Microsoft fixes Windows 8.1 Update for corporate WSUS servers

After restoring the pulled patch, Microsoft has extended the cutoff date for WSUS-based updates to August

Eight days after yanking the patch, Microsoft has just announced it's sending Windows 8.1 Update back down the corporate WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) update server chute. As a bit of lagniappe, it also announced it will continue to make Windows 8.1 security patches available to WSUS customers until August's Patch Tuesday. Previous announcements said that patches to Windows 8.1 would be cut off in May.

This stay of execution for this patch applies only to those who receive security patches through WSUS. Windows 8.1 customers who get their patches through Windows Update (or Microsoft Update) have to install the Windows 8.1 Update/KB 2919355 patch by May 13 if they wish to continue receiving security patches for their machines.

According to Brandon LeBlanc, posting on the Microsoft Springboard Series Blog:

Windows 8.1 Update along with the new Server and Embedded updates reflects Microsoft's commitment to providing a more rapid cadence of feature improvements for our customers. More than ever, these updates are driven by customer feedback and the need to refine and innovate to meet their growing needs. All future security and non-security updates will be built on these latest product updates, so existing Windows 8.1 customers (as well as Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry customers) will need to be running these latest product updates in order to continue to receive future product improvements and security updates.

As we've been monitoring the release, we've been actively discussing this new approach to servicing with enterprise customers and listening to their feedback regarding managing the deployment timeline. As a result, we've decided to extend the timeframe for enterprise customers to deploy these new product updates from 30 to 120 days. In order to receive future updates, all customers managing updates using WSUS, Windows Intune, or System Center Configuration Manager have until August 12th to apply the new updates. For those that decide to defer installation, separate security updates will be published during the 120-day window.

Presumably the "separate security updates" are for Windows 8.1 machines. As announced before, Microsoft has always promised to keep Windows 8 machines patched.

LeBlanc continues:

For our consumer customers, the Windows 8.1 Update is a required update to keep Windows 8.1 devices current. It will need to be installed to receive new updates from Windows Update starting on May 13th. The vast majority of these customers already have Automatic Update turned on, so they don't need to be concerned since the update will simply install in the background prior to May 13th. For customers managing updates on their devices manually who haven't installed the Windows 8.1 Update prior to May 13th, moving forward they will only see the option to install the Windows 8.1 Update in Windows Update. No new updates will be visible to them until they install the Windows 8.1 Update.

There's a bit of good news for consumers, which is to say people who patch Windows 8.1 but aren't tied to a WSUS server. The main Microsoft Answers forum thread regarding the ongoing problems installing Windows 8.1 Update has a customer-submitted fix that seems to get around the majority of installation errors. It's a complicated, eight-step process, first proposed by Marek Kusmierski.

Several Windows 8.1 users have reported that the fix doesn't work for them, but for many it does. Considering that thread is now up to almost 400 posts, with no definitive word from Microsoft on solving the original grab bag of installation errors, it's worth a shot, if you can't get Windows 8.1 Update to install ... and have a few hours to kill.

This story, "Microsoft fixes Windows 8.1 Update for corporate WSUS servers," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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