While is still widely used in the SMB sector, the Microsoft Windows Server Team announced last week that Windows Server 2008 SP2 is moved from the current updating system to a rollup model.

The first rollup previews will be made available in August, the first final rollups on the September 2018 Patch Day.

Windows Server 2008 SP22 will follow the same rollup model as newer Server versions and supported client versions of Windows. Microsoft introduced the cumulative update (rollup) model for Windows updates in October 2016 for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Windows 10 used a cumulative update ever since its initial release.

windows-server-2008-rollup-updates Windows Server 2008 SP2 switched to rollup model

Microsoft notes:

Windows Server 2008 SP2 will now follow a similar update servicing model as later Windows versions, bringing a more consistent and simplified servicing experience. For those of you who manage Windows updates within your organization, it’s important that you understand the choices that will be available.

Windows server administrators who manage Server 2008 SP2 systems have the choice between security-only or full updates. Microsoft calls these updates security only quality update and security monthly quality rollup; rather confusing if you ask me and easy to mix up.

Security only quality updates include only security updates whereas security monthly quality non-security related updates as well according to Microsoft.

The monthly rollups contain fixes for Internet Explorer version 9 for Windows Server 2008 SP2. The rollups won’t update to a new version of Internet Explorer — Server 2008 R2 supports Internet Explorer 11 — automatically according to Microsoft. In other words, if Internet Explorer has not been upgraded after the installation of Windows Server 2008 SP2, it won’t be when monthly rollups get installed on the systems from August 2018 on. Security-only updates don’t include Internet Explorer updates.

Timeline for the switch:

  • August 2018 — Microsoft will release the security monthly quality rollup preview for Windows Server 2008 SP2. Previews don’t include security updates which is why only a security monthly quality rollup preview is provided.
  • September 2018 — Windows server admins can select between security-only or full rollup updates for Windows Server 2008 SP2.

The biggest change for admins is that they cannot select updates individually anymore for installation; it is either everything or nothing but nothing in between. While that is certainly easier to distribute and maintain, it limits choice and troubleshooting.

Choice, because it is no longer possible to install or ignore individual updates, and troubleshooting, because it is now necessary to rollback all updates even if only a single one causes issues on devices.

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