Yesterday, Microsoft re-re-released three patches -- KB 2952664, KB 2976978 and KB 2977759 -- all of which offer "compatibility" updates for those of you hell-bent on upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 via Windows Update.
We also received two new patches -- KB 3138612 and KB 3138615 -- that update Windows Update by replacing their tired, old counterparts.
KB 2952664, our old "compatibility update" for upgrading Win7 to Win10, is back. The KB article says it's now up to revision 18. I wrote about this patch less than a month ago and have been writing about it since it first appeared in April 2014. Back in October 2014, Microsoft MVP dvk01, posting on the Microsoft Answers forum said:
This is the sort of update that should be offered ONLY when you intend to update as part of the pre check by Microsoft when you do a compatibility check on a new OS to see if it will be suitable.
I concurred at the time, and I concur now, 18 months later. If you're running Windows 7 and headed to Windows 10 sometime soon, then by all means, install the patch. If not, fuhgeddaboutit.
KB 2976978 performs the same service for Windows 8 and 8.1. I wrote about this patch, too, a month ago. It's just as useless now as it was then. The KB article pegs it at version 21, and it pains me to see so many bits needlessly slaughtered in such a futile cause.
KB 2977759 does the same, except it's for Windows 7 systems that don't have Service Pack 1 installed. Apparently there's going to be push (indeed, one may already be under way) to get original Win7 systems, without SP1, upgraded to Windows 10. The KB article says it's only at revision 17.
In the new-lipstick-same-pig category, we have two optional patches with completely new KB numbers.
KB 3138612, version 1.0, is a new version of Windows Update, destined for Win7 and Server 2008 R2. Microsoft doesn't exactly describe what's new, but it does say that this version of Windows Update supersedes last month's KB 3135445. I talked about KB 3135445 last month, and noted:
KB 3135445 is a new patch -- at least, a new patch number -- that's supposed to help exorcise the monsters in the Windows 7 update program. Unfortunately, being an update to Windows Update, it contains many of the same files that were in KB 2990214, and it may well be tarred by the same brush that I mentioned back in April 2015.
So this new 3138612 supersedes last month's KB 3135445, which in turn has many of the same files that were in KB 2990214. Back in April 2015, Windows product manager Joseph Conway posted a description of the re-release of KB 2990214 saying:
These WU [Windows Update] clients are used as part of the Windows 10 upgrade scenarios which will go live at release but are still used for down-level operating systems as the "regular" Windows Update client. This update is applicable to your systems even if you're not planning to migrate to Windows 10, so don't think you can skip it.
That post has been pulled from TechNet (at least, I can't find it), but you can read more of what he posted in my excerpt from April 2015.
Finally, the new KB 3138615, version 1.0 -- a new version of Windows Update for Win 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 -- supersedes last month's KB 3135449, which I also talked about last month. Just like the Win7 Windows Update update, there's no avowed connection to the previous patch, KB 3044374, but many of the same files were replaced.
A month ago, I summed up the Windows Update updates by saying:
I'm left with the impression that Microsoft wants to break with its sordid history with Windows Update patches and offer these two new patches to fix the long-standing Windows Update lethargy problems. If you feel Windows Update is running fast enough, I don't see any big reason to install either of them. But if Windows Update is running at a crawl, it would behoove you to get caught up.
And that observation stands again -- although it looks like Microsoft's performed yet another KB number pirouette, no doubt distancing itself twice-removed from the old, much-maligned versions of Windows Update.
Bottom line: Unless Windows Update is horribly slow, I don't see any reason at all to install any of these optional updates.