Is Patch Tuesday dead? Microsoft offers few clues

Speculation about what exactly Microsoft meant when talking about changes to its update process abounds. But from the sounds of it, if Patch Tuesday isn’t dying, it’s certainly changing. 

Since 2003, every second Tuesday of the month (with rare exceptions) has been the day Microsoft would make updates available for its products. But in a recent announcement of Windows Update for Business, a Microsoft executive observed, “We’re not going to be delivering all of the updates to all of these consumers on one day of the month.”

Breaking with tradition

A new option, Windows Update for Business, will offer a bit of a different take on how updates are rolled out starting with Windows 10. But how that looks remains a bit of a mystery.

What we do know: Updates will be offered in so-called “Distribution rings,” where companies can decide when and how often systems are updated.

The thinking behind that is some companies want security and functionality updates as soon as they become available in order to stay safe. Others prefer to wait a while to make sure the kinks are worked out and the updates don’t interfere with their existing systems.

Consumer versions are still likely to receive patches ASAP.

What did they mean?

There’s a great deal of confusion and a lack of transparency over what exactly all this meant, as ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer found when he pressed Microsoft for details.

It’s possible Microsoft meant that the old model of distributing patches on the same day each month is history and that they will be made available as they’re ready. It’s also possible that it meant the updates will come on the same day with companies electing to update on their own schedule as part of the Distribution rings.

In the meantime, your department may want to decide its own policy, whether you’re going to be an early adopter of Windows 10 or not.

Consider whether it’s more valuable to have the updates as quickly as possible or to allow some time for the patches to go through testing without your company being the one that discovers a fatal flaw in the process.

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