Managing Microsoft and Windows Updates for Microsoft Surface Units

You should update your Microsoft Surface units across your organization by using Microsoft Update or Windows Update to ensure a consistent and reliable Microsoft Surface experience for all your users. Windows Update provides high-priority and optional updates for the Windows Vista operating system and new or updated hardware drivers. Microsoft Update provides updates for other Microsoft software that is installed on your unit, which includes all Microsoft Surface software. For more information about these programs, see

This topic describes how to use Windows Update and Microsoft Update on your Microsoft Surface units.

Microsoft Surface and Automated Updates

Windows Update continuously checks for updates and notifies you when important or recommended updates are available. Windows Update operates in the background by using the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) technology, which assesses updates by using idle bandwidth.

By default, each Surface unit automatically checks for software updates from Windows Update and Microsoft Update and then allows you to choose whether to download and install the updates. This configuration allows you to enter administrator mode, view recently available updates, and choose to download and install the updates. After you apply the updates, you can enter user mode to make the unit accessible to users again.

Every month, the Microsoft Surface Support team checks all Windows Update updates to make sure that they are okay to use with the Microsoft Surface platform. For more information, see Updating a Microsoft Surface Unit.

Choosing Update Settings for New Microsoft Surface Units

New Microsoft Surface units are already configured with the following recommended settings for Microsoft Update and Windows Update:

  • Turn on Windows Update.

  • Turn on Microsoft Update.

  • Turn on recommended updates.

  • Select the Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them option.

Do not enable Windows Update or Microsoft Update to automatically download and install updates during a time when the Surface unit is in user mode. Instead, review available updates and install them when the unit is in administrator mode. If you have a group or domain that has a Group Policy setting that overrides the default Surface settings for Windows Update, make sure the Group Policy setting does not apply to the Surface unit.

The following illustration shows how to choose the recommended settings for Windows Update and Microsoft Update.

Recommended update settings

You can change these settings at any time by opening Control Panel, clicking Classic View in the left pane, double-clicking Windows Update, and then clicking Change settings in the left pane.

Choosing Update Settings for Workstations with Microsoft Surface

When you install the Microsoft Surface SDK, Workstation Edition on a separate workstation and you choose the recommended settings, the Microsoft Surface SDK installation enables Microsoft Update. If you want to change update settings, open Control Panel, click Classic View in the left pane, double-click Windows Updates, and then click Change settings in the left pane.

Updating Networked Microsoft Surface Units

With Windows Update, you can also automatically update one Microsoft Surface unit or small group of units. However, if you are managing a network of 10 or more units, you should probably manage the update process on your network (for example, by using Windows Server Update Services). By managing the update process, you have more control over which updates are installed and when they are installed.

Like all computers on your corporate network, any Group Policy settings for Microsoft Update or Windows Update will override default settings on individual Microsoft Surface units.

Using Windows Server Update Services to Update Microsoft Surface Units

Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free add-on for the Windows Server operating system to help you manage updates for computers and Microsoft Surface units on a network. By using WSUS together with an Active Directory Group Policy, you can manage update settings and distribute updates. For more information about how to use WSUS, see Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) on the TechNet Web site.

Microsoft also provides the Microsoft System Center family of business software for managing desktop computers, Microsoft Surface units, and servers in medium to large organizations. For more information, see the Microsoft System Center Web site.

Customizing Windows Server Update Services for Microsoft Surface Units

WSUS includes a complete programmable and scriptable API that you can use to create custom updating behavior for WSUS. You can use the WSUS API to determine which updates apply to a Microsoft Surface unit or group of units, download those updates, and install them with little or no user intervention. You can also integrate WSUS features into computer management or update management software to provide a seamless operating environment. For more information, see Windows Update Server Services on the MSDN Web site.

Restarting a Microsoft Surface Unit During Updates

In general, after you review available updates and choose which ones to download, Windows Update and Microsoft Update automatically install them. However, some updates, such as service packs, require your consent before Windows Update or Microsoft Update will install them. If you reset or shut down the Surface unit while these updates install, you could corrupt the Surface unit. Allow the update process to finish before you restart the Surface unit.

Windows Update Reporting

Windows Update reports information back to Microsoft about which updates have installed successfully and which, if any, could not be installed. This information helps Microsoft verify the quality of the updates that Windows Update provides. Windows Update does not send or store any personally identifiable information (PII) for Microsoft or with the report. For more information, see the Windows Update privacy statement.

Windows Update keeps a log of all the actions that it performed on a particular system in the %windir%\windowsupdate.log file. In Windows Vista, this log is available from the Windows Update control panel.

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