Newsletter Archives

  • On name changes in the Insider program, optional updates, and Windows in general


    The hallmark of a good product numbering scheme is that you set it once and forget it. Internal code names can run all over the Iron Pyrite map. But version numbers are version numbers. It’s insane that the XP-era Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2004 arrived seventeen years – and a half dozen versions – apart. (Thx, @b – Let’s do the time warp again…)


    The hallmark of a good beta testing program is that you set the framework/nomenclature, and tweak the product until it works. Microsoft has changed and abused its “Insider Ring” bafflegab for years (remember how the Release Preview Ring was supposed to have, uh, previews of releases? That didn’t last long.) We now have Insider Channels:

    Let’s see how long this distinction lasts.


    Speaking of Preview Channels, MS is bringing back the “optional, non-security” patches for Win10. ‘Softie Chris Morrisey trips all over himself trying to reconcile reality with terminology:

    Based on feedback and the ongoing stabilization of business continuity, we will resume optional releases in July of 2020 for Windows 10 and Windows Server, version 1809 and later, to once again provide you with the ability to test planned non-security fixes targeted for the next month’s Update Tuesday (or “B”) release… to simplify update management for IT, these “Preview” releases will be delivered in the “C” week only. There is no change to the cumulative monthly security updates (also referred to as the “B” release or Update Tuesday release).

    Puh-lease. I know lots of people who deal with Microsoft’s bad patches – and I don’t know a single one who’s provided MS with feedback that they want the old “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches back. Morrisey promises that the new version of the Preview releases (not to be confused with the Preview Channel, see above) will require a click on a “Download and install” link.

    If you’re confused by the terminology, think of it this way. Patch Tuesday will still be on the second Tuesday of the month. These Preview (not Preview Channel) patches are supposed to arrive during the week containing the third Tuesday of the month. In the past, they’ve appeared in the weeks containing the third, fourth and fifth Tuesdays, but this time MS will do better. Promise.


    I have a theory. I bet that MS is bringing back the “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patches specifically to handle the kind of bug we saw last week, where the Patch Tuesday patch broke networked printers with PCL 5 and PCL 6 type 3 drivers. In the future, MS will be able to recover from its Patch Tuesday blunders by telling punters to install the optional update.

    Wanna bet?

    Don’t get me started about “non-security” patches fixing bugs in security patches.