Windows Autopatch Adds New Driver and Firmware Controls, Simplifies Update Management

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Key Takeaways:

  • Microsoft is consolidating Windows Autopatch and Windows Update for Business into a single update management solution.
  • Microsoft is introducing granular controls for firmware and driver updates within Windows Autopatch.
  • Windows Autopatch will be generally available for frontline workers in late 2023.

Microsoft held its Ignite 2023 conference in Seattle this week, and the company unveiled some big updates for Windows Autopatch. The company has announced that it’s consolidating Windows Autopatch and Windows Update for Business into a single update management solution for enterprise customers.

Windows Autopatch is a cloud-based service that enables IT admins to automate the update management process for Windows PCs, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Teams, and other Microsoft 365 apps. Moreover, Windows Update for Business is a set of management features in Windows 11 and Windows 10 that lets administrators control the deployment of updates within their organizations.

“We’ve used your feedback to help inform adjustments that will make the update ecosystem easier to understand. With this effort, we are unifying our update management offering for enterprise organizations. Windows Autopatch and Windows Update for Business deployment service will now be a single service for enterprise customers to update and upgrade Windows devices, Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Edge,” Microsoft explained.

Windows Autopatch Adds New Driver and Firmware Controls, Simplifies Update Management

Microsoft is also updating the interface to help users quickly find and use the update management features. Customers will now see a dashboard that organizes the features into four categories: Update policies, Update groups, Update status, and Update reports. However, Microsoft won’t change the existing functionality and licensing requirements for Windows Autopatch and Windows Update for Business.

Granular driver and firmware controls

Microsoft is also bringing firmware and driver update management granular controls to its Windows Autopatch service. The feature will let IT admins align driver and firmware support with Windows Autopatch groups and pause/resume the deployment.

This release will also allow users to turn on or off automatic driver/firmware updates for select devices and assign driver policies. The feature should make it easier for administrators to test the updates with select devices ahead of the broader deployment.

The granular driver and firmware controls are currently available in private preview and will become generally available for all commercial customers in early 2024. Microsoft also plans to add third-party application support in the future.

Create Windows Autopatch groups from existing Intune update profiles

Microsoft is making it easier for customers to switch devices from Intune to Windows Autopatch update management. Currently, IT Pros are required to create and assign new update groups to their machines, which could be time-consuming. With this release, administrators will be able to use their existing Intune update profiles for creating and assigning Windows Autopatch groups.

Reliability reporting and scores

Additionally, Microsoft is enhancing the reliability reporting capabilities of its Windows Autopatch service by incorporating additional data and metrics. For example, the composite-device health score lets organizations monitor the overall performance of their devices. In 2024, the post-update reliability scores feature will provide insights to improve performance and reliability after every update cycle.

Last but not least, Microsoft announced that Windows Autopatch will become generally available for frontline workers by the end of this year. Customers will need to have a Microsoft 365 F3 license to use the service for managing their devices.

In case you missed it, Microsoft made many other announcements for IT Pros at Ignite 2023, and you can catch up on the biggest news on our dedicated page.