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For Better or Worse: Microsoft Aligns Windows Server 2016’s Patching Matrix with Windows 10’s

Updating a client operating system with Automatic Updates (AU) enabled by default is one thing (but, still draws plenty of ire from the IT administrator), but a Server OS?

That’s the case, as explained in recent blog post by Microsoft’s Elden Christensen. According to Elden, AU is enabled by default with the following attribute:

Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them

This change is submitted as a cost-saving measure and is included in a list of other cost saving measures of the new patching matrix:

  • Predicable monthly update cadence you can plan for
  • Fewer updates to manage
  • Cumulative updates that have everything you need
  • Proactive notification of updates before they cause downtime
  • Simplified test matrix and streamlined verification process
  • Reduced updating with Nano Server

The list seems to have been vetted by a politician because it puts a positive spin on several key areas that most IT Pros and patching administrators know to approach with more caution than the list emits. I’ve italicized the words and phrases that were painstakingly turned into patching Pollyanna.

Additionally, the post ends with this…

In Windows Server 2016 you will be able to build a simple maintenance plan:

One update…  once a month… That’s it!

It seems to almost make patching sound fun, doesn’t it? If only that were the case. We’ve yet to experience a single month where something didn’t force patching administrators to roll back botched updates. For PCs, this is painful enough – but servers? Honey and sugar doesn’t change the fact that Microsoft has yet to take the time to fix its patch quality. Trust can’t be fixed with flowery words.

Most administrators will want to change Windows Server 2016’s AU setting right away. To do that, follow these steps:

How to manage Windows Update settings on Windows Server 2016 using SCONFIG

Some of the more popular sessions for IT Pros at IT/Dev Connections 2016 were on patching – particularly around the new servicing model that Microsoft is instituting across both client and server operating systems. The bottom line is that most customers aren’t on the same page. Customers have had to deal with failed patches for years and have developed their own strategies to protect against the quality issues. It seems a bit irresponsible to choose to promote a patching system that hasn’t yet been fixed.


Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Devs, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

IT/Dev Connections

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A community professional, keynoter, and evangelist who has driven social media and marketing strategies, editorial successes, delivered customer successes and built some of the largest and longest-running online communities. Rod has created, managed and grown small, medium, and mega-sized conferences; run entire editorial teams to deliver record traffic and market leadership; as product manager, directed the success of hundreds of product releases; supported sales and marketing to ensure customer success; developed, run and sold businesses; written thousands of technical articles, white papers, case studies, and technical documentation; hosted and delivered hundreds of attendance shattering webinars and virtual tradeshows; and delivered keynote speeches and sessions at a wide variety of events including conferences, webinars, events, and user groups.

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