Windows 10 and Windows 11 will receive optional Feature Updates, and mandatory Quality Updates which would expire for stability and performance reasons

Microsoft Windows OS Quality Security Feature Updates Expire
Updates can expire, but Windows OS users cannot skip them permanently. Pic credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr

Windows 10 and Windows 11 will receive occasional Feature Updates, and regular Quality or Security Updates. In an attempt to improve reliability, stability, and performance, the Quality Updates can “expire”.

Quality Updates for Windows Operating System will expire if users choose to intentionally delay installing them. This, however, does not mean Windows PC owners will be able to skip these mandatory security updates.

Microsoft is trying to ensure Updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11 do not negatively impact reliability:

Just like Windows 10, Windows 11 will be available as a “Windows as a Service”. This means Microsoft will offer updates till the OS reaches “End of Support”.

Microsoft has indicated it will support Windows 10 until 2025. Until then, the OS will continue to receive two Cumulative Feature Updates per year.

Windows 11 should receive only one Cumulative Feature Update every year. Both the versions, however, will regularly receive monthly updates with security and general fixes.

As the name implies the Feature Updates deliver new functionalities, while Quality Updates deliver bug fixes. Windows PC users can choose to skip the former, but can only delay the latter.

PC users can manually pause updates through the Windows Update page in the new Settings app. However, no one can permanently put off installing Quality Updates.

Previous reports have indicated that Microsoft is trying hard to ensure Updates, be it Quality or Feature, do not negatively impact the Operating System. Updates have been one of the main pain points for quite a few Windows OS users in recent times.

Quality Updates for Windows 10 and 11 will have an ‘Expiry’ date but OS users will still receive them:

Microsoft releases the “B” security update on every Patch Tuesday. The company sends out optional Quality Updates in the third or fourth week of every month.

These updates often contain important bug fixes, but may also have a time-dependent relevance. If users pause or skip updates, this can result in a backlog of updates. Needless to mention, this behavior also increases the size of update packages.

Microsoft promised it is reducing the size of Updates it delivers to Windows 11. Presumably, to stick to the commitment, Microsoft has now reportedly started removing older quality updates from the Windows Update server.

The “removed” updates appear as “expired updates”. Apparently, the older and redundant packages will now expire automatically.

Incidentally, the older updates don’t just go away. Newer updates supersede them. Microsoft assures appended updates can result in shorter scan times in Windows Updates.

Incidentally, every new Patch Tuesday Update includes fixes from all older updates. In other words, if a Windows OS user misses an update which is later tagged as “Expired”, they will still receive the security fixes in the latest Patch Tuesday Update.

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