Microsoft announced this week that .NET Core updates will be offered via Microsoft Updates on Windows as of December 2020.
The terminology may be confusing, especially to home users who may only know about Windows Updates. The main difference between Windows Updates and Microsoft Updates is that the latter includes updates for other Microsoft products.
You may know that you can enable an option in Windows Update on your Windows system to get updates for other products via the operating system's automatic updating function.
On Windows 10, you open the Settings app, go to Update & Security > Advanced Options, and check the "Receive updates for other Microsoft products when you update Windows" option on the page that opens. If you want to stop receiving those updates, toggle the option to off instead.
Microsoft points out that the change gives organizations more control over the updating process, as .NET Core updates may be installed via Microsoft Update / Windows Update once it lands. It is completely optional.
Up until now, .NET Core updates were not made available via Microsoft Update because of customer concerns that updates could break functionality. The concern was based on .NET Framework updates, e.g. from 4.5 to 4.8 though as these updates are installed in-place and not side-by-side.
Updates for .NET Core are installed side-by-side for the most part. The only exception are monthly servicing updates as these replace previous monthly servicing updates.
Here are the details on the change:
Administrators may block .NET Core updates from being offered via Microsoft Update. Admins need to approve .NET Core product entries before these become available in managed deployment environments such as WSUS. If the product entries are not approved, no updates will be offered.
Microsoft published a set of Registry keys to block certain or all .NET Core updates outright. The keys work on managed and unmanaged devices.
|.NET Core Version||Registry Key||Name||Value|
|Block all .NET Core updates||[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NET]||“BlockMU”||dword:00000001|
|Block .NET 5.0 updates||[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NET\5.0]||“BlockMU”||dword:00000001|
|Block Core 3.1 updates||[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NET\3.1]||“BlockMU”||dword:00000001|
|Block Core 2.1 updates||[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NET\2.1]||“BlockMU”||dword:00000001|
You can use the following Registry files to apply the changes to the system you run them on. Just download the following archive and extract it on your system: block-net-core-updates
You find four Registry files in the archive that block 1) all .NET Core updates, b) .NET Core 5.0 updates, c) .NET Core 3.1 updates, and d) .NET Core 2.1 updates on the device.
Check out Microsoft's detailed post on the change for additional details.
Windows home users who don't want .NET Core updates delivered via Microsoft Update need to either apply the Registry values or disable Microsoft Update on the system. Most home users may want these updates to be installed automatically though to stay up to date.
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