Microsoft is temporarily ceasing all non-essential Windows 10 updates due to the ongoing coronavirus. The company will focus solely on critical security updates starting in May.
On March 24, Microsoft stated it was "evaluating the public health situation, and we understand this is impacting our customers." The solution is to suspend all C and D updates, or those that provide non-essential improvements and fixes to Windows 10 and other versions of Windows.
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Windows users will still receive updates that patch security vulnerabilities. These are typically released on "Patch Tuesday" or the second Tuesday of each month. Microsoft already promised a Patch Tuesday fix for a critical security flaw it disclosed earlier this week that is being actively exploited.
"No change to the monthly security updates; these will continue as planned to ensure business continuity and to keep our customers protected and productive," Microsoft wrote in its announcement (opens in new tab).
By focusing on essential updates, Microsoft can better tackle the challenges presented by the coronavirus. As more people work from home, cyberattacks are on the rise, especially those that exploit the fear and anxiety caused by the disease. Additionally, Microsoft's team is now working from home, which could cause disruptions to its workflow.
The strategy of reducing updates to focus on only the essentials could help Microsoft in the long run. The company has been frequently criticized for its mishandling of recently Windows 10 updates, many of which have caused more harm than good. Microsoft can't afford any more failures given how many people are working from home for the next few weeks.
Microsoft will reduce the amount of Windows updates starting in May, so there will be another month of standard updates before the change takes effect.
Other companies are using similar strategies to streamline their services over the next few months. Google is halting upcoming releases of its Chrome browser and Chrome OS.