Windows 7 and 8.1 moving to Monthly Rollups model

Microsoft is releasing monthly rollups for Windows 7 and 8.1.  This changes how updates are applied and should be a big improvement.  Read on for further details.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Monthly Rollups

Microsoft announced major changes on how Windows 7 and 8.1 will be patched with software updates. This will bring them in line with Windows 10, now with cumulative monthly rollups. Rather than individual updates, all the recent updates will be packaged in a single update.

Microsoft explains this should simplify updating, make it more cohesive and improve reliability:

The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates.

Now with monthly rollups, all security and reliability updates will be released in a single update. So rather than lots of individual updates, there will be just a single update needed to patch a Windows 7.1/8.1 system with all the latest updates.  Monthly rollups will be cumulative, superseding the previous month’s rollup.  

Monthly Rollups - Better than Windows 7 SP2?

Back in May Microsoft released a one of "convenience rollup", as announced here - Simplifying updates for Windows 7 and 8.1. This included all Windows 7 SP1 updates up through April 2016 and at the time this was the closest many thought we would get to Windows 7 SP2.

Monthly Rollups simply Windows SP1 updates

With the new monthly rollups, this is set to improve further.  Over time Microsoft will add older patches to monthly rollups.  This will make it possible eventually to fully patch Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1 RTM just with the latest monthly rollup.

Our goal is eventually to include all of the patches we have shipped in the past since the last baseline, so that the Monthly Rollup becomes fully cumulative and you need only to install the latest single rollup to be up to date.

These changes start in October 2016. There are other details worth checking out in the official announcement, including:

  • Security-only update - a leaner security-only update containing only that month's security patches will also available 
  • Individual patches will no longer be available
  • Rollups with multiple patches in a single update also applies to Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2

Further simplifying servicing models for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Monthly Rollups - Common update servicing model

It's great to see Microsoft invest in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 taking whats worked well with Windows 10.  If you have recently tried to patch a Windows 7 box, it just takes ages, so this is really welcome.  Let's face it Windows 7 will be around for quite some time yet!