IT Pros Face August 12 Deadline on Updates to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
August 12 will be a big milestone day for IT pros managing Microsoft's latest Windows operating systems.
Organizations running Windows 8.1 clients, Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry for devices or Windows Server 2012 R2 need to apply an update released by Microsoft back in April by Tuesday, Aug. 12 or future updates to those operating systems will stop arriving. This update sets a new "baseline" for those operating systems, so it's required to get future security and nonsecurity patches from Microsoft after Aug. 12.
After Aug. 12, if the Windows Update service on a client or server device doesn't find the April update installed, it will just ignore all subsequent OS updates, deeming them "not applicable" to the device.
When applied, the April update will change how the OS works. Quite a lot of the changes are designed to improve the user interface for keyboard and mouse users. However, the April update does not include a new Start Menu. Microsoft has said that's still under development and planned for the next code-named "Threshold" OS release.
The install deadline for the April update is a new requirement that Microsoft initiated in April without offering much explanation. Microsoft actually had extended its original install deadline after some organizations experienced problems getting it through Windows Server Update Services version 3.2. Those problems were addressed with a Microsoft-issued fix.
Oddly, there's no requirement for Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 users to install the April upgrade by Aug. 12. Microsoft appears to consider Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.1/Windows Server 2012 R2 to be on separate tracks.
IT pros also face a couple of coincidences on Aug. 12 that may make for a busy week. First, Aug. 12 is when Microsoft will release its monthly security and nonsecurity software patches for the month of August. Second, Microsoft plans to deliver a "minor" update to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 on Aug. 12 that is newer than the April update.
Microsoft calls the April update the "Windows 8.1 Update." The minor update coming on Aug. 12, though, is just called "the August update" (no build number available from Microsoft). The August update is not a required installation for organizations running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2. However, in order to get the August update, the April update needs to be installed beforehand.
There is no "Windows 8.1 Update 2," which many press accounts had referred to, based on unofficial sources. It's thought that Microsoft may have planned a more substantial update release for this month than the modest August update that will appear.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.