Microsoft stopped releasing previews of updates for the company's Windows 10 operating system and other operating systems that it maintains in March. It did so because of the "public health situation" at the time and stated that it decided to pause all optional non-security releases for all supported "versions of Windows client and server products".
The change had no effect on the security-focused Patch Tuesday updates as Microsoft continued to release those for all supported systems on the second Tuesday of the month.
Microsoft resumed the publishing of optional updates for Windows Client and Windows Server this month. The company has released patches for some of the supported operating systems but not all; it is possible that the missing patches will become available at a later point in time. The preview update for Windows 10 version 2004 is missing, but that is to be expected as the optional update for the latest version of Windows 10 gets released later usually.
The preview updates that Microsoft releases in the second half of any given month are optional and fix non-security issues only. Microsoft releases the updates to gather Telemetry and bug reports to fix issues before the updates are offered as stable versions on the second Tuesday of the coming month.
Installation of these preview updates are optional and there are only a few reasons why one would want to install one of these updates.
For one, it is possible that the update fix a nasty bug that affects you significantly when you use the computer. If you cannot use certain tools or programs efficiently, or run into other issues that affect productivity, you may want to consider installing the preview updates to fix the issue. It is probably not that often that you will run into this scenario, but it is possible.
The second reason is testing. You could install the preview updates, preferably on a non-production machine, to find out if core tools continue to work on the system after installation of the updates. Granted, you could wait the two-or-so-weeks and do the same with the Patch Tuesday updates, but that could mean leaving systems unprotected against security vulnerabilities for a period of time.
There are plenty of downsides to installing preview patches as well. You are a beta tester for Microsoft if you install the patches, and these may introduce bugs of their own when installed. Some of these bugs may be unknown to Microsoft at that time, and it may take time to get these fixed.
It is best to avoid the "check for updates" button. Microsoft integrated a safeguard recently designed to block the automatic installation of preview updates and new feature updates when users hit the button, but there have been cases where this did not work as expected.
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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.