Microsoft: Windows 11 switches to “Unified Update Platform”

In the end, it’s all about saving data: Microsoft will switch to using the “Unified Update Platform” (UUP) for Windows 11 on March 28th. The most important feature is the reduction of the necessary volume of data that clients have to download and store on disk. In addition, from April 2023, Microsoft will publish non-security update previews for the fourth week of the month for better planning.

In a Techcommunity post, Microsoft employee Leon Braginski explains the changes coming next week. These are particularly relevant for operators of WSUS update services, for example. On March 28, Microsoft plans to make the change and re-release the March security update KB5023706 in a UUP version. As a result, the update systems have to download a 10 gigabyte chunk once.

If the WSUS option “Sync on schedule” is active, admins don’t have to do anything else. The UUP update will be released in the “Windows 11” product category of WSUS and Microsoft Configuration Manager, like previous updates, Braginski explains. The update is marked as a new update, but only includes the fixes from the package previously distributed on March 14 – this will be replaced, the KB number remains the same. It will therefore not be distributed to clients who have already installed the March update.

Braginski also lists the advantages that Microsoft sees in the UUP updates: Up to 30 percent smaller client downloads for the monthly quality updates as well as cumulative updates with function updates, which means that only a reboot is required to bring Windows up to date to bring count. In addition, UUP brings the seamless preservation of the installed language packs and optional features-on-demand (FoD) for function updates, as well as reduced download sizes on the clients – they no longer download all potentially installed apps, but are limited to the actually installed ones.

Finally, the UUP updates are cumulative updates that still come with differential updates that allow updating only parts from the update bundle. Future WSUS download sizes therefore remain as large as before, with the exception of the one-time outlier, but the endpoints download significantly less data – local networks are relieved and less memory space is occupied on the clients. Microsoft has been testing and introducing the “Unified Update Platform” under Windows 10 since 2017. The use under Windows 11 is therefore only consistent.

Meanwhile, Microsoft employee Chris Morrissey explains in another Techcommunity article that the optional update previews – also known as quality updates or C and D updates – will appear at the end of April 2023 in the fourth week of the month. This should improve planning and is optimally located between the past and upcoming security update for the so-called Patch Tuesday on every second Tuesday of the month.

However, unplanned updates can still occur if a problem or vulnerability is identified and a bug fix needs to be published quickly. These updates will be cumulative in the future, containing the latest security updates and the new correction. As an insert there is the information that from the end of March 2023 only Windows 10 22H2 and Windows 11 21H2 and 22H2 will be the currently supported versions for the optional update previews.

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