Microsoft is moving to cumulative updates in Windows 7, 8.1

By Shawn Knight · 25 replies
Aug 16, 2016
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  1. Microsoft has historically released patches for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on an a la carte basis, allowing users to pick and choose which they prefer to install. Come October, however, Microsoft will be doing away with this option and will instead only offer cumulative updates on these platforms, mirroring how Windows 10 users get updates.

    In a post on Microsoft’s TechNet blog, senior product marketing manager Nathan Mercer said the practice of selective updates has resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed. This, he added, leads to multiple problems.

    For example, various combinations of updates can cause sync and dependency errors, increase testing complexity for enterprises and increase scan times. What’s more, Mercer said finding and applying the right patches is challenging.

    The new monthly rollups, which will begin in October of this year, will include all of the security and reliability updates in a single package that will be published to Windows Update (WU), Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and the Microsoft Update Catalog. Each new update will supersede the previous month so there will always be just one update to grab. For example, the October 2016 update will contain all updates for October while the November 2016 update will contain fixes for both October and November and so forth.

    Mercer said that over time, Microsoft will be adding patches to its monthly rollup that have been released with the goal of eventually having all previous patches since the last “baseline” (like Service Pack 1, for example) rolled into each new monthly rollup. Microsoft got a head-start on this back in May with the release of its optional post-SP1 Windows 7 rollup.

    While a rollup model does simplify the process by giving users fewer updates to manage (a clean install, for example, can involve hundreds of individual hotfixes), Mercer skirts around the fact that not all updates are compatible with all PCs and applications. This is especially the case in business settings that may be using an older operating system in order to continue using legacy software or attached hardware that’s integral to daily operations.

    There will be two cumulative packages, one that bundles security and non-security fixes and another that’s strictly for security fixes only. Mercer says the security-only update will allow enterprises to download as small of an update as possible which is good I suppose but still not ideal for such clients.

    Another change that will certainly irk some users has to do with update documentation. Mercer notes that in order to bring “consistency,” they will only provide consolidated release notes with rollups. In other words, Microsoft won’t be as forthcoming with exactly what its patches will address which will make it more difficult to identify a rogue patch.

    Do you agree with Microsoft’s decision to shift from standalone hotfixes to cumulative patches? Is the convenience worth sacrificing the ability to hand-pick your updates? What happens when a rogue patch inside a rollup crashes computers on a large scale? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

    BSOD image courtesy Sakuoka, Shutterstock

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  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,745   +3,710

    I don't have an issue with cumulative updates. I do have an issue with when to conveniently install them (aka: Win10 auto-updates).
  3. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,075   +428

    The real question is why do people even care what happens to Windows 7 and 8? They are both going to disappear in the next few years whether you like it or not. Suck it up and learn that windows 10 is inevitable.
    Reehahs and MoeJoe like this.
  4. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 712   +382

    If that was a rhetorical statement, then bravo.
    If you've not met the nut jobs that swear by 7 ... even XP & Vista ...
    then go find some. Their stupidity is the gift that keeps on giving.
    Raoul Duke, jauffins and Reehahs like this.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    I still use XP, by last IQ test was about 134.

    I'm not stupid enough to throw away computers with it on just so I can have M$ looking up my a** every time I turn one on.

    And Windows 7 well, that's just super. I like the slide show desk top. Beats looking at some dumb old "live tiles". What the heck was M$ thinking of with them? I guess they were figuring its users were so lame, they couldn't hit an old fashioned icon, so they made them 2" square. Let's call it, "Imbecile proofing" , jolly good show M$.

    Then there were the early adopters of Windows 8. "Well I only paid $100.00 for this operating system, and all you need to do is buy after market software to make it work like Windows 7, and it's the best OS ever".

    And now the avant tardes like yourself are calling everyone "stupid", who simply want to control their own computer, instead of having M$ lead them around with a ring through their nose, like some "sacred cow".

    M$'s next Windows 10 promotion should include a tub of Vaseline, so all you fart smellers, oops I mean smart fellers, know where to put it..

    Like I always enjoy pointing out, M$ wanted to have a billion copies of Win 10 installed by now. What they've actually accomplished, is give away 300,000,000 copies, and alienate the other 700,000,000 missing users.

    I get a kick out of recent low time members like yourself. They mostly all sound like shills for M$, as do you.
    Fabio Turati, lazer, Phr3d and 5 others like this.
  6. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Addict Posts: 271   +67

    All versions of Windows have required some tweaking to make them useful, some more than others - I see it as a challenge. Yes, Windows 8.1 and 10 are the most challenging versions, mostly because I want to avoid the entire "Metro/Live Tiles/Windows Store aspect, but free programs like Classic Shell make that easy and quick. XP is a great OS, but back when it was released, there was a large percentage of users bitching about data collection by M$, just as today. Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 - I have enjoyed them all (after proper tweaking/hacking). ME, Vista, and 8.0, I never used for very long, all were slow (resource hogs). All of them are much faster than what I grew up with (pencil & paper, slide rule).
  7. That's so sweet of you MoeJoe - I just love giving out gifts!
    No one it telling you not to use Win10 and contribute your personal data to MS; you have the right to do so. I don't want to.
    As I've stated before, so many people are just so used to assuming-the-position, that they don't feel right when a corporation isn't forcing them or when others don't want to.
    Raoul Duke and BSim500 like this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Perhaps so. But IIRC, the big furor was about XP's brand new "fr-eature" (*), ACTIVATION! Up until XP, the pirates were pretty much having their way with bogus copies of Windows, and most saw activation as a self preservation step for M$.

    Also, during that time period, M$ was still supplying security updates for non-genuine copies of the OS. Which you gotta say was pretty decent of them. <(That needs a fact check for completeness).

    Still, M$ floated the activation concept for XP by saying, "someday we may no longer need it". I figure if they're no longer going to support XP, I'm a fool for using XP, and XP is so obsolete it's worthless, then the next time I need to activate it, they ought to turn it on, and leave it on, period.

    I figure if it didn't make them look so desperate, and most of the equipment using XP is too old to run it, they'd have given XP users a free copy of 10 as well. Which I'd have turned down even quicker than the 10 for 7 deal.

    The latest version Ubuntu feels about as heavy as XP, and gives me grief with the 915 IGP in my oldest machine. XP works like a charm on it though.

    (*) "Fr-eature" = frightening feature...:eek:
  9. jauffins

    jauffins TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +24

    What's troubling you, friend?

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,258   +455

    Continue pissing off your enterprise customers... good job M$.
  11. Indeed.

    What absolutely blows my mind is just how much Stupid have assumed the higher-up positions and are making really bad calls.
    I've noticed that the Stupid started amassing positions of power toward the end of 2008 - that's really when the flood-gates of Stupid opened up.
  12. robb213

    robb213 TS Maniac Posts: 330   +100

    This is why I'm happy I have Dreamspark. Group policies have made so many things easier with Win10.
  13. HonestTony

    HonestTony TS Rookie

    You must be great at sucking Bill Gates Win10! Win10 isn't on my things to add list any time soon. And when the end of Win7 and Win8.1 ends, there is always Linux or Apple OS instead!
    BSim500 likes this.
  14. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 392   +669

    And those 300m "devices" includes Windows 10 tablets and those who registered a free W10 copy, tested it out and reverted within 30 days. So actual "PC users" are even lower than MS's "registered devices" figures suggest.

    Out of 4 PC's in our house, 2x laptops (used as simple net / office boxes) have seamlessly transitioned to Linux Mint, the HTPC is now running Kodi under Linux (previously Kodi under Windows), and the 4th (an older gaming rig) is staying firmly put on Win7. The irony is, had Windows 10 turned out to be something other than "remotely micro-managed billboard and surveillance rootkit with a desktop OS tacked on the side still half pretending to be a tablet", then all 4 PC's would probably be running that. Instead it turns out there was nothing "inevitable" about W10 at all other than the increasingly lame "threats" against anyone who doesn't use it by Windows 10 Forum Warriors (tm) angry over charts that still look like this after a year of being given away for "free"...

    As for W7 cumulative updates, it doesn't bother me. Most non obscure security holes were dealt with ages ago, and in the event updates need to be disabled due to MS shovelling sh*t down the pipe as "encouragement", by far the biggest practical boost to security comes from having a decent router with the default password changed, decent web browser + ublock, decent mail program that prevents iffy attachments being run, disabling the OS's "autorun" (blocks infections from removable media), and stop downloading "warez" and stupid downloader "stubs" from iffy sites. Do that and the chance of getting infected from normal usage falls to near zero regardless of OS version or lack of "official" patches in future.
    Phr3d and TheBigFatClown like this.
  15. Kevin Mangun

    Kevin Mangun TS Rookie

    You do realize that Windows 7 still has a MASSIVE presence in workplace domain environments right? The licensing cost along with the redevelopment of proprietary software along with testing of existing software etc etc is a long expensive process even for medium to small sized companies that use Microsoft OS's in a production environment. The idea that they should just "suck it up" is ridiculously short sighted and naive. Taking away the ability to manage updates with granularity is a major concern in the IT field.
    Raoul Duke and Phr3d like this.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    The only reason M$ is implementing something like this, is so they cal install telemetry into your machine you can't avoid.

    The last big "favor" M$ did for you, contained updates that were for telemetry, and no other purpose. People figured that out, and simply didn't install them.

    Now, your buddies at M$, are going to ram them down your throat, with no recourse on your part.
  17. I'm not sure why this is not more widely known for security, but the "Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)" looks quite good especially for those that know how to set up more than the 'default' installation. Works on Win 7 as well
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    It'll probably protect you from everything except M$ itself....:oops:
  19. jack_alexander

    jack_alexander TS Member Posts: 22

    It's Aug. 17 as I write this. I just hid the first cumulative rollup that was downloaded on my machine last night.

    As far as the fellow running XP my Kudos! I hope he knows he can torrent download XP SP4 which contains many updates that were given to the Chinese after the 'demise' of XP. Using one's mind with security is useful, but updates as I have found can actually be damaging to your machine, and they need to be checked on an individual basis using that link on the right side of the list for more information. (I'm using 8.1 with classic shell. It looks just like and pretty much operates like XP with a win7ish look.) I wouldn't even let myself own a machine infected with Win 10 which is a giant piece of spyware.

    The issues of spyware by M$ exists in Win 7 and Win 8 but can be over come with several programs freely available if one peruses the better download sites on a regular (daily for me) basis. Spyware can always be nipped in the bud... But M$ has gone overboard with it in Win 10. I'd rather have the other writer's XP.
  20. lazer

    lazer TS Booster Posts: 111   +26

    I do NOT want win10, I took win8 off my computer since it would not run some old paid for programs that I use. I do not like M$ screwing me. I use win7 WITHOUT UPDATES - never had a virus or malware since I do not open suspicious files or surf in murky sites.

    I also use UBUNTU on an old laptop in place of XP - it started as an experiment but I liked it so, I do not use the XP rather ubuntu. It is the face of the future.
    BSim500 likes this.

    URUKHAI TS Rookie

    As stated in the article and very applicable in many business environments:
    "Mercer skirts around the fact that not all updates are compatible with all PCs and applications. This is especially the case in business settings that may be using an older operating system in order to continue using legacy software or attached hardware that’s integral to daily operations."

    URUKHAI TS Rookie

    Just change your O/S to something less invasive. It's easy and there are many viable alternatives to Microsoft products depending on what you need to do.

    There are some wide-spread delusions out there about dependence on M$ and the changes they make to their business models...they are not beholdant to the consumer/end-user, they are beholdant to their board and most boards want to know how much money can be saved or made. They are well aware that shoving telemetry or cumulative updates down user's throat will only result in complaining on message boards.

    As they used to say speak with you feet, get to stepping toward using non-Microsoft products and software. If enough users do so, they will change their current, "shut up and take it mentality". Good luck!
  23. Ascaris

    Ascaris TS Addict Posts: 113   +72

    Yes, all versions of Windows have required tweaking, but making 10 work... isn't going to work. The crappiness runs too deep.

    For one thing, the monolithic updates. This article is about how they're coming to Windows 7 and 8 too, but there is a mitigating feature for those of us on 7. It's in the extended support phase, which means no new features, just security and bug fixes. Those are the only updates I really want, so as long as MS sticks to those two things, I am okay with update roll-ups-- though I watch them warily, as the telemetry updates and GWX adware were most definitely not bugfixes or security updates, and we still got them during extended support.

    With Windows 10, ALL of the updates are rolled up, and they're cumulative. And now that this is the last version of Windows ever, all of the "features" MS wants us to have will simply appear one day on our computers. There's no official way to avoid them, and if you use an unofficial way, you have to skip ALL of the other updates from that point forward. All of the bugfixes, all of the security fixes. You'd be better off with 7, which won't start requiring people to run unpatched for four more years.

    Sorry, MS, but after what you have pulled in the last year, I don't trust you enough to give you a never-ending book of signed but otherwise blank checks to do whatever you want with my PC. Not going to happen... not now, not ever.

    The telemetry... well, I don't think MS is rooting through people's hard drives looking for something juicy-- yet. The point is that they can, because they can push any update out they want, and their EULA gives them a broad array of rights to your data if they decide to do some mining. Yes, this can be blocked as part of your "making it useful" challenge, but having to even do this is unacceptable.

    An OS, by its very nature, is very close to the user and the PC itself. It needs to unerringly and unquestionably serve only one master, and that is the PC owner (who is usually also the user in the context of home PCs, so for this post, the two are used interchangeably). Windows 10 fails that test miserably. It wouldn't even be acceptable for an OS to serve the user first and the software company that made it second; it should serve the user first and to hell with everyone else, including its maker. Windows 10 serves MS first and its users last, at least in the individual license versions.

    When the users say they want all of the telemetry off, and MS comes back with a response that you can turn MOST of it off, that's not good enough, even if we do have the ability to block it (for now) with third-party applications. When we say we want the rest of it turned off and we get back excuses about why it is harmless and why MS needs it, it's clear whose needs are being served here, and it's not ours. The point is that I, as the computer owner, have decided I want it off, and it doesn't matter if I have what MS considers a good reason or not. If I say I want telemetry fully off because the orange tree in my backyard will come to life and throw oranges at my house otherwise, that's a good enough reason, because as the owner of the PC, my wishes are the only ones that exist. It doesn't matter how anonymized the data is or how important it is to MS... not even a tiny bit. Not on something that is as close to all my personal data as the OS.

    MS obviously does not get this, and that itself is part of the problem. They have the wrong attitude, and that infects every bit of every product they offer, and it's exactly why people deride Microsoft for every possible thing they do. MS has earned this cynicism; if there is any possible interpretation of any move MS makes that would benefit them at the expense of others, it is sensible to assume that is the motivation until proven otherwise. It's not paranoia, as the MS shills claim. It's observing how MS has behaved in the past and using that to make an educated guess about what they are up to now. If Bernie Madoff was released from prison on a technicality, and the first thing he did was to set up a securities fund and started looking for investors, it would not be paranoia to assume he was looking to defraud people.

    Now, about that Windows 10 UI: You can do the usual theming to get rid of the white monstrosity of the default theme (I haven't seen the dark one yet), but an installed theme doesn't affect the UWP bits. Like you, getting rid of all of the Metro-ish stuff would be high on my list... but you can't get rid of all of it, because a number of system features use it and have no traditional Win32 equivalents. (The settings menu, for one). There's no way to get rid of the "app" appearance in that case (and there are others, and probably more to come in the future).

    When I had Windows 10 installed on my test PC, I found some powershell scripts that would forcibly evict Cortana, Edge, Windows Store, and every other remaining "app" that CCleaner could not remove. Everything worked fine after that in my limited use, but with 10 under continuous development, how long will that be true? How long until some part of the OS will fail to work without the bits I won't allow to live on my computer?

    That's the thing with 10... you can hack it and try to get it resembling a reasonable OS, and you may have some success, but for how long? MS doesn't want you to uninstall their stuff; they made it impossible to do through normal means on purpose. They don't want you blocking their updates or their telemetry. And they have the keys to your kingdom! They can break your hacks and workarounds any time they want... and they WILL want if people start doing them in any way that catches their attention (and with the telemetry, they will catch a lot of things).

    A lot of Windows users have criticized Linux as being too "fiddly" for them for daily use. I've recently started using it in a dual-boot setup with 7, and I certainly can see that as true for a lot of people (and I have had to do fiddly stuff myself, though I must say I have with Windows too)... but Linux is slowly improving, while Windows is getting worse at breakneck speed. If you have to fight your OS every time you get an update in order to thwart it from performing its primary mission of serving Microsoft's needs, is that somehow acceptable? At least in Linux, when I do get a problem fixed, it stays fixed as long as I want it to. Future updates may break my fixes, but I can control, with granularity that Windows can only dream of, which things get updated and which do not.

    To those who say 10 is inevitable... well, no, it's not. I don't know what I will be using on my PC in five years as far as Windows, but I know it won't be Windows 10 if its in its current form. Nope, nope, nope. I'll put 7 in a VM under Linux (or even XP) and run that if I have to for certain programs, but I'm not touching Win 10 with a ten foot pole unless it does a massive turnaround. I don't anticipate that happening, so I am working on transitioning to Linux full-time.
    captaincranky likes this.
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,745   +3,710

    Thanks for posting a book.
  25. Ascaris

    Ascaris TS Addict Posts: 113   +72

    When it comes to posting what is wrong with Windows 10, there's a lot to write.

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