Windows Updates Can Take 8 Hours

News

According to new research by a Microsoft program manager, it could take as long as 8 hours, connected to the Internet, for devices to fully download Microsoft updates.

The Update Challenge – Time

A blog post in Microsoft’s Tech Community by program manager David Guyer, highlighted how one important challenge for Microsoft is trying to understand why Windows devices are not always fully up to date. Mr Guyer’s research found that the answer may be that devices which aren’t connected for enough time may be very unlikely to successfully update.

Update Connectivity – 8 Hours In Total

According to Mr Guyer’s research, the measurement of “Update Connectivity: the time (in hours) that a device is powered on and also connected to Microsoft services” is vital in ensuring that updates are fully and properly delivered. The research data indicates that “devices need a minimum of two continuous connected hours, and six total connected hours after an update is released to reliably update. 

Why?

The research showed that the reasons why this amount of ‘Update Connectivity’ is needed is because this will fully allow for a successful download and background installations that are able to restart or resume once a device is active and connected.

The Challenges To Update Connectivity Time

Businesses and organisations may, however, be facing a number of challenges when it comes to fully updating their devices and achieving the right amount of ‘Update Connectivity’ time. These challenges include:

– Around half of devices that are not on a serviced build of Windows 10 don’t currently meet the minimum Update Connectivity measurement.

– Around one-quarter of Windows 10 devices on a serviced build but have security updates that are more than 60 days out of date, have less than the minimum Update Connectivity.

– Device-specific issues may affect how thoroughly they are updated.

– The device owner may power their devices off overnight so that updates can’t download and install properly.

– In the light of this research, devices with insufficient Update Connectivity could, therefore, pose a security risk (because they may not be updated properly).

– Some power settings and related policies can stop updates from occurring outside active hours.

What To Do

According to David Guyer, measures businesses could take to tackle these challenges include:

– Encourage device owners to leave their devices plugged in and connected overnight so that updates can download and install properly.

– Read about and consider using the Windows 10 Update Baseline set of tools. These provide recommended power settings that can provide the right balance of power savings while also enabling devices to keep up with the latest security updates – see https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=101056

– Look at possibly taking action to improve update compliance in devices that don’t have sufficient Update Connectivity.

– Filter out devices that are known not have the minimum Update Connectivity from success metrics, thereby improving the true measure of device deployment success.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This research offers the ‘Update Connectivity’ idea as a way to understand why some devices are not updating successfully, as well as a way to better measure deployment success. If Update Connectivity and the figure of 8 hours to deliver Windows updates successfully are to be accepted as accurate, this could mean that many businesses may be unwittingly operating with devices that actually pose a security risk. Businesses may wish to adopt some of the measures suggested by David Guyer to be absolutely sure that updates have the best chance of being successfully installed in full, thereby closing what may now be a known security risk. The research may also prompt businesses to review the quality of devices being used by staff, and how policies can be changed and communicated to ensure that staff allow enough Update Connectivity time e.g., leave devices connected overnight.

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