We’re happy to announce the release of our newest free ebook, Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience (ISBN 9780735695849), by Andre Della Monica, Chris Shilt, Russ Rimmerman, Rushi Faldu; Series Editor: Mitch Tulloch.
Download all formats (PDF, Mobi and ePub) hosted by the Microsoft Virtual Academy.
Ever since the advent of the Internet, security has been a concern for all users whose computers are vulnerable in the "biggest computer network in the free world." Because Windows is the most popular operating system for organizations and individual consumers, Microsoft has also always been particularly concerned with security.
To address security concerns, Microsoft first introduced the Windows Update capability with the launch of Windows 95. In the initial version (v3) of Windows Update, users had to manually visit the Windows Update website. An ActiveX control would then run on their computer and determine which software updates should be downloaded and installed on the user's computer. Windows 98 expanded this to include not only security updates but also optional features, driver updates, and desktop themes. Windows Update capability was also added to Windows NT 4.0.
Microsoft next released a tool called the Critical Update Notification Utility, which Windows 98 and Windows 2000 users could download from the Windows Update website and then use to download and install critical updates on their computers. The Critical Update Notification Utility was then discontinued and replaced with the Automatic Updates feature in Windows Millennium Edition (Me) and Windows 2000 Service Pack 4. Automatic Updates was designed to check for new updates every 24 hours and could automatically download and notify the user when they were ready to be installed on the computer. Other improvements to Windows Update were also made, for example the introduction of the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) in Windows 2000 SP3 and Windows XP.
In February 2005, Microsoft announced a beta release of Microsoft Update as an optional alternative to Windows Update for obtaining software updates for Windows and also for other Microsoft products. Several years later, Microsoft Office Update was introduced to enable updating of certain applications in the Microsoft Office suite. Beginning with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the website download model was entirely replaced by a built-in user interface within Windows that allows updates to be selected and downloaded.
But in enterprise environments, software updates also need to be managed. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), previously known as Software Update Services (SUS), was released in 2002, and Microsoft released a SUS Feature Pack add-on for their System Management Server (SMS) 2.0 product. The next version SMS 2003 included an Inventory Tool for Microsoft Updates (ITMU) that provided patch-management capability, although it was not fully integrated into the SMS product.
With the release of System Center Configuration Manager 2007, the Software Updates feature was completely re-written and integrated with WSUS. In general, distributing software updates through Configuration Manager using the WSUS engine works well. Feedback received by the Configuration Manager product team and Microsoft Customer Support Services indicates that customers like the level of flexibility provided by this solution. However, feedback also shows that customers are often confused because there are too many ways to accomplish the same tasks.
In the current platform System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, the Software Updates feature is quite mature and more robust than ever. The process for creating and maintaining updates has been improved, and the user interface is more self-explanatory, making it easier to create a group of updates to target collections of machines. From the server infrastructure perspective, there is much more functionality and flexibility, providing a
reliable and seamless software updates process for corporate environments.
This book addresses some of the gaps and pain points you might encounter when implementing, administering, and troubleshooting Software Updates using Configuration Manager 2012 R2. We developed the topics for this book based on our experiences working as Premier Field Engineers and Microsoft Consultants in customer environments on a daily basis.
We hope you enjoy this book and our shared experiences from the field. May they help you build a stronger technical knowledge base so you can achieve your IT objectives.
Andre Della Monica
Premier Field Engineer, Microsoft Premier Services
The Series Editor would like to thank the following individuals at Microsoft who reviewed the outlines for the proposed titles in this series and provided helpful feedback to the authors: