Microsoft in denial about concerns regarding shoddy Windows 10 patches
Susan Bradley carries 'Patch Lady' as her middle name and it is not hard to see why. Susan is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who specializes in updating and securing Windows PCs in the enterprise. While Windows 10's frequent update cadence might be warranted in this age of devious malware, the quality of recent fixes has prompted people like Susan to caution enterprises about the potential pitfalls of shoddy updates.
Susan has written an open letter addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft Corporate VP of Windows Servicing and Delivery Carlos Picoto, and Microsoft Executive VP Cloud and Enterprise Group Scott Guthrie, drawing their attention towards the diminishing quality control in recent Windows 10 patches. She writes,
Today, as Windows 10 turns three years old, I am writing to you to ensure that you are aware of the dissatisfaction your customers have with the updates released for Windows desktops and servers in recent months. The quality of updates released in the month of July, in particular, has placed customers in a quandary: install updates and face issues with applications, or don't install updates and leave machines subject to attack."
Calling out the ineffectiveness of the Windows Insider program in improving update quality control, she writes,
It appears that there is a breakdown in the testing process. The Windows 10 insider process is not able to identify issues on released products. When your own products break with these releases, it is clear that current testing processes are not good enough."
Susan also touches upon various instances and her own survey results, which show that the overall quality of monthly patches needs to be improved. She also felt that communication with regards to patches involving third-party vendors such as the recent Spectre/Meltdown issue needs to be more faster and detailed. She wraps up saying,
We want Microsoft software to be such that we can indeed install all updates and patches immediately without reservation. As it stands right now, we do not trust the software and the patching quality enough to do so."
Microsoft, on its part, has declined to comment on Susan Bradley's letter but is still insistent that the Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) model is the best way forward. Microsoft's WaaS Evangelist John Wilcox notes that the monthly updates are built around being 'simple and predictable, agile, and transparent'. Addressing IT admins, Wilcox said,
You should be able to plan a time, well in advance, to work on new updates. You also shouldn't have to memorize multiple release schedules; the Windows release cadence should align with that of other Microsoft products.. [Y]ou should be able to understand and prepare for updates in advance. This includes guides for common servicing tools, simple release notes, and access to assistance or a feedback system to provide input."
Microsoft is moving to a predictive update model in the next Windows 10 release codenamed Redstone 5, which is expected to restart the PC only when the user has stepped away for a considerable amount of time. While most of the above concerns are regarding the enterprise deployment of updates and feature releases, home users are left with no option but to update their PCs often. Still it helps to periodically evaluate whether installed software pose any compatible issues and update to newer versions wherever possible.
Susan Bradley's letter can be read in full in the ComputerWorld source link below.