Controlled Windows 10 Feature Updates through Automox Patching

In mid 2019, Microsoft implemented a change to the way Windows 10 Feature Updates are managed with Windows Update. Once the May 2019 Cumulative update is installed (for all supported Windows 10 production channels), Feature Update deferrals were no longer honored, and the Windows update Agent became aware of the Installer split between the CBS (patches) and the Upgrade Engine (for Feature Updates) in the Unified Update Platform (UUP).
Get started with Windows Update - Windows Deployment

Improving the Windows 10 update experience with control, quality and transparency

This change caused Feature Updates to no longer appear as Windows Updates under device software in the Automox Console.

NOTE: Before a Windows 10 version is scheduled to go out of support, Microsoft publishes the Feature Update differently and they become visible again.

Microsoft explains this experience in the link above:

“When Windows 10 devices are at, or will soon reach, end of service, Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update; keeping machines supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health.”

When they made these changes, they also provided a new way to control your Windows Version.

“Available in Windows 10, version 1803 and later. Enables IT administrators to specify which version they would like their device(s) to move to and/or stay on until they reach end of service or reconfigure the policy.”

Use this link to determine the Windows 10 version that you would like to specify:

Windows 10 - release information - Windows Release Information

RESULT

By implementing the target release version controls as defined above, the specified version Windows 10 Feature Updates will BECOME VISIBLE IN THE AUTOMOX CONSOLE, allowing you to deploy feature updates without a worklet.

NOTE: Please review the following article for best practices for deploying Feature Updates: What Are the Recommended Best Practices for Patching in Automox?

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Device currently running Windows 10 1803 or later
  • Must be running a manageable version of Windows 10 (Pro, Business, Enterprise, Education)

BENEFITS

  • Upgrading between versions released in the same year starting with 1903 and 1909 will leverage enablement packages. Enablement packages turn on previously download and installed components and flip the version switch to the new version. This package is very small, and can be installed in less than 5 minutes.
  • Feature Updates spanning to another annual version set (ex 1809-1903) will still require a large update, and will take some time to install. These packages are generally smaller than an ISO, and are dynamically updated by Microsoft. This method may also apply additional updates (such as additional Cumulative Updates) along with the upgrade process.
  • If you utilize Delivery Optimization (DO), your local devices can share downloaded content to reduce bandwidth and download time.
  • No need to script a Worklet to upgrade to a newer version of Windows 10 (unless you need to customize the upgrade process).

TIP

  • When you run the upgrade, the best way to start the process is to run a Policy (either scheduled or manually). The policy should be configured WITH Reboots. This is important as the Automox process will run the completion command for you.

If you trigger the installation by installing the patch manually by itself, you will need to run the following command to trigger the upgrade with a restart. A STANDARD RESTART FROM THE START MENU OR USING SHUTDOWN.EXE WILL NOT COMPLETE THE UPGRADE!

  • If you did trigger the upgrade by installing the update manually, and it competed successfully (which is difficult to tell), you have two options.
  1. Use Automox Console and send a Reboot command.

  2. Run the following command to complete the upgrade (it will trigger a reboot and complete the upgrade):
    ‘C:$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\SetupHost.exe’ /finalize /update
    Programatically Rebooting Windows and Applying a Windows 10 Feature Update - PowerShell

Please see the following post for a Worklet to set the Windows 10 “Target Release Version”:

NOTE: Upgrading to a Feature Update newer than 1909 will currently require a secondary step to finalize your upgrade. Please see the following post for a Worklet to finalize the Windows 10 Feature Update: