Should you install preview rollups for Windows?

Microsoft releases previews of monthly rollup updates for the operating systems Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows 2012 R2 on the third Tuesday of each month.

The company announced the switch from the classic updating scheme to monthly rollup updates for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 in late 2016.

These preview updates are not installed automatically through Windows Update and they won’t get installed on the majority of Windows devices because of that. The preview rollups are published to WSUS and available via Windows Update as optional updates and they may also be downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

The preview updates are non-security in nature and Microsoft will roll them out on the second Tuesday of the coming month as part of Patch Tuesday.

Note: The preview rollups contain non-security updates that Microsoft plans to include in the coming month’s rollup update for the operating system and previous rollups.

The updates may be installed on any supported version of Windows and there are good reasons for installing them when they become available and for not installing them.

Should you install preview rollups for Windows?

preview monthly rollup updates windows

Should you install the monthly preview rollups or should you wait? Short answer: unless you have a reason for installing the non-security patches early, you should not.

System administrators, technicians, software developers and other professionals may install previews to test the updates on computer systems before they are made available on the second Tuesday of each month. It is ideal for testing scenarios where you want to make sure that computers you manage are not affected adversely by updates.

Home users may want to install these updates as well provided that they resolve issues that they face.

If a preview update fixes a bug that affects you negatively, you may want to install the preview update to get it resolved then and there, and not three weeks later when the updates are rolled out to the majority of devices.

You may only make the decision if you know what the updates improve on the system. Microsoft releases a — partial — changelog whenever it publishes new monthly preview updates.

I suggest you pay a visit to the update history pages to find out about the changes and decide whether you need that update as early as possible.

  • Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 changelog
  • Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 changelog

Preview updates may fix issues and make other changes that you like or need but they may also introduce new issues. It is important that you check the “known issues” section of the changelog to make sure that the updates don’t introduce new issues that you may be affected by.

The January 2018 preview rollup update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, for example,  introduced a issue which caused in smart card-based operations issue on affected systems.

Now You: Do you install preview updates on Windows?

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