Microsoft's Windows Update Missives Get More 'Relevant'

Microsoft is talking up the ways it has improved the Knowledge Base (KB) articles used by IT pros in patching Windows systems, making them more "relevant and actionable."

The changes took effect back in March, according to Microsoft. These KB articles are now getting short descriptions upfront, called "blurbs" by Microsoft, that describe the "symptoms" being addressed by the cumulative update software patch. Microsoft releases cumulative updates for its software products every month. They are called "cumulative" because the patch contains past fixes for the software component, as well as the current month's fix.

If more detail needs to be included than afforded by this short KB article blurb format, Microsoft adds links to its support articles within the KB article, which it calls "article inlining." Only if that inlining approach becomes too unwieldy does Microsoft create "an individual fix article" that's longer, containing greater detail.

Reactions to this new approach with KB articles "have been predominantly positive and encouraging," Microsoft indicated, although it is still getting user feedback.

Possibly, it's so. Microsoft's voluminous Security Update Guide, describing security patches each month, now seems to contain KB articles that are a little more verbose. In the recent past, KB articles have looked like repetitive machine-generated content (although, the new stuff still has a machine-dump air to it). Microsoft's announcement somewhat implied that humans might still be involved in overseeing its KB articles by saying that "the article writing, and documentation process is the last step in the cumulative update release cycle."

Microsoft's announcement didn't mention it, but it seems that the Microsoft Security Response Center blog has stopped announcing "update Tuesday" releases (security fixes that arrive on the second Tuesday each month). The last MSRC patch Tuesday announcement was posted back in March. IT pros can get clued into when an update Tuesday patch release occurs by following third-party software security company announcements, or by subscribing to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency notices.

About the Author

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

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