Microsoft Lets Windows Server Admins Opt-In for Automatic .NET Updates

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Microsoft has announced some important changes that should make it easier to manage .NET updates on Windows Server machines. Starting this month, IT Admins can now opt-in for automatic updates for .NET and .NET Core via Microsoft Update (MU).

Previously, Windows Server updates for .NET and .NET Core were delivered to users via WSUS and the Microsoft Update Catalog. With this new opt-in option, IT Admins can now choose to install the .NET updates from the Automatic Updates (AU) channel.

How to enable automatic .NET updates for Windows Server

If you’re a Windows Server admin, you can enable automatic updates for .NET by manually configuring one or more registry keys. It is also possible to deploy registry keys to multiple Windows Server devices simultaneously via Group Policy.

.NET VersionRegistry KeyNameValue
.NET 6.0[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoft.NET6.0]“AllowAUOnServerOS”dword:00000001
.NET 5.0[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoft.NET5.0]“AllowAUOnServerOS”dword:00000001
.NET 3.1[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoft.NET3.1]“AllowAUOnServerOS”dword:00000001

Microsoft highlighted that several Windows Server customers use different deployment management tools (such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Microsoft Intune, System Center Config Manager, and Windows Server Update Services) to control updates in their environments.

However, this new feature is specifically designed for organizations who want to receive the new builds without using any deployment tool. This capability is already available for Windows client machines.

“A small number of customers have told us they don’t use a deployment management tool and would like to leverage AU to update their servers similar to clients. We believe the opt in approach we’re rolling out today will allow these customers to get the benefit of AU for their server operating systems without impacting the larger set of customers that do not want this,” said Jamshed Damkewala, a .NET Principal Engineering Manager at Microsoft.

Again, the new automatic .NET updates experience is primarily available as an opt-in feature via registry key modifications. This means that it shouldn’t impact Windows Server devices configured to receive updates manually.

The .NET team will be listening to user feedback to improve the experience for Windows Server customers. You can learn more about how to get started with automatic .NET updates in this blog post.