Earlier this week, Microsoft released a new cumulative update for the Windows 10 version 1703, aka the Creators Update. Unlike the usual Patch Tuesday updates, which include both security fixes and other general improvements, this latest cumulative update was described by Microsoft as a non-security update with only "quality improvements."
Based on feedback from customers, we are making some adjustments to the updates that we are releasing for Windows 10, version 1703 (also known as the “Creators Update”). With these changes, we will routinely offer one (or sometimes more than one) additional update each month. These additional cumulative updates will contain only new non-security updates, so they will be considered “Updates” in WSUS and Configuration Manager.
Installing these non-security cumulative updates will change the minor build number, as did the one released earlier this week which bumped the OS to build 15063.250. For consumers like you and me, this means that you'll be asked a little more often to install updates and reboot your computer. This new update schedule will also affect Windows Insiders on the Release Preview Ring, which will "get these same updates, but earlier in the process before they are published broadly to Windows Update, WSUS, and the Windows Update Catalog," explained Niehaus.
If you're worried about these updates disturbing your workflow, we remind you that the Creators Update gives Windows 10 users more control over the update process: once an update is ready to be installed on your PC, you can either pick a time that suits you best or "snooze" the update for three days.
As Niehaus explained, this new update schedule will also affect business users using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager to manage the deployment of Windows updates. Those new non-security cumulative updates will usually be labeled as "Updates" in both tools, but in some cases they will appear as "Critical Updates" when they "address more critical issues that could be affecting organizations," said Niehaus.
Either way, these non-security cumultative updates won't be installed automatically on PCs that have been configured with Windows Update for Business policies: organizations will be able to deploy them immediately, push them to only a subset of devices or not deploy them at all. "There is no harm in doing this since the same fixes will be included in the next “Update Tuesday” cumulative update (along with all the new security fixes). To clarify, Niehaus added in the comments that this new update schedule is meant to allow business users to test non-security fixes earlier than before:
Before, most organizations picked up new security and non-security updates in the cumulative update released on Update Tuesday. Now those non-security updates will be available a couple of weeks earlier. This gives you the opportunity to validate these non-security fixes, in advance of the Update Tuesday package (which will include the same fixes, so if you don’t deploy this non-security update, you’ll still get the same fixes a couple of weeks later).
For now, this new update schedule won't affect users of Windows Server 2016, though Niehaus said that "we’re looking at the potential for doing this for other Windows releases at some point in the future." Overall, this is the first major change to "Windows as a Service," and we'll see how it goes. There is probably a fine line between keeping your OS up to date and reaching "update fatigue," so let us know in the comments if you think this new update schedule could be an annoyance for consumers and business users.