Windows Autopatch Released in Public Preview

With Microsoft unveiling another new service, this blog will provide you with an in-depth walkthrough to familiarise you with its features. 

The purpose of Windows Autopatch is to lessen the workload of your IT admins by automating the process of managing and deploying updates for Windows and Microsoft 365 applications.  

While this service is currently in public preview, it’ll become generally available to holders of the Windows Enterprise E3 license or greater around the start of July 2022. For now, you can use public preview to get accustomed to the service and prime your organisation to adopt this service at scale. 

When the service does eventually reach general availability if you’re already a user you can continue using the service as you have been. You won’t need to re-enroll your devices, but you may notice some cosmetic changes to the user interface. 

Preview of WIndows Autopatch blade.

Prerequisites for Windows Autopatch

There are a couple of things you’ll need before you can use Windows Autopatch: 

  • Licensing: If you have Windows Enterprise E3 or greater, there are no extra fees for this service 
  • Specifications: Currently, Windows Autopatch is compatible with Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise versions. At general availability, compatibility will be extended to virtual machines as well as Windows 365 Cloud PCs.  
  • Hardware: Your company-owned device must be running a current, supported version of Windows 10 or 11. Bring your own device (BYOD) is not currently supported. 
  • Management: Device must be controlled by either Microsoft Intune or through Configuration Manager co-management. 
  • Identity: Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Hybrid AAD must control user accounts 

Windows Updates 

Windows Autopatch updates your Windows through the General Availability Channel. You can set your own policies for quality and feature updates to comply with the needs of your organisation. Then, the Windows Autopatch message centre in Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) allows Admins to view previous updates and any updates expected in the future.   

“B” releases, which are Microsoft’s monthly security and quality updates, will continue as usual and out-of-band updates will be applied as needed. 

Office 365 Updates 

To balance stability and feature availability, Windows Autopatch leverages the Monthly Enterprise Channel. Updates for Office 365 follow a fixed schedule, the second Tuesday of a month, and aren’t controlled by Autopatch or make use of ring-based progressive deployment.  

Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams Updates 

Updates to the Microsoft Teams client happen at a different pace to Windows or Office updates, since Microsoft Teams is synchronised with changes to the Teams online service. Similarly, Microsoft Edge has its own update channel to cater to the browser’s frequent alterations. This means that Widows Autopatch isn’t used for Teams or Edge, but the Windows Autopatch support request portal can be used to raise any issues for these apps.