Microsoft has confirmed that it is doing away with individual patches for its operating systems, instead offering monthly 'Monthly Rollup' patch bundles.
The integration of Windows Update into Microsoft's operating system made it easier than ever to ensure that software is kept up-to-date and protected against known vulnerabilities. Through Windows Update, Microsoft has traditionally released monthly patch sets - released on Patch Tuesdays - for all supported software. Each individual patch is listed as a separate entity, though patches for multiple related vulnerabilities in a single application or system resource may be bundled together, and users have been free to select or deselect these patches as they desire - refusing a patch known to conflict with third-party software, for example, while allowing other patches through.
From October this year, that system will disappear. Instead, Microsoft plans to offer 'Monthly Rollups,' single patches which bundle all releases for that month. In doing so, the company claims, installation of patches is made easier and faster - though it comes at the cost of the per-patch flexibility of the previous model.
The large-bundle-patch model is already used by many of the patches for Windows 10, and from October will come to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. 'The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues. Getting and staying current will also be easier with only one rollup update required,
' claimed Microsoft's Nathan Mercer in a blog post
detailing the changes earlier this month. 'Rollups enable you to bring your systems up to date with fewer updates, and will minimise administrative overhead to install a large number of updates.
Some patch types will be excluded from the Monthly Rollup bundles, Mercer explained, including those for servicing stacks and supported third-party packages like Adobe Flash Player. Mercer also revealed plans to move to a cumulative model, where each monthly patch bundle includes patches from all previous bundles so that only the most recent bundle need be installed, claiming that the use of 'express packages' will keep the overall download size small for those with earlier patch bundles installed.