What New Update Process for Windows 7 and 8.1 Means for Enterprises

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2016-10-12 Print this article Print

According to Microsoft, everything should work well, but if it doesn't, then the company suggests in its blog that you immediately stop further updates and contact technical support. Fortunately, the new update process does allow updates to be rolled back, so you should be OK until a fix to the update is found.

Unfortunately, things don't always work well, and the problem may not be with Windows. It's not uncommon for enterprises to have custom applications written in-house, for example. It's also common for enterprises to use specialized commercial applications from vendors where the focus was on getting the software to work on the platform for which it was originally written. Then, when the platform changes, say because of an update, it stops working properly.

This is the reason that enterprises liked the ability to pick and choose updates—so that a specific update that broke a critical application could be bypassed. Now you can't do that.

Instead, an enterprise with specialized or custom applications will have to make sure that the vendor stays up to date with changes in Windows. For critical applications, this may become a contractual requirement. It may also mean that your in-house developers be required to adhere to Microsoft's guidelines for application development and avoid quick little hacks that seem cool at the time, but that break when Windows is updated.

In addition, you should plan on following Microsoft's deployment suggestions, especially when it comes to deployment rings, so that you begin deploying updates to only a few computers, then a wider group and finally to the whole company as you determine that the update won't break anything.

It's also important to plan your deployments so that you designate where security-only updates go, where the more general updates go and who, if anyone, should get preview updates. This may require more hands-on management of the update process than you'd like, but in the long run it should make Windows more trouble-free in your enterprise than it has been in the past.

At least that's the idea. Your experience may vary.


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