With the introduction of the Office 365 licensing program, however, Microsoft once again activated a separate Office update service to service Office 365 customers. Owners of perpetual Microsoft Office licenses continue to receive updates through Microsoft Update.
The original update service supported Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007. On 1 August 2009 Microsoft decommissioned the Office Update service, merging it with Microsoft Update. Microsoft Update does not support Office 2000.
Office Update is a free online service that allows users to detect and install updates for certain Microsoft Office products.
At the February 2005 RSA Conference, Microsoft announced the first beta of Microsoft Update, an optional replacement for Windows Update that provides security patches, service packs and other updates for both Windows and other Microsoft software. The initial release in June 2005 provided support for Microsoft Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and SQL Server 2000, running on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003. Over time, the list has expanded to include other Microsoft products, such as Windows Live, Windows Defender, Visual Studio, runtimes and redistributables, Zune Software, Virtual PC and Virtual Server, CAPICOM, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Expression Studio, and other server products. It also offers Silverlight and Windows Media Player as optional downloads if applicable to the operating system.
Windows Update Agent can be managed through a Control Panel applet, as well as Group Policy, Microsoft Intune and Windows PowerShell. It can also be set to automatically download and install both important and recommended updates. In prior versions of Windows, such updates were only available through the Windows Update web site. Additionally, Windows Update in Windows Vista supports downloading Windows Ultimate Extras, optional software for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.
Starting with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Windows Update Agent replaces both the Windows Update web app and the Automatic Updates client. It is in charge of downloading and installing software update from Windows Update, as well as the on-premises servers of Windows Server Updates Services or System Center Configuration Manager.
Windows Update Agent on Windows 10 supports peer to peer distribution of updates; by default, systems' bandwidth is used to distribute previously downloaded updates to other users, in combination with Microsoft servers. Users may optionally change Windows Update to only perform peer to peer updates within their local area network.
Windows 10 contains major changes to Windows Update Agent operations; it no longer allows the manual, selective installation of updates. All updates, regardless of type (this includes hardware drivers), are downloaded and installed automatically, and users are only given the option to choose whether their system would reboot automatically to install updates when the system is inactive, or be notified to schedule a reboot. Microsoft offers a diagnostic tool that can be used to hide troublesome device drivers and prevent them from being reinstalled, but only after they had been already installed, then uninstalled without rebooting the system.
Windows Update Agent makes use of the Transactional NTFS feature introduced with Windows Vista to apply updates to Windows system files. This feature helps Windows recover cleanly in the event of an unexpected failure, as file changes are committed atomically.
Windows 10 also introduced cumulative updates. For example, if Microsoft released updates KB00001 in July, KB00002 in August, and KB00003 in September, Microsoft would release cumulative update KB00004 which packs KB00001, KB00002, and KB00003 together. Installing KB00004 will also install KB00001, KB00002 and KB00003, mitigating the need for multiple restarts and reducing the number of downloads needed. However, a disadvantage of cumulative updates is that downloading and installing updates that fix individual problems is no longer possible.
Unlike Automatic Updates in Windows XP, Windows Update Agent in Windows Vista and Windows 7 allows the user to postpone the mandatory restart (required for the update process to complete) for up to four hours. The revised dialog box that prompts for the restart appears under other windows, instead of on top of them. However, standard user accounts only have 15 minutes to respond to this dialog box. This was changed with Windows 8: Users have 3 days (72 hours) before the computer reboots automatically after installing automatic updates that require a reboot. Windows 8 also consolidates the restart requests for non-critical updates into just one per month. Additionally, the login screen notifies them of the restart requirements.
Other Microsoft update management solutions, such as Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager, do not override Windows Update for Business. Rather, they force Windows 10 into the "dual scan mode". This can cause confusion for administrators who do not comprehend the full ramifications of the dual scan mode.
Critical Update Notification Utility (initially Critical Update Notification Tool) is a background process that checks the Windows Update web site on a regular schedule for new updates that have been marked as "Critical". It was released shortly after Windows 98.
The Windows Update web app requires either Internet Explorer or a third-party web browser that supports the ActiveX technology. The first version of the web app, version 3, does not send any personally-identifiable information to Microsoft. Instead, the app downloads a full list of every available update and chooses which one to download and install. But the list grew so large that the performance impact of processing became a concern. Arie Slob, writing for the Windows-help.net newsletter in March 2003, noted that the size of the update list had exceeded 400 KB, which caused delays of more than a minute for dial-up users. Windows Update v4, released in 2001 in conjunction with Windows XP, changed this. This version of the app makes an inventory of the system's hardware and Microsoft software and sends them to the service, thus offloading the processing burden to Microsoft servers.
An analysis done by security researcher H. D. Moore in early 1999 was critical of this approach, describing it as "horribly inefficient" and susceptible to attacks. In a posting to BugTraq, he explained that, "every single Windows 98 computer that wishes to get an update has to rely on a single host for the security. If that one server got compromised one day, or an attacker cracks the [Microsoft] DNS server again, there could be millions of users installing trojans every hour. The scope of this attack is big enough to attract crackers who actually know what they are doing..."
By default, this check occurs every five minutes, plus when Internet Explorer starts; however, the user could configure the next check to occur only at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. The tool queries the Microsoft server for a file called " ", which contained a list of all the critical updates released for the operating system. The tool then compares this list with the list of installed updates on its machine and displays an update availability notification. Once the check is executed, any custom schedule defined by the user is reverted to the default. Microsoft stated that this ensures that users received notification of critical updates in a timely manner.
Windows Update was introduced as a web app with the launch of Windows 98 and offered additional desktop themes, games, device driver updates, and optional components such as NetMeeting. Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 were retroactively given the ability to access the Windows Update website and download updates designed for those operating systems, starting with the release of Internet Explorer 4. The initial focus of Windows Update was free add-ons and new technologies for Windows. Security fixes for Outlook Express, Internet Explorer and other programs appeared later, as did access to beta versions of upcoming Microsoft software, e.g. Internet Explorer 5. Fixes to Windows 98 to resolve the Year 2000 problem were distributed using Windows Update in December 1998. Microsoft attributed the sales success of Windows 98 in part to Windows Update.
Update may refer to:
Automatic Updates is the successor of the Critical Update Notification Utility. It was released in 2000, along with Windows Me. It supports Windows 2000 SP3 as well.
Windows Update is a Microsoft service for the Windows 9x and Windows NT families of operating system, which automates downloading and installing Microsoft Windows software updates over the Internet. The service delivers software updates for Windows, as well as the various Microsoft antivirus products, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Since its inception, Microsoft has introduced two extensions of the service: Microsoft Update and Windows Update for Business. The former expands the core service to include other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Expression Studio. The latter is available to business editions of Windows 10 and permits postponing updates or receiving updates only after they have undergone rigorous testing.