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Upcoming Update to Windows Update

Upcoming Update to Windows Update

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Hi everyone,


I'd like to let you know that, beginning at the end of this month and continuing over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out an infrastructure update to the Windows Update agent (client).  I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some background on the update and discuss the value these updates bring to you. 


How Windows Update Keeps Itself Up-to-Date

Occasionally, we must update the infrastructure of Windows Update in order to ensure a high level of service quality, reliability, and operation.  As part of this process, we update both the back-end infrastructure that supports the service as well as the client side code (i.e. the Windows Update agent, or client).


So what are we doing this time? Well, this particular update won’t really change the way the client looks or feels to you, but you may notice some improvements in the length of time it takes Windows Update to scan for updates and how quickly you’ll receive signature updates.  For example, in this update, we’ve invested heavily in reducing the amount of time it takes the Windows Update agent to scan to see if new updates are available.  In this case, we’ve seen some instances of the scan times on some machines decreasing almost 20 percent.


Settings 101

Before we dive into how Windows Update issues the infrastructure updates, let’s review some information about different changes you can make to your personal Windows Update settings.  We recommend that you install Important + Recommended updates (in Windows Vista) or High Priority updates (in Windows XP) automatically; these options are presented when you set up Windows.  After initial setup, if you would like to change your settings, go to the Windows Update application in Windows Vista or the Automatic Updates Control Panel in Windows XP.  There you can select from 4 settings:  (1) Automatically Download and Install; (2) Download Only (updates are downloaded but the user chooses whether and when to install them); (3) Check for Updates (no updates are downloaded and you’re notified that updates are available for download and install); and (4) Off.  See Figures 1 and 2 below.




    Figure 1: Windows Vista Windows Update Control Panel                  



 Figure2: Windows XP Automatic Updates Control Panel


What does this mean for you?


Anytime the Windows Update agent is turned on, Windows Update will take care of updating itself.  Windows Update is considered “on” when anything other than “Never check for updates” or “Turn off Automatic Updates” is selected.  What this means is that if you’ve selected “install updates automatically,” the update to the Windows Update client will install automatically.  You may also notice that Windows Update will also automatically download and install updates necessary for the Windows Update client to function properly if you’ve chosen a different setting, like setting 2 (“Automatically Download Updates”) or setting 3 (“Automatically Check for Updates”).  This is done in order to ensure that a system will continue to notify the user about available updates. 


The Windows Update client does not download or install infrastructure updates if the user has selected setting 4 (“Off”).  In other words, if a Windows Vista user selects “Never check for updates,”( or if a Windows XP user selects “Turn off Automatic Updates”), the user will not receive Windows Update client infrastructure updates unless they choose to manually install it from Windows Update.


Windows Update has been keeping itself up-to-date this way for many years, and while these infrastructure updates are important to maintain the quality of the Windows Update service, they aren’t that frequent (they usually occur about once a year).


Why does Windows Update need to self update?

You may be wondering why this process is different from other updates you’ve come to expect from Windows Update.  The reason Windows Update issues infrastructure updates in this way is to ensure that users are able to successfully check for updates and/or receive expected notifications.  If Windows Update wasn’t able to do this, it may cause some users to believe that they have all of the latest security updates even though there was no installation and/or notifications of updates. To avoid a false sense of security, the Windows Update client automatically checks for and installs any available infrastructure updates anytime a system uses the Windows Update service, independent of the settings for how it handles updates.


I hope this information was useful in helping you understand infrastructure updates, and that you have the time you need to prepare for the update. 


We continue to be confident in the value Windows Update offers.  For more information about infrastructure updates, please refer to KB946928.  If you’d like more information about Windows Update, and how the service works, please review the newly launched Windows Update information on


We look forward to hearing your feedback.




Michelle Haven

Product Mgr., WIndows Update

  • It unfortunate you didn't take the opportunity of XP SP3 / Vista SP1 to fix this obviously incorrect behaviour and regain users' trust, especially after the contraversy this caused back in September.  As it is, you are still ignoring an explicit user instruction to "don't download or install things on my machine without my permission".

    An available "Critical Security Update to Windows Update" message is no more or less likely to give a "false sense of security" than any other critical update.  It's a poor explanation for a poor design decision, and all my machines have to rely on manual update checks until you actually respect your users' choices.

  • Microsoft will release four security patches for its Windows, Exchange, and SQL products next Tuesday

  • As thingy said if I have told windows not to install ANY windows update then it shouldn't to exceptions at all. I will be switching off automatic updates on all my machines and will resort to manually running this process at least then I know what is happening.

    Its seems despite the choice of different modes for Windows Update there are only really 2 on and off.

  • Microsoft Update Team announced that there will be an update to Windows Update Agent (Client) which will

  • Starting at the end of this month, Microsoft Update Product Team will be rolling out an update to the

  • @muteam,

    will this new client also fix the issue intruduced by one of the last client versions.

    If GPO is set "hide all access to Windows Update",

    users will get no more "system need to reboot"  message ?



  • Hi all, We wanted to let you know that a new version of the Windows Update Agent is being released on

  • Thank you for informing us this time. Am I correct in assuming this is also for Microsoft update as well?

    Also does this include an update to BITS?

  • I for one welcome the new changes

    well done WU Team

  • Microsoft has announced it will upgrade Windows' update mechanism later this month, a warning that

  • Très petit mois pour l'été : 4 bulletins seulement "importants". Suite aux prévisions

  • The list is a little longer today because of not posting last week. Enjoy! Microsoft Advanced Windows

  • (Por El Microsaurio) ¡Horror, espanto y desesperación!Dense una vuelta por este blog mantenido por el equipo de gente que hace Windows Update en Microsoft, y lean el texto posteado por Michelle Haven, Gerente de Producto Para Windows Update (ese es su

  • The WSUS Team announces that the Windows Update Agent (WUA), commonly known as the "WSUS Client" will see an update starting some time around the end of July. When WSUS clients attempt to contact WSUS servers or Microsoft's equivalent Microsoft Update

  • I notice Automatic Update frequently offers updates that were already installed, many times several months earlier, or longer. Is this intentional ? Do I need to change something ?

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