Microsoft Announces Changes for Optional Monthly Windows Updates

Microsoft paused the rollout of optional cumulative updates for Windows 10 devices in March because of the global health crisis, and now that situations are slowly returning to normal, the organization plans to resume the program next month.

However, the software giant is also announcing a number of changes which will streamline the testing of those optional updates without disturbing the typical Update Tuesday, also known as Patch Tuesday, cycle.

First and foremost, these updates are no longer called optional, but preview. Therefore if so far users checking for updates to download these releases were supplied with an optional tag in Windows Update, beginning the following month, these will carry a preview tag. For instance, this is how a preview update could appear in Windows Update:

2020-07 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 version 2004 for x86-based systems (KB1234567)

Then, Microsoft states that while the optional updates previously landed in the C and D weeks, they are now going live in C week exclusively. Microsoft uses the next names because of its release schedule:

B week = second week of every month (Patch Tuesday week)
C week = third week of every month
D week = fourth week of each month

So starting with July 2020, the preview updates would only find the third week of every month, moving which should technically provide everyone with increased here we are at testing before the next Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft says the preview updates would no more show up on WSU or Windows Server in the WSUS channel. “This ensures a consistent update management experience across all supported versions of Windows in your environment,” the company explains.

As a summary, here’s what’s changing for optional updates starting with July 2020:

Optional updates now called preview updates
Released in the third week of the month
No longer readily available for WSUS devices
No change for Patch Tuesday schedule