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December 6, 2020

Other Optional Updates: Worth Grabbing?


On Wednesday (September 30), I wrote a blog post about the questionable value of downloading and installing device driver updates offered under the Optional Updates button in Windows Update, Version 2004. One day later, a different kind of Optional Update was published. This one showed up under the somewhat ambiguous heading of “Other updates” as the lead-in graphic for this story shows. But it proffered an “elective” Cumulative Update KB4577063, which I definitely wanted to try out. That’s because it takes Version 2004 to build 19041.546 and I try to keep my systems current as a matter of personal preference and policy. In other words, I track the leading edge of Windows releases, so I can try them out (and write about any problems they might cause from direct personal experience).

What Applies to Driver Updates, May Not Hold for Others

This is kind of a quick — but relatively painless — lesson that quickly formulated rules about what Windows Update brings to PCs may not be as broad or universal as they initially appear. I’m happy to report that I’ve upgraded the half-dozen systems on which I’ve got 2004 installed with no ill effects on any of them (at least, nothing so far). And because I now understand that “Other updates” under the Optional updates button in WU can include what the KB document calls “non-security releases” I now know that at least certain such updates will make their way onto my production Version 2004 PCs.

The old saying goes “rules were made to be broken.” Not all such rules that apply to Windows 10 are worth breaking, but at least some of them are. Thus, I’d like to observe that my initial take on Optional updates/Drive updates was “you may want to check them out, but you may not want to download and install any of them.” My take on Optional updates/Other updates is best understood as “You will want to check them out, and you may indeed want to download and install at least some of them.” KB4577063, now installed on all half-dozen of my Version 2004 PCs makes an excellent case in point.

And that’s the way things go far too often here in Windows-World, as we learn how things work (or don’t). This shapes those things to which we must pay attention, and those we can safely ignore. I’ll let you draw out the moral of this story for yourself, but observe once again that decisions about tracking non-security releases to WU are up to the individual or organization to which such updates may (or may not) apply and be applied.

Cheers!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

One Response “Other Optional Updates: Worth Grabbing?”

  1. CountMike
    October 2, 2020 at 21:26

    “Optional driver updates” are pure lottery, MS maintains somewhat obsolete driver base as it relays on particular part manufacturer to supply them, what makes it even worse is that it seems that drive base for suggested driver update is not synchronized with MUC that often has newest drivers. Whats even more curious is that “Search for driver (update) on internet” in Device manager is disabled. All together, a proper mess.
    “Other updates” is worth investigating, often contains valuable updates.
    There’s another update option, “Updates for other MS products” buried in update options. I have that disabled because every time there’s an update for my MS Office 2013 it breaks it’s activation so I have to renter code.
    Also seems that “Updates for other MS products” doesn’t pertain to APPs, not even MS supplied ones-

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