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Manage updates using Windows Update for Business

jdeckerMS|Last Updated: 12/1/2016

Applies to

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Mobile

Looking for consumer information? See Windows Update: FAQ

Windows Update for Business enables information technology administrators to keep the Windows 10 devices in their organization always up to date with the latest security defenses and Windows features by directly connecting these systems to Windows Update service. You can use Group Policy or MDM solutions such as Intune to configure the Windows Update for Business settings. Using Group Policy or MDM solutions such as Intune, you can control how and when Windows 10 devices are updated. In addition, by using Intune, organizations can manage devices that are not joined to a domain at all or are joined to Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) alongside your on-premises domain-joined machines.

Specifically, Windows Update for Business allows for:

  • The creation of deployment and validation groups, where administrators can specify which devices go first in an update wave, and which ones will come later (to ensure any quality bars are met).
  • Selectively including or excluding drivers as part of Microsoft-provided updates
  • Integration with existing management tools such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager, and Microsoft Intune.
  • Peer-to-peer delivery for Microsoft updates, which optimizes bandwidth efficiency and reduces the need for an on-site server caching solution.

Windows Update for Business is a free service that is available for Windows Pro, Enterprise, Pro Education, and Education.

Update types

Windows Update for Business provides three types of updates to Windows 10 devices:

  • Feature Updates: previously referred to as upgrades, Feature Updates contain not only security and quality revisions, but also significant feature additions and changes; they are released at a slower cadence, every 4 to 8 months.
  • Quality Updates: these are traditional operating system updates, typically released the second Tuesday of each month (though they can be released at any time). These include security, critical, and driver updates. Windows Update for Business also treats non-Windows updates (such as those for Microsoft Office or Visual Studio) as Quality Updates. These non-Windows Updates are known as Microsoft Updates and devices can be optionally configured to receive such updates along with their Windows Updates.
  • Non-deferrable updates: Currently, antimalware and antispyware Definition Updates from Windows Update cannot be deferred.

Both Feature and Quality Updates can be deferred from deploying to client devices by a Windows Update for Business administrator within a bounded rage of time from when those updates are first made available on the Windows Update Service. This deferral capability allows administrators to validate deployments as they are pushed to all client devices configured for Windows Update for Business.

CategoryMaximum deferralDeferral incrementsExampleClassification GUID
Feature Updates180 daysDaysFrom Windows 10, version 1511 to version 16073689BDC8-B205-4AF4-8D4A-A63924C5E9D5
Quality Updates30 daysDaysSecurity updates0FA1201D-4330-4FA8-8AE9-B877473B6441
Drivers (optional)EBFC1FC5-71A4-4F7B-9ACA-3B9A503104A0
Non-security updatesCD5FFD1E-E932-4E3A-BF74-18BF0B1BBD83
Microsoft updates (Office, Visual Studio, etc.)varies
Non-deferrableNo deferralNo deferralDefinition updatesE0789628-CE08-4437-BE74-2495B842F43B

For information about classification GUIDs, see WSUS Classification GUIDs.

Comparing Windows Update for Business in Windows 10, version 1511 and version 1607

Windows Update for Business was first made available in Windows 10, version 1511. In Windows 10, version 1607 (also known as the Anniversary Update), there are several new or changed capabilities provided as well as updated behavior.


For more information on Current Branch and Current Branch for Business, see Windows 10 servicing options.

CapabilityWindows 10, version 1511Windows 10, version 1607

Select Servicing Options: CB or CBB

Not available. To defer updates, all systems must be on the Current Branch for Business (CBB)

Ability to set systems on the Current Branch (CB) or Current Branch for Business (CBB).

Quality Updates

Able to defer receiving Quality Updates:

  • Up to 4 weeks
  • In weekly increments

Able to defer receiving Quality Updates:

  • Up to 30 days
  • In daily increments

Feature Updates

Able to defer receiving Feature Updates:

  • Up to 8 months
  • In monthly increments

Able to defer receiving Feature Updates:

  • Up to 180 days
  • In daily increments

Pause updates

  • Feature Updates and Quality Updates paused together
  • Maximum of 35 days

Features and Quality Updates can be paused separately.

  • Feature Updates: maximum 60 days
  • Quality Updates: maximum 35 days


No driver-specific controls

Drivers can be selectively excluded from Windows Update for Business.

Steps to manage updates for Windows 10

doneLearn about updates and servicing branches
donePrepare servicing strategy for Windows 10 updates
doneBuild deployment rings for Windows 10 updates
doneAssign devices to servicing branches for Windows 10 updates
doneOptimize update delivery for Windows 10 updates
doneManage updates using Windows Update for Business (this topic)
or Manage Windows 10 updates using Windows Server Update Services
or Manage Windows 10 updates using System Center Configuration Manager

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