This article describes the standard terminology that defines the software updates for the Windows Update and Microsoft Update services.
Applies to: Windows 10 – all editions
Original KB number: 824684
A widely released fix for a specific problem that addresses a critical, non-security-related bug.
A widely released and frequent software update that contains additions to a product’s definition database. Definition databases are often used to detect objects that have specific attributes, such as malicious code, phishing websites, or junk mail.
Software that controls the input and output of a device.
New product functionality that is first distributed outside the context of a product release and that is typically included in the next full product release.
A widely released fix for a product-specific, security-related vulnerability. Security vulnerabilities are rated by their severity. The severity rating is indicated in the Microsoft security bulletin as critical, important, moderate, or low.
Microsoft security updates are available for customers to download and are accompanied by two documents: a security bulletin and a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
A tested, cumulative set of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates. Additionally, service packs may contain additional fixes for problems that are found internally since the release of the product. Service packs may also contain a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.
A utility or feature that helps complete a task or set of tasks.
A widely released fix for a specific problem. An update addresses a noncritical, non-security-related bug.
A tested, cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as:
- A component of a product, such as Internet Information Services (IIS).
An update that collects all the new security updates for a given month and for a given product, addressing security-related vulnerabilities. It’s distributed through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager and Microsoft Update Catalog. Security vulnerabilities are rated by their severity. The severity rating is indicated in the Microsoft security bulletin as critical, important, moderate, or low. This Security-only update would be displayed under the title Security Only Quality Update when you download or install the update. It will be classified as an Important update.
A tested, cumulative set of updates. They include both security and reliability updates that are packaged together and distributed over the following channels for easy deployment:
- Windows Update
- System Center Configuration Manager
- Microsoft Update Catalog
The Monthly Rollup is product-specific and addresses both new security issues and nonsecurity issues in a single update. It will proactively include updates that were released in the past. Security vulnerabilities are rated by their severity. The severity rating is indicated in the Microsoft security bulletin as critical, important, moderate, or low. This Monthly Rollup would be displayed under the title Security Monthly Quality Rollup when you download or install. This Monthly Rollup will be classified as an Important update on Windows Update. It will automatically download and install if your Windows Update settings are configured to automatically download and install Important updates.
Preview of Monthly Rollup
A tested, cumulative set of new updates that are packaged together and distributed over:
- Windows Update
- System Center Configuration Manager
- Microsoft Update Catalog
It’s distributed ahead of the release of the next Monthly Rollup for customers to proactively download, test, and provide feedback.
The Preview of Monthly Rollup is product-specific and addresses new non-security updates, and includes fixes from the latest Monthly Rollup. This Preview of Monthly Rollup would be displayed under the title Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup when you download or install. It will be classified as an “Optional” update.
Servicing Stack Updates (SSU)
The servicing stack is the code that installs other operating system updates. Additionally, it contains the component-based servicing stack (CBS), which is a key underlying component for several elements of Windows deployment, such as:
- Changing Windows features or roles
- Repairing components
The CBS is a small component that typically doesn’t have updates released every month.
For more information, see Servicing stack updates.
— Update: 19-03-2023 — us.suanoncolosence.com found an additional article The Different Types of Windows 10 Updates from the website www.bleepingcomputer.com for the keyword different types windows updates.
With Windows 10, Microsoft has introduced a new servicing model known as ‘Windows as a Service (WaaS)’, which delivers an always up-to-date experience with the latest features and security updates.
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In order to facilitate this, Microsoft pushes out a variety of monthly updates that fix bugs, compatibility issues, performance enhancements, and security updates. Windows 10 is also updated twice a year with new “Feature Updates” that aim to modify the Windows 10 experience in a significant way.
In this article, we will discuss the various types of Windows 10 updates that you will routinely see being installed on your computer and what they are used for.
Windows 10 Feature Updates
The largest Windows 10 updates are Feature Updates as they introduce a new set of features and major improvements to the operating system. These feature updates are currently named after the year and month that they are released, such as the “May 2019 Update”.
These updates are released twice a year during the spring and fall and will increment the version number of Windows. For example, the October 2018 Update changed the Windows 10 version to 1809 and the May 2019 Update changed it to 1903.
As these updates bring major changes to the operating system, Microsoft will not automatically install these updates without your permission unless your current Windows version is no longer supported.
For example, Microsoft plans on automatically installing version 1903 (May 2019 Update) on computers running version 1803 in November 2019 as that version will no longer receive security updates.
Windows 10 Cumulative Updates
A Windows 10 cumulative update (monthly updates) are typically released at least twice a month and include quality improvements, bug fixes, and security fixes.
These type of updates are typically released twice in a month and installing the most recent update ensure that you receive any previous improvements you may have missed.
A quick look at monthly quality update types:
- Windows 10 “B” release: Windows 10 “B” updates are published on the second Tuesday of each month, known as Patch Tuesday, with security improvements and sometimes quality fixes.
- Windows 10 “C” and “D” releases: These two updates are released in the third and fourth weeks of the month respectively. These are optional and preview updates with non-security fixes. The improvements in these two updates are included in the next month’s Patch Tuesday release.
If you are running Windows 10 1903, Microsoft will prompt you first before installing any Cumulative Updates.
Windows 10 Security Updates
On the second Tuesday of every month, known as Patch Tuesday, Microsoft will release a list of security updates and the vulnerabilities that are being fixed in Windows 10.
These security updates are typically bundled with and installed by the first Windows 10 Cumulative Update of the month, but are also available as standalone packages from the Microsoft Catalog.
While most security updates are released on Patch Tuesday, if a critical vulnerability is discovered that Microsoft deems necessary to patch immediately, they will release what is called an out-of-band update that does not follow the normal Patch Tuesday schedule.
An example of a recent out-of-band update was one released in May 2019 for the remote desktop BlueKeep vulnerability that could allow the creation of wormable malware such as WannaCry. As Microsoft felt that this was an important vulnerability to fix, they did not wait for the next Patch Tuesday to release the security update.
Every month, BleepingComputer releases a Patch Tuesday article that summarizes all of the security fixes released that month, with information about certain critical vulnerabilities.
Windows 10 Servicing Stack Update (SSU)
Windows 10 Servicing Stack Updates (SSUs) are released to resolve issues related to Windows Update. For example, if there is an issue that is known to cause an update to not install properly, Microsoft may release a Servicing Stack Update to resolve that issue before other updates are released.
Windows 10 SSUs are generally released before the monthly updates to improve the reliability of the update process and mitigate potential issues.
Windows 10 Compatibility and Reliability Update
Windows 10 Compatibility and Reliability Updates are out-of-band releases that do not follow the standard release schedule.
Windows 10 Compatibility Updates make improvements to ease the installation experience when updating to a new version of Windows 10, while Windows 10 Reliability Updates include new reliability improvements to the Windows Update components in the OS.
Windows 10 Microcode updates
Microsoft releases Intel microcode updates that mitigate know vulnerabilities or hardware issues in CPUs. Microcode updates can be seen as patches for how the CPU interacts with the operating system.
These updates do not follow the standard release schedule and Microsoft keeps track of the available Microcode updates in a support bulletin.
Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
Every month, Microsoft releases an update to their Malicious Software Removal Tool that can be used to remove known infections from a computer. This program is not an antivirus program, but rather a post-infection removal tool.
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A new version is released every month with new detections for any new malware that was discovered over the past month.
Windows users can launch the tool by typing mrt and pressing enter. This will launch the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and walk you through using it to scan your computer.
Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus
Security Intelligence Updates are simply a new name for the previous “Definition Update for Windows Defender Antivirus” updates.
These updates can be released multiple times a day and are used to update the detections used by Windows Defender Antivirus or, soon to be called, Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
These updates are integral for the proper operation of Windows Defender Antivirus as they contain detections for new malware that Microsoft has discovered and determined to be malicious.
Managing Windows updates
Now that you know the different types of updates that will be installed by Windows 10, it is also important to learn how to manage them.
You can use the following guides to search for, remove, and manually install Windows updates:
How to Get a List of Installed Windows 10 Updates
How to Manually Install Windows 10 Cumulative Updates
How to Uninstall Windows 10 Updates Manually
— Update: 21-03-2023 — us.suanoncolosence.com found an additional article Different types of Windows Updates released for Windows OS from the website www.thewindowsclub.com for the keyword different types windows updates.
If you have ever used a Windows device, you might have encountered updates often — just before switching off your computer. Sometimes your device asks you to install critical updates. Then there are six yearly feature updates that are essential too! What are all these Windows Updates? What is the difference between different types of Windows Updates? Let’s take a look at them. Before that, let’s check out the difference between Windows Updates and Microsoft Updates.
Windows Updates vs. Microsoft Updates
The term Windows Updates refers to the updates and service packs available for Windows operating systems. Microsoft, as a software giant, also keeps updating its other products such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneDrive, and such products. Any updates applicable to the entire operating system, MS Office, OneDrive, and other things such as games, etc. are called Microsoft Updates. Updates applicable to only to the operating system are Windows Updates. You can say that Windows Update is a subset of Microsoft Updates.
Updates that affect all software like Office software in entirety or to a particular software (such as Outlook) within it is called Microsoft Update. The delivery pattern of both Windows Update and Microsoft Update depends on the types of Windows Update. For example, if the monthly updates are applied on every second Tuesday of each month.
Read: Terms used by Microsoft to describe the various software updates released by it.
We’ll talk about types of Windows Updates now.
Types of Windows Updates
You might have encountered the following types of Windows Updates when working on Windows devices.
- Critical Update: It is a worldwide release update for any specific issue that is not related to the security that the operating system offers; such updates are released to address a critical but non-security issues
- Definition Update: Definition update is a Windows update that adds or modifies the definition database of Windows operating system; A definition database is a database that is built into the operating system to help it identify malicious code, phishing sites, and junk mail
- Update: An update addresses a noncritical, non-security-related bug.
- Driver Updates: are the ones that affect the working of one or more device drivers
- Security Updates: Updates that address security-related issues in an operating system are called security updates; These Windows Updates are generally issued after some security organization finds a fault in any operating system and notifies Microsoft; Microsoft creates a patch (update), asap or within a fixed period, to fix those issues; The update is then released worldwide; often users are also notified via email to download these security updates
- Feature Pack Updates: Are updates that make changes to specific features of the operating system; such updates are released as and when available to a selected set of users; if that set of users provide good feedback about the changes in operating system features, Microsoft includes the changes into the next big release of Windows Operating Software; Currently, you get two feature updates every year if you are using Windows 10
- Monthly Rollup: Among the different types of Windows updates, you also get monthly rollup as an update on every second Tuesday normally; this update includes all the updates rolled out previous month plus additional definitions of malware
- Service Pack: It is a cumulative set of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, fixes, and updates. It is a set of Windows Updates that were released between two successive versions of Windows operating system. The age of Service Packs is over now.
- Tool updates: These are updates to the built-in utilities and tools.
- Update rollup: A cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment
- Full updates: They have all the necessary components and files that have changed since the last feature update.
- Express updates: They generate differential downloads for every component in the full update based on several historical bases.
- Delta updates: They include only the components that changed in the most recent quality update, and will only install if a device already has the previous month’s update installed.
- Security Quality Update: It contains all the previous updates.
- Security Monthly Quality Rollup: It contains only the current month’s updates.
- Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup: These preview releases contain only non-security updates, and are meant to provide testing of the planned non-security updates targeted for the next month’s Update Tuesday release.
- Service Stack Updates: They are kept separate from the regular cumulative updates because these Cumulative Updates add new and more optimized files to the operating system.
These are some of the different types of Windows Updates.
You might want to also read about the Windows Update Expiration Policy.
Also read: What is the difference between Windows Update and Upgrade.