Windows Updates: How Many Types Are There?

If you're confused about Windows updates check out this article to help you understand all the different types of Windows updates.

Windows update

It's understandable that novice Windows users get confused by the names of the updates that are released. THE has gone overboard with the different names like patch tuesday, optional update, security update, feature updates, A/B/C/D updates, etc.

In March, Microsoft posted a detailed explanation all types of updates released to the Windows operating system.

Patch Tuesday / Monthly security updates / B releases

Most of the Windows users might be aware of these updates. Patch Tuesday or Update Tuesday is a major type of Windows updates released on a regular basis for Windows devices. Patch Tuesday updates are released on the second Tuesday of every month at 10:00 AM. pacific time.

These updates include security updates as well as optional non-security updates. Patch Tuesday updates are also referred to as updates s B, quality updates, security updates and LCU.

Patch Tuesday updates are cumulative and contain both new and all previous patches. We'd say they're mandatory and available through all standard update channels, including Windows Update, Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Configuration Manager, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Optional preview updates / versions C or D

Non-security preview builds are optional updates released in the fourth week of each month. These updates were formerly known as C releases and D releases.

They are released to advanced users for testing purposes before they are released to the public. These updates are not done automatically . Advanced users need to install them manually by doing on the 'Check for updates' button given on the Windows Update page.

These quality updates are released before next month's Patch Tuesday updates. Optional preview builds are also cumulative and only offered for the latest supported versions of Windows.

These updates are listed on the Settings -> Windows Update -> View Optional Updates page. Users can select the desired updates from the list of available updates and click the "Download and Install" button.

Out-of-Band or emergency updates

Out-of-Band (OOB) builds are very important updates that are provided to fix a newly discovered issue or vulnerability.

These updates are released in emergency situations, such as security vulnerabilities or a quality issue discovered in the operating system. Microsoft releases these updates when affected Windows devices should be updated immediately instead of waiting for the next monthly quality update release.

Out-of-Band releases are also cumulative, meaning they include the updates from the previous security and/or non-security release, as well as the additional patch.

Controlled Feature Release (CFR) or Feature Updates for Windows 11

Starting with the Windows 11 operating system version 22H2 (2022 Update), Microsoft has begun to a new service technology called Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR). With the help of CFR, new features and improvements are delivered to the Windows 11 operating system more frequently and easily.

In the past, Microsoft used to release feature updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems to deliver new features and improvements. These feature updates were very large and took a long time to download and install.

On the other hand, Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR) is a new servicing technology that helps Microsoft roll out new features in Windows 11 in the form of a small update, similar to monthly cumulative updates.

These feature apoptosis updates are delivered in a gradual and measured approach. As with other updates, these updates are also introduced in an optional non-secure preview release before they are widely available through a monthly security update or controlled feature release (CFR) technology.

Recently, Microsoft released 2 feature updates Moment 1 and Moment 2 for Windows 11 22H2 using this new CFR technology.

Some other popular Windows updates

You might also have heard about some other updates like critical updates, monthly rollup etc. Let's see them.

Critical updates are similar to out-of-band updates that are released to resolve emergency issues.

Monthly rollup is another name for the Patch Tuesday updates that are released every month for supported versions of Windows.

Service Packs are techniques formerly used to release updates to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. Now the name Feature Update has replaced Service Packs.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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