In the past, Microsoft ameliorated this problem by releasing several service packs over the life of the OS, but Windows 7 only ever got one service pack, in 2011. As a result, the last four years of updates and patches has to be run manually.
Now, that’s changing. Microsoft isn’t calling this new “convenience rollup” Windows 7 SP2, but that’s functionally what it provides. The update will also support slipstream installations, meaning you can roll the software updates into a unified installer and bring a system fully up-to-date at base install.
No such update has been announced for Windows 8.1 yet, but Microsoft has also stated that it will begin releasing monthly comprehensive updates for non-security patches. Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 will all begin receiving single updates on a monthly basis (security updates will continue to be released on their own schedule).
Update availability and contents
One significant change going forward is that updates will no longer be available via the Microsoft Download Center. Instead, they’ll use the Microsoft Update Catalog. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a Windows XP relic that currently depends on Microsoft Internet Explorer and uses ActiveX. Chrome, Firefox, and other third-party browsers can’t access it (Microsoft says they’re working to modernize this).
One question we’re certain will come up is whether or not the Windows 7 roll-up includes the various updates and packages designed to push Windows 10. The answer to that, so far as we can tell, is no. There are a number of KB articles associated with the Windows 10 rollout and the telemetry updates to Windows 7, including:
An asterisk means the update is included in the rollup.
We’ve gone through the included KB files in the Windows 7 convenience rollup and can confirm that the majority of these updates are not included in the software. There are three exceptions: KB3068708, KB3075249, and KB3080149. All three of these updates add additional telemetry tracking to Windows 7 to bring its reports into line with Windows 10, but they don’t add GWX.exe or any of the “Get Windows 10” adds that people have complained about since Microsoft’s latest OS went live.
Microsoft Article: Simplifying updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 | Windows for IT Pros
We’re happy to announce today that we’re making available a new convenience rollup for Windows 7 SP1 that will help. This convenience rollup package, available to download from http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=3125574, contains all the security and non-security fixes released since the release of Windows 7 SP1 that are suitable for general distribution, up through April 2016. Install this one update, and then you only need new updates released after April 2016.
And since this update can be injected into Windows 7 SP1 media, it’s fully supported to mount a Windows 7 SP1 image (WIM file), then inject this update into it. See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744559(v=ws.10).aspx for the details of how to do this.
This convenience update is completely optional; it doesn’t have to be installed and won’t even be offered via Windows Update – you can choose whether or not you want to use it.
We hope that you find this convenience rollup package useful. This same convenience rollup also applies to Windows Server 2008 R2.
Also today we are announcing that non-security updates for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 (as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2) will be available as a monthly rollup (fixes rolled up together into a single update). Each month, we will release a single update containing all of the non-security fixes for that month. We are making this change – shifting to rollup updates, to improve the reliability and quality of our updates.
These fixes will be available through Windows Update, WSUS, and SCCM as well as the Microsoft Update catalog. We hope this monthly rollup update simplifies your process of keeping Windows 7, and 8.1 up-to-date.
Message was edited by:kingfish Added Microsoft explanation.