Windows Updates may now Expire

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 21, 2021
Windows Updates

Microsoft enabled a new update expiration policy recently for Windows updates. Updates released for Windows may be flagged as expired by the company now, and that means that these updates won't be available anymore through Windows Updates, the Microsoft Update Catalog or other release channels.

Microsoft releases regular updates, cumulative updates and feature updates for Windows regularly. Cumulative updates are released for all supported versions of Windows each month; each cumulative update includes the fixes included in its predecessor.

windows updates expired expiration notice

The title of a support page of an expired update, for example the support page for KB4540673, has EXPIRED added to it. Additionally, an "EXPIRATION NOTICE" is added to the page at the very top that explains what this means.

IMPORTANT As of 8/5/2021, this KB is no longer available from Windows Update, the Microsoft Update Catalog, or other release channels. We recommend that you update your devices to the latest security quality update.

On Windows Server Update Services, a new banner is displayed at the top that highlights if an update has expired.

Only cumulative updates will expire according to Microsoft. Security-only updates for the client and server operating systems Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 SP2 won't expire because "they are not cumulative and hold only one month worth of fixes". Microsoft notes that older packages are also not expired if a newer update package has a dependency that has not "been superseded by a newer package".

The expiration policy is beneficial to users and administrators, as it leads to "better performance, shorter scan times, a faster user experience, and reduced risk of deploying older updates which have been superseded with newer, more secure ones".

Microsoft is evaluating published packages for expiration on a regular basis. The company did not reveal the criteria for expiration, only that it is possible that some older packages are not marked as expired while newer updates for the same version of Windows are marked as expired.

Are there any downsides to expiring updates? Expired updates won't be available anymore, but if these are old enough, it should not impact anyone. Some benefits, including faster scan times, benefit many users and administrators.

On the other hand, expired updates are not offered via Windows Updates to machines, as other updates have superseded them already. Home users could download these from other sources, including Microsoft's Update Catalog website, and install those on devices manually.

Now You: what is your take on this?

Windows Updates may now Expire
Article Name
Windows Updates may now Expire
Microsoft enabled a new update expiration policy recently for Windows updates, which allows the company to mark updates as expired.
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  1. Q said on October 22, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    From the article:
    “Microsoft notes that older packages are also not expired if a newer update package has a dependency that has not ‘been superseded by a newer package’.”

    My experience with superseded updates, is that oftentimes the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles of the superseded updates disappear and the user is not informed about the updated being superseded. Before these happenings, Microsoft would have oftentimes indicated in superseded updates’ Knowledge Base articles that the updates have been superseded and provide a reference to the update that supersedes. Also, oftentimes articles and package offerings for hotfixes that were not superseded would also disappear.

  2. clas said on October 22, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    someone mentioned that KB’s should be archived….is there now a place that they are?

  3. yanta said on October 22, 2021 at 2:15 am

    So, we use wsus. Windows PCs are rebuilt yearly from a clean install from an image that is aging. (17763.1999). After the OS is installed we run a script again the PC to install all applications, including latest versions (this is the only time an application is updated), and restore use configurations. All the Windows SSUs, CUs, Office updates etc are then installed.

    Is this expiring of updates going to break this process? Or does it just mean I’ll only get offered the latest SSU/CU?

  4. owl said on October 22, 2021 at 1:43 am

    There is already a string of targeted “irony” in the Comments here, but if it were a joke, it would be laughable, but it feels true.

    I know off-topic, but…
    Since its inception, Microsoft has been developing products as a means to achieve its goals (market domination and capital strength) while destroying rival companies (mergers and acquisitions, headhunting) based on its basic strategy of “market domination” and “capital strength” based on the logic of capitalism.
    Simply put, all those products are “a means to make money” and user first is not in mind.
    Their guests of honor are capitalists and corporate users.
    Majority’s end users are nothing but objects of their exploitation.
    It is necessary to drive a wedge against the arrogance of platformers who plan to monopolize the market before their rivals perish (Whenever possible, choose alternative methods).

  5. Anonymous said on October 22, 2021 at 1:17 am

    That way they can keep destroying Windows and no one would have an option to go back to the working versions without their forced garbage. We need to start putting KBs on Internet Archive.

  6. yeah huh heah! said on October 21, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Let the binary update hoarding begin!

    You can thank me later:

  7. Anonymous said on October 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    It’s a bit like going into an Apple store and finding a host of empty shelves old model labels. Remove them and add a new web page listing would make more sense. Provide another web page and remove the confusion.
    ‘Superseded Updates’

    The way they are going, Microsoft can dedicate an entire site to printer updates!

  8. The Future Is Here said on October 21, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Your OS, programs, settings and passwords have expired. Please create a Microsoft Account immediately to be able to access your files and resume your work. Your files are encrypted and will not be accessible anymore after 2 minutes, and counting. If you do not have time now, enter your creditcard number to expand the time limit by 15 minutes. The fee is 5000 us dollars. For your safety, the webcamera is now remotely turned on and recording. Have a good day! Love, Microsoft. Would you like to receive exclusive offers from Microsoft in the future? Enter your email adress.

  9. Zzzz said on October 21, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Always put Linux in your backup plan, folks.

  10. Zzzzz said on October 21, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Another tasteless joke from M$.

  11. ULBoom said on October 21, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Those who use only the catalog for updates can download a bunch of updates, then decide when to install them based on info here and elsewhere on whether they destroy your system, which happens fairly regularly.

    If MS is referring to months old updates, probably OK. If they expire the previous month’s updates, that’s beyond stupid. If updates are expired, just obliterate them completely, what purpose could the expiration notice possibly serve? Will win update try to download them anyway?

    Then there’s the thing about making updates smaller by not doing what I’ve never understood, they already had differential updates that disappeared a few years ago.

    And, and, and…fire all your make-work people, MS.

  12. common sense computing said on October 21, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Sorry, your Windows license is expired, please renew at a low monthly or yearly rate.

    Sorry, we were unable to verify that your Windows license is valid. 24 hour check-ins, personal data scanning, and telemetry gathering are mandatory. Please unblock or reconnect to Microsoft servers to continue using your system.

  13. ? said on October 21, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    So now you need to install a bunch of KBs that come bundled in the cumulative updates instead of being able to pick and choose if you’re “too late”?

  14. Martin P. said on October 21, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Eventually, Windows could be “improved” with a “feature” that will simply make it impossible to boot it once it will have passed its official supported status…

    However, I predict a major outbreak of outrage on social media if this does happen… ;-)

    1. Mike said on October 21, 2021 at 10:54 pm

      Outrage on social media… I doubt it.

      Windows users will put up with literally anything as long as they get to play some hot new games that are nice looking while having less depth and complexity than games had 20 years ago.

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