Microsoft To Activate On-Premises UUP for Windows 11 Cumulative Updates Next Month

Microsoft is planning to turn on its Unified Update Platform (UUP) for organizations that use on-premises tools to update Windows 11 clients, which will be happening as early as next month, according to a Thursday announcement.

Specifically, organizations with Windows 11 version 22H2 clients managed using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Microsoft Configuration Manager will get monthly quality updates via UUP "on premises," which will kick off on March 28. Organizations should make preparations for an initial hefty 10GB download to their server distribution points that will be coming with a March 28 update.

The 10GB update coming to distribution points, called a "foundation" by Microsoft, appears to be a one-time bandwidth hit for organizations. Microsoft is promising that UUP on-premises distribution points will get subsequent downloads that will be "similar to what you've seen in the past."

Organizations that update Windows clients will want to prepare for UUP on premises because "UUP is becoming the default and only way to download quality updates," Microsoft indicated.

UUP On-Premises Benefits
Organizations will get multiple benefits from this coming UUP on-premises foundation. Here's Microsoft's list:

  • Up to 30% smaller client downloads for quality updates
  • Cumulative update integration with feature updates (i.e., get current in one reboot)
  • Seamless retention of installed language packs and optional features (FOD) during feature updates
  • Reduced client downloads for feature updates (i.e., inbox app downloads are conditional)
  • Automatic OS healing during the update processi
  • End-user acquisition of language packs and FOD

The automatic OS healing benefit listed above will attempt to repair corruptions in the "Combined Cumulative Update," based on the UUP on-premises files, Microsoft explained. It'll repair Dynamic Link Library files, "as well as manifest and catalog files."

Microsoft also intends to leverage the UUP on-premises approach for "feature updates to Windows 11, version 22H2 from Windows 10, version 20H1 and later." Exactly when Windows 11 feature updates will be getting the new UUP treatment, though, wasn't stated.

Microsoft's "quality updates" are monthly cumulative update patches that arrive each month on "update Tuesdays," the second Tuesday of each month. "Feature updates" are new Windows versions that replace already installed Windows products via Microsoft's in-place upgrade process.

UUP for Air-Gapped Windows Systems
UUP has been around for more than five years, even though it just reached the public preview stage for Windows 11 back in October. UUP was originally billed as technology that would make Windows updates smaller. However, it now has added capabilities that are designed to help organizations move away from building operating system images on media and shift to carrying out new OS deployments via a servicing approach.

Microsoft's emphasis on UUP becoming available on premises seems to be signal that UUP can be used in "air-gapped" approaches, where Windows updates and upgrades happen via an internal server, and not directly via the Internet. Such a scenario and the new servicing capabilities of UUP were not possible earlier, the announcement suggested:

These capabilities were not available in WSUS before now. Previously, you had to use separate solutions to manage airgap environments, retention, acquisition, and repair. Now you can achieve all of this with UUP on premises!

Organizations will be able to leverage the coming UUP capabilities if they are using any version of WSUS or if they are using Microsoft Configuration Manager "version 2203 and later." WSUS users should prepare for UUP by having Microsoft's February and March updates installed, the announcement indicated.

About the Author

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


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