoft releases updates on schedule as it allows administrators to test releases and prepare for them. Microsoft's guiding principles are noble ones but the company does not always do them justice.

It happens that Microsoft releases KB support pages after updates become available on Windows Update so that users and admins can't really find out what an update is about right away.

If you take that into account and the fact that it is difficult to block updates on Windows 10, it should not come as a surprise that third-party solution to block updates such as Windows 10 Update Switch or Windows 10 Updates Disabler have been created.

The quality of updates seems to have suffered in recent time as well.

Now You: Did you know about Update Tuesday?

Windows 10 update servicing cadence
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Windows 10 update servicing cadence
Microsoft's John Wilcox published information about the Windows 10 update servicing cadence yesterday on the company's Tech Community website.
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  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:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  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):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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