Microsoft's Windows 10: Business users may get patch details after all

Microsoft looks to be rethinking its stance against providing detailed Windows 10 patch and update information, at least for business customers.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After indicating that the company had no plans to provide full details about the patches and updates it is providing for Windows 10, Microsoft looks to be rethinking that strategy -- at least to some degree for business customers.

To date, Microsoft officials have said the company has no plans to make available to Windows 10 users particulars on what the company is fixing and updating. Microsoft officials told The Register the company will reveal some information about "significant" features and fixes that are in the Windows 10 Cumulative rollups, but not all. So far, the level of patch detail the company is providing is less than it has been in the past.

"We don't do full change lists, it is too tough to manage and doesn't really add any value," Windows Insider chief Gabe Aul said on Twitter recently, in response to users asking about patch and update change lists.

But on August 28, there were some indications Microsoft might be softening its stance.

At a press event on the Redmond campus, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jim Alkove told reporters Microsoft might provide business customers with change lists for patches and updates, but provided no information as to when or how.

Windows SuperSite's Rod Trent, who was attending the press briefing, tweeted "Change lists for Windows 10 updates are coming for businesses." And Ars Technica's Peter Bright tweeted from the event that "Microsoft is considering some kind of change lists for Enterprise users, but still not a hard commitment to provide proper patch notes."

Alkove also told briefing attendees of the 75 million Windows 10 installations to date, 1.5 million of those are Enterprise versions of the product. It's not clear from Alkove's remarks how many of those Enterprise installations are by Windows Insiders.

As of August 28, Microsoft has released five Cumulative Updates for Windows 10 PC users who are running the RTM version of the product. And we know very little about what's in any of them.

The fifth Cumulative Update, released on August 27 (KB 3081448) is described as "includ(ing) improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10." Windows SuperSite's Rod Trent said the latest cumulative update may have included a fix/update that will allow consumers running Windows 10 Home to turn off automatic app updates from the Windows Store. Before yesterday, Windows 10 Home users couldn't do this.

Microsoft also made available two other Windows 10 updates yesterday, neither of which was labeled as a Cumulative Update. KB3081452 is a compatibility update which "makes improvements to ease the upgrade experience to Windows 10." And KB3081449 "improves the Windows 10 out-of-box experience (OOBE). This update applies only to the Windows 10 OOBE process and will be available only at the time that OOBE updates are installed."

IT pros and power users, especially, are advocating for Microsoft to provide more granular detail on what's in Windows 10 patches and fixes since those regular updates are mandatory with Windows 10 for consumers and many business users. The only group of Windows 10 users that can put off applying any and all non-security updates indefinitely are Enterprise users on the Long Term Servicing Branch.

I've asked to see if Microsoft officials will provide anything further about plans to deliver patch and update information to business users. No word back yet.

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