Microsoft has announced the preview availability of a new Autopatch tool, designed to take some of the sting out of patch Tuesday by automating the process of installing security and maintenance updates for enterprise customers.
First revealed in April this year as a new feature for enterprise users, and this new public preview, available to those customers enrolled in the company’s Insider programme, comes a month ahead of the formal public release in July.
Once enabled it will automatically manage new Windows 10 and 11 updates, including drivers, firmware, app and security patches with minimal configuration, and is available as a free add-on for Windows 10/11 Enterprise E3 customers.
This will help to close the security gap by keeping software current and reducing the risk of vulnerabilities threatening devices within a network.
System administrators have to implement Windows updates themselves. Microsoft releases these updates in bulk once a month during patch Tuesday, which was introduced by the company in October 2003 to try and make the deployment of patches to fix security vulnerabilities and software bugs easier.
Now it is a general practice among IT vendors, with many others, including Adobe and Oracle, also releasing updates at the same time. It has proved controversial with some due to the impact on bandwidth and the time it takes to deploy bulk updates at once.
The initial release isn’t available for users of Microsoft’s Azure education and government industry clouds, but is available for those with Enterprise E3 and above, Azure AD Premium or Microsoft Intune accounts.