Microsoft Updates

How to configure Microsoft updates for your computer

In May of 2017, Massey switched from its prior Microsoft update service, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), to a newer service known as System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM).

Previously you will have seen a message similar to the following when there were updates available for your computer:

Now you will receive a notification similar to the following:

Configure Updates

Configure Updates

The newer system offers you greater flexibility to minimise disruption to your work due to an update restarting your computer, while also offering greater security by installing software automatically after the voluntary one-week installation period has expired.

When you see this message, you have the option to install the updates then, or to be reminded later. You can also tell your computer when your working hours are, so the computer can automatically install updates outside of these hours:

To specify your hours of work, configure the following options:

There is a one-week window to install the updates at a time which suits you, after which the installation deadline will be reached, and the updates will be installed automatically.

Just before the software is installed the following notification will appear:

The following dialog box will occur 15 minutes before the computer is restarted after installing updates:

If you experience problems with software on your computer, please contact the ITS Service Desk as you would normally.

Pilot Group

Piloting software updates before wider deployment

Software updates do come with some risks in that they can make changes to software which causes software to work differently, or not work with other software that required a prior version.

The way to minimise the risks posed by these updates is to test them first, which is why Massey has created a collection of computers, known as a ‘pilot group’. The pilot group is made up of 10% of the University’s computers, and they receive the updates two weeks before they are delivered to the rest of the University. The updates are also tested via the test group prior to deployment to the pilot group, so these pilot users are not canaries in the coalmine!

More Information

Background

Software updates are made by software companies to delivery new features, address software ‘bugs’, and to make security improvements.

Software updates generally come in one of two forms. Those which update the operating system of your computer, and associated programs, and those that come from additional software which has been installed.

The majority of Massey’s computers run Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, and these Microsoft updates are a key area of focus for Massey to ensure University computers are kept secure.

In addition to Microsoft’s software, is it important to keep common third party software up-to-date. These include software like Adobe’s PDF reader and Flash, Oracle’s Java, Google’s Chrome, and Apple software like iTunes.

Information on updating applications can be found here: Application Software Updates

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