Microsoft rolled out late on August 14 the third cumulative update for Windows 10 since the product began rolling out to users on July 29.The newest cumulative update is KB3081438. The Microsoft Support page says nothing about the specific features and fixes that are new to this update beyond "This update includes improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10."
But a Microsoft spokesperson did let me know that the new update is designed to fix the Windows 10 Store issues which had been affecting a number of us Windows 10 users for the past week. A number of us were unable to access the Store, obtain app updates and/or download new apps. In some cases, Windows Store apps like Mail and Calendar were also not working.
"KB 3081438 is now available resolving the Store issues," said the spokesperson in response to my question about what Microsoft was doing to fix the Store issues. Company officials declined to say anything beyond that about what specifically caused the Store problems. I was told "Microsoft has nothing further to share."
Here's the odd thing: For me and a number of others affected by the Windows 10 Store glitch, KB3081438 wasn't needed to fix the Store issues. On the morning of August 14 -- hours before the third cumulative update started rolling out via Windows Update -- our Stores and Store apps just started working normally again, seemingly without us applying any kind of fix via Windows Update. I am happy to say my Store and Store apps seem to still work even after applying the latest update.
The newest update also does not seem to fix the Store issues for everyone affected. I've gotten several Tweets and emails from individuals who still cannot use the Store and Store apps even after applying the new update. (And yes, there are a few app updates that still won't download for any of us, including Microsoft Reader and Windows Reading List. I'm guessing they need updating to work on Windows 10, if they will work at all.)
According to Microsoft, cumulative updates seem to be the new norm for patching and updating Windows 10. Microsoft's support page for the latest update states:
"Windows 10 updates are cumulative. Therefore, this package contains all previously released fixes. If you have previous updates installed, only the new fixes that are contained in this package will be downloaded and installed to your computer."
The Knowledge Base (KB) pages for cumulative updates one and three did not detail what Microsoft updated or fixed in Windows 10. However, the page for cumulative update two did spell out the specific security fixes Microsoft downloaded to users, but did not spell out any of the other features or fixes that were included.
When I look at the Windows Update history page (on my Windows 10 laptop -- by going to Settings-Windows Update-Advanced Options-View your update history -- I see almost no itemized, individual updates (beyond the Windows Defender definition updates I receive daily). There are a couple of exceptions: I see a separate security update for Internet Explorer Flash Player, which I got on August 11, Patch Tuesday, as well as the updated Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which I also got on August 11.
Microsoft is making some big changes as to how it handles patching and updating with Windows 10. Those using Windows 10 Home must take all features, fixes and security updates from Microsoft as soon as the company makes them available via Windows Update. (There is a not so readily discoverable blocking tool meant to enable users to temporarily block drivers and patches.) Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education users have a bit more leeway in terms of when and how they get patches with features and fixes.
I'm not sure why Microsoft is not providing users with a list of what's new in these Windows 10 cumulative updates. I also don't know how long the rapid release cadence of these cumulative updates is likely to continue.