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Unified Update Platform Promises To Ease Windows 10 Servicing Pains

Microsoft on Thursday alluded to a coming Unified Update Platform preview for Windows 10 that could simplify servicing for IT pros, according to an announcement.

The announcement, which focused on improvements when adding Language Packs (LPs) and Features on Demand (FOD) in Windows 10, mentioned UUP incidentally. Possibly, UUP could reduce some tedium for IT pros. With UUP in place, IT pros will be able to more easily customize the Windows 10 operating system during system upgrades and new OS installations. UUP is also expected to reduce the size of update downloads and service update deliveries, according to Microsoft.

Attendees at Microsoft's September Ignite conference may be familiar with UUP, as it made an appearance during the session, "Deploying Windows 10: Making the Update Experience Smooth and Seamless" (BRK3027), after about 12 minutes. During that session, Suma SaganeGowda, a principal group program manager at Microsoft, showed the following slide, which indicated that a public preview of UUP is expected to arrive sometime "this fall for WSUS [Windows Server Update Services] and ConfigMgr customers":

[Click on image for larger view.] Benefits of the coming Unified Update Platform, including preserving Language Packs and Features on Demand, plus reduced network traffic when updating PCs (Source: September 2018 Ignite session BRK3207).

There doesn't seem to be much current information about UUP, other than the Ignite presentation. Microsoft had played up UUP about two years ago, but it's apparently been stuck at the private preview stage for all of that time.

The point made in Microsoft's Thursday announcement is that UUP, when it is "integrated with [System Center] Configuration Manager and Windows Server Update Services," will be able to "automatically acquire and preserve LPs and FODs across feature updates" of Windows 10. IT pros won't have to take any actions between updates to preserve their LP and FOD additions.

Many of UUP's benefits appear to start with Windows 10 version 1809, otherwise known as the October 2018 Update. Microsoft released it on October 2 of this year, but version 1809 was later blocked because of a file deletion issue experienced by some users. Presently, Windows 10 version 1809 is still blocked, along with the IoT version and Windows Server 2019. The fix for the problem is still being tested by Windows Insider Program participants prior to releasing the OS again.

The use of UUP to preserve LPs and FODs apparently will work without having a constant Internet connection, unlike other update methods. Microsoft's announcement admitted that "the process to acquire and retain language packs can be a bit confusing" when feature updates get deployed using System Center Configuration Manager. The announcement offered multiple scenarios and caveats on how to add them.

In addition to possible coming changes in Language Pack servicing, Microsoft earlier announced that it is now favoring the use of Local Experience Packs over Language Interface Packs as the best approach for customizing Windows 10 languages. Local Experience Packs get downloaded from the Windows Store as AppX files and allow organizations to customize the language of certain Windows elements, such as the Start Menu and File Explorer.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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