Microsoft will pause optional Windows 10 cumulative updates for testing purposes starting in May

Microsoft is prioritizing its Windows update focus on security updates and is temporarily ceasing its optional Windows 10 cumulative updates starting in May.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is going to be releasing a lot fewerWindows 10 updates starting in May 2020. The company is temporarily halting the release of the optional Windows 10 updates it releases during the third and fourth weeks of each month due to the impact on its customers from the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced today, March 24.

Microsoft's support announcement stated:

"We have been evaluating the public health situation, and we understand this is impacting our customers. In response to these challenges we are prioritizing our focus on security updates. Starting in May 2020, we are pausing all optional non-security releases (C and D updates) for all supported versions of Windows client and server products (Windows 10, version 1909 down through Windows Server 2008 SP2).

"There is no change to the monthly security updates (B release - Update Tuesday); these will continue as planned to ensure business continuity and to keep our customers protected and productive."

If you're not so sure about this Windows 10 alphabet soup, here's a quick refresher:

Microsoft releases updates and patches to Windows client and server almost every week. The first week of each month (A week) is typically for Office updates. B week is the second week of the month and when Patch Tuesday is -- "Update Tuesday" in Microsoft's euphemistic parlance. C and D weeks, which are the third and fourth weeks of the month, or when Microsoft releases optional cumulative updates that are intended to be previews of non-security fixes for IT pros and admins. These optional updates are not installed automatically.

Microsoft officials didn't say how long they plan to discontinue the C and D week optional updates. Today, as it usually does on the fourth Tuesday of the month, Microsoft released the D week optional updates for Windows 10 1903 and 1909.

Last week, Microsoft gave IT pros an additional six months of free security updates for certain editions of Windows 10 1709, the Windows 10 feature update released in the fall of 2017. Instead of ceasing support in April 2020, Microsoft now plans to cease support for 1709 in October 2020. Microsoft attributed the extra months of leniency to the impact of COVID-19.

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