Unified Update Platform for Windows 11 Now at Public Preview

Microsoft's Unified Update Platform (UUP) for Windows 11 is now available at the public preview stage, Microsoft announced on Monday.

Despite the public preview milestone, organizations wanting to try it need to sign up with Microsoft to get it. A form is available here. There's also an on-boarding process to use it, which will "enable UUP and sync updates."

Back in July, UUP was just available as a private preview. Microsoft has talked about UUP since maybe 2016. It was mostly described as a means for reducing the size of Windows updates, but now Microsoft seems to have revamped it with other perks. It'll have an "automatic corruption repair" capability, for instance, which is a new capability.

Here's how the announcement characterized UUP:

The Unified Update Platform (UUP) is the next iteration of our system for delivering Windows OS quality and feature updates. It offers improved delivery technologies in response to IT admin requests for more seamless updates, more control over installation time, more battery life, and lighter download size.

Microsoft is planning to make UUP the de facto approach for updates, stating that "starting in early 2023, all new releases of Windows will be serviced with UUP updates."

The changeover to UUP will affect organizations that manage Windows updates using tools such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Microsoft Configuration Manager. UUP is supported on "version 2203 or later" of Configuration Manager.

UUP is just bringing a Windows update format change. UUP won't be replacing WSUS and Configuration Manager, Microsoft clarified, in its July announcement:

"We have updated the timeline image to clarify that UUP does not replace WSUS or Configuration Manager as the source of updates, but rather that UUP will the format for Windows 11 updates delivered to/via Configuration Manager and WSUS starting in Q1 2023," wrote Heather Poulsen of Microsoft, in the comments section.

Microsoft contends that UUP will improve processes when using WSUS and Configuration Manager. The perks include:

  • Updates via servicing, instead of "media-based task sequences"
  • One reboot needed to attain security compliance
  • The ability to install Features on Demand and Language Packs, which get retained during the next upgrades, and
  • The ability to perform "task sequences for other custom actions."

Microsoft is encouraging IT pros to do task sequencing using UUP's "Software Update" process, rather than build an operating system image.

"You can continue to use a Task Sequence but integrated with the Software Update instead of needing to build a custom OS image," the announcement explained.

When UUP is commercially released early next year, "Windows 11 version 22H2 and later releases will be UUP updates," the announcement noted. These UUP updates will arrive "automatically."

Microsoft's one stipulation in preparation for UUP's arrival next year is that "devices should be updated through April 2022."

In other update and deployment news, Microsoft this week announced that its "expedited deployment" feature for quality updates using the Windows Update for Business service is currently available. It lets organizations push particular updates down to devices. Organizations may want to expedite patches when zero-day vulnerabilities need remedying, for example. Certain licensing is required to use the expedited deployment feature. A table listing what's needed can be found in the announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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