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Microsoft aims to kill off patch Tuesday for lucky enterprise users

A Windows screen with multiple remote desktop windows open
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft is developing a new Windows Autopatch tool that will automate patch management, allowing many enterprise users to bypass Patch Tuesdays.

Business users running Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise E3 licenses will be able to deploy patches without the need for manual intervention, and at no extra cost.

The latest step towards greater efficiency could mean less work for IT admins as business machines will be continuously updated as part of the Windows Enterprise E3 subscription service.

Companies who have systems running Windows 10 or Windows 11 using an Enterprise E3 license will have access to the automated patch service. Microsoft aims to have it available for widespread use by July.

Related: Best remote desktop software.

Hybrid work environment

Automating patch processes is likely to be welcome by stretched IT admins, and will effectively bring to an end the ritual of updating operating systems and associated software on the second Tuesday of each month.

This latest step has also been brought forward due to the way that more employees are now in a hybrid work environment, or spend much of their time working remotely. 

With less people in the office there is more of a need to stay on top of critical updates and security issues, especially when employees are working in an environment not protected by the benefit of a corporate firewall.

However, while the Windows Autopatch tool should prove useful for Windows and Office updates, and will not cost anything to use as part of an existing license, the process will still need to be monitored closely.

It will be able to detect which updates need to be carried out by utilising a series of ‘test rings’. And, in order to work, Windows Autopatch will need Intune, Azure Active Directory, and Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise to be correctly configured.

Usefully, the online tool will be able to check settings via Microsoft Endpoint Manager and admin’s simply have to follow the click-through instructions in order to get it up and running.

“Autopatch, by automating the management of updates, can provide timely response to changes and confidence around introducing new changes, and close the protection and productivity gaps,” wrote Lior Bela on the Microsoft blog.

“The value should be felt immediately by IT admins who won't have to plan update rollout and sequencing, and over the long term as increased bandwidth allows them more time to focus on driving value.”

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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.