Windows Devices Need 2 Hours of Continuous Connectivity for Update Compliance

Microsoft last week informed IT pros that Windows machines need to be powered up for at least two continuous hours, and connected to the Internet, to be maintained in a properly updated state.

Updates typically get delivered to Windows devices automatically through the Windows Update service. Devices need at least two hours of continuous Internet connectivity "and six total connected hours after an update is released to reliably update," Microsoft explained.

This odd time-range requirement is needed because some devices are just "intermittently connected to the internet," explained David Guyer, a program manager for Windows Updates in Endpoint Manager, in the comments section of the announcement.

This patching compliance period is measured by a Microsoft service. It gets reported in the Microsoft Intune management portal as an "Update Connectivity" measurement. It's shown Microsoft Endpoint Manager Configuration Manager, too, via its "Update Compliance" view.

If an organization isn't connected to Microsoft services, then they are out of luck, and can't view the Update Connectivity measurement.

"Because the data that drives the InsufficientUpdateConnectivity alert is pulled from online Microsoft services, we don't currently have any plans to add this for on-prem servicing," Guyer explained.

Devices that do not meet the minimum Update Connectivity requirements should be considered unsuccessful devices. They aren't good candidates for getting more updates until they first meet Microsoft's Update Connectivity stipulations, Guyer advised. They aren't good candidates for troubleshooting problems as well, he added.

Guyer advised following Microsoft's Windows 10 baseline settings recommendations for power settings on devices. It's available in an "Optimizing Windows 10 Update Adoption.pdf" document, which is available for download at this page. End users could be setting device sleep settings that are too fast to meet Microsoft's optimal Update Connectivity requirements, he acknowledged.

Another way that IT departments can address the issue is just tell end users to leave their devices on, perhaps overnight.

"You can work to ensure that more devices across your organization meet the minimum Update Connectivity measurement by communicating with device owners, encouraging them to leave their devices plugged in and connected -- instead of powering them off overnight -- so that updates can download and install properly," Guyer stated.

The Update Connectivity requirement seems like an unwelcome surprise. For end users, it might be considered a hidden electrical cost of using Windows, all to keep Microsoft's recurring patch system going.

One person commenting on Microsoft's announcement noted that it doesn't play well with Microsoft's overall environmental "carbon negative"-type messaging. Microsoft often touts its carbon emissions reduction plans, typically regarding its datacenter power use.

About the Author

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


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