Microsoft reveals how it validates updates before release
Microsoft promised in November 2018 that it would make an effort to improve update transparency and quality. The company went through a streak of bad updates that caused all kinds of issues on Windows devices.
Tip: check out our overview of the latest Windows updates and services packs here.
Microsoft, for example, pulled the October 2018 Update for Windows 10 after reports of data loss and other issues emerged. These issues did not affect all users or even the majority, but it was reason enough to pause the update for about six weeks to sort things out.
Michael Fortin, Windows Corporate Vice President, published "Windows monthly security and quality updates overview" on the Windows Experience blog on December 10, 2018 as part of the Windows approach to quality series.
Fortin explains that Microsoft is updating up to 1000 devices per second during peak time, and that the company's infrastructure and systems support a rapid distribution of security updates and other updates to hundreds of millions of devices.
Update quality is critical according to Fortin considering the "important of the security and other fixes" that Microsoft releases each regularly at scale.
Every day we build and package the latest fixes, and our engineers test and validate the fixes through a combination of [..] activities.
He lists the following activities in the article:
- Pre-release Validation Program: validates updates before they are made available to "in-market customers". Microsoft aims to catch issues with updates as early as possible.
- Depth Test Pass: automated and manual tests that analyze code change areas to ensure that issues have been fixed and that fixes don't introduce new issues.
- Monthly Test Pass: runs updates on tens of thousands of "diverse devices" to "ensure application and hardware compatibility.
- Windows Insider Program: non-security updates delivered to the Release Preview Ring to get feedback and collect diagnostic data.
- Security Update Validation Program: invitation-only program for "large commercial customers and ISVs" to validate security fixes and identify issues early on.
- Cross-product compatibility tests with other Microsoft teams, e.g. Azure, Office, and SQL Server.
- Live Site Validation Testing: validation that releases are available on Windows Update and successfully downloaded and install on devices running Windows.
- Customer support monitoring.
- Social media and forum monitoring.
Microsoft did not catch the October 2018 Update issues even with all these systems and programs in place. While it is certainly an impossible task to catch all bugs prior to release, it is certainly possible to reduce the number of critical issues but that would require adjustments to the pre-release testing process.
Now You: How was your updating experience this year? (via Deskmodder)Advertisement