For Windows 7 and Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 users life has been getting worse as Microsoft MSFT +1.38%gradually morphed them ever more into Windows 10.Forced updates may be over, but commercially they have since been killed off and there’s added telemetry tracking. But Microsoft is now about to fix one of their biggest Windows 10-inspired flaws: it’s time to wave goodbye to the ‘patchocalypse’…

Posting under the catchy headline ‘Update to Supersedence Behaviour for Security Only and Security Monthly Quality Rollup Updates’, Microsoft field engineer Scott Breen says the patchocalypse (which created huge Windows 7 and Windows 8 update sizes) is no more.

Forced updates to Windows 10 updates have been heavily (and rightly) criticised, but Windows 7 and Windows 8 users are about to get a better deal. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

“Based on feedback, the team has updated the supersedence relationship of updates so that Security Only updates are not superseded. In addition, the logic of the updates has been modified so that if the Monthly Quality update is installed (which contains the security updates), the security update will not be applicable.”

Breen spells out the benefits as Windows 7 and Windows 8 users as now being able to:

  • Selectively install Security Only updates at any time
  • Periodically deploy the Security Monthly Quality Rollup and only deploy the Security Only updates since then, and;
  • More easily monitor software update compliance using Configuration Manager or WSUS.

But boiling this down even more, what it translates to is users can accept the latest security updates without being forced to download anything else. You get a lean mean operating system and wave goodbye to security updates being dependent on you accepting every feature, bug patch or new telemetry tracker Microsoft throws at you.

How Microsoft has done this is by making its Windows 7 and Windows 8 Monthly Rollup patches (a collection of anything you may have missed) easily dividable into security patches and everything else.

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Windows 7 and Windows 8 users are no longer pushed to upgrade to Windows 10. Image credit: Microsoft

Thankfully this puts an end to an accept all / reject all policy that left users feeling either exploited if they opted for the former, or vulnerable if they opted for the latter. What’s the bad news? This is how Windows 7 and Windows 8 used to work before Microsoft tried to force them to use the accept all Windows 10 method.

What fuelled this? I’d like to say common sense, after all this wasn’t the behaviour Windows 7 and Windows 8 users signed up for when the platforms were new. But on the other hand the Windows 10 free upgrade window is over so what’s the point in poking users who aren’t going anywhere? Especially when the end of retail sales will get them all to Windows 10 in the end anyway.

Yes, the changes are not as good as the Windows 10 smart upgrades Microsoft recently announced (of course). But ultimately life on Windows 7 and Windows 8 has just got a lot better / closer to the good old days. And that’s a win.

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