Windows 8.1 Update: WSUS Availability, Extended Deployment Timing

With today’s release of a solution that resolves the connectivity issues with WSUS 3.2 described here, we have now published the Windows 8.1 Update (as well as the Windows Server 2012 R2 Update and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Update) to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

For organizations using WSUS, Windows Intune, or System Center Configuration Manager for updating their Windows 8.1 computers, this means that you can now easily deploy these updates to the computers or servers you manage. For computers and servers that have already installed these updates, note that Windows Update will re-offer them but it will only install the portion of the update that addresses the fix. Other portions of the update which users have already downloaded and installed will not be downloaded or installed a second time. For more information, please read KB2959977 and the WSUS team blog for full details.

In addition, with these recent product updates we’ve taken extra steps to institute a new approach to servicing for devices running Windows 8.1 as well as Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry to help ensure our customers’ privacy and security are protected, while providing the most optimal performance through the most up-to-date software.

As we’ve said before, Windows 8.1 Update along with the new Server and Embedded updates reflects Microsoft’s commitment to providing a more rapid cadence of feature improvements for our customers. More than ever, these updates are driven by customer feedback and the need to refine and innovate to meet their growing needs.

All future security and non-security updates will be built on these latest product updates, so existing Windows 8.1 customers (as well as Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry customers) will need to be running these latest product updates in order to continue to receive future product improvements and security updates.

As we’ve been monitoring the release, we’ve been actively discussing this new approach to servicing with enterprise customers and listening to their feedback regarding managing the deployment timeline. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the timeframe for enterprise customers to deploy these new product updates from 30 to 120 days. In order to receive future updates, all customers managing updates using WSUS, Windows Intune, or System Center Configuration Manager have until August 12th to apply the new updates. For those that decide to defer installation, separate security updates will be published during the 120-day window.

For our consumer customers, the Windows 8.1 Update is a required update to keep Windows 8.1 devices current. It will need to be installed to receive new updates from Windows Update starting on May 13th. The vast majority of these customers already have Automatic Update turned on, so they don’t need to be concerned since the update will simply install in the background prior to May 13th. For customers managing updates on their devices manually who haven’t installed the Windows 8.1 Update prior to May 13th, moving forward they will only see the option to install the Windows 8.1 Update in Windows Update. No new updates will be visible to them until they install the Windows 8.1 Update. For customers on metered networks, they will get the same experience until they install the Windows 8.1 Update.