Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Windows Update will include more Microsoft products, including Visual Studio

Windows Update Visual Studio updatesWindows Update Visual Studio updates

Windows Update isn’t strictly limited to Windows 11 cumulative or feature updates. In addition to OS updates, Windows Update offers updates for drivers and Microsoft products, such as Office apps. With the August 2024 security patch for Windows 11 (and Windows 10), Microsoft will also start bundling security updates for Visual Studio.

For those unaware, you can go to Windows Update settings, select “Advanced options,” and turn on “Receive updates for other Microsoft products.” When the toggle is turned on, you’ll automatically receive updates for Office products. Starting in August 2024, you’ll also get updates for Visual Studio security patches.

This experience is called “Microsoft updates”. Microsoft has promised the integration will remain “opt-in”. In other words, as long as the toggle is turned off, you will not receive updates for Visual Studio, but it also means Windows Update will stop delivering Office updates. The two products are now clubbed together as “updates for Microsoft products”.

Windows Update with other products toggle
The highlighted toggle now offers Visual Studio updates | Image Courtesy:

You need to know a few things about integration. There are some valid concerns, and Microsoft is not really addressing the feedback correctly.

First and foremost, if you use Visual Studio to download the updates directly, you won’t see them via Windows Update. Microsoft will not try to force you to update, but that’s only when you’ve already updated Visual Studio manually.

You can still rollback your most recent update, but this option shows only when you have Visual Studio 2022. Also, when you rollback to an older version and a newer version is available, Windows Update will ask you to update. You’ll see the same security update again when you check for updates, and you could be forced to download the patch.

If you click the “Install” button on Windows update, you will be asked to close Visual Studio. Microsoft tells me the company won’t force close Visual Studio whether or not you install the security updates via Windows Update.

The Visual Studio security updates download silently via Windows Update in the background, and installation starts only when you close the app.

“We believe that most people who control their own machine and who MANUALLY opt into receiving updates for Microsoft products indeed want updates for all Microsoft products,” Microsoft noted in a feedback post first spotted by Windows Latest.

How to disable Visual Studio updates on Windows update without turning off “Receive updates for other Microsoft products” toggle

Microsoft is providing a registry key that decouples Visual Studio from Windows Update. If you want to receive updates for Office and other Microsoft products but turn off Visual Studio updates, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Setup
  3. Under Setup, create a new registry key value, “VSthroughMUUpdatesOptOut”, and set its DWORD value to “1”.

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Setup\VSthroughMUUpdatesOptOut (REG_DWORD) = 1.

This registry key is for those who do not want to receive Visual Studio updates via Windows Update but continue receiving updates for other products via the “Receive updates for other Microsoft products” toggle.

If you don’t want to receive Visual Studio updates via Windows Update, make sure you apply the above changes as soon as possible. The “Receive updates for other Microsoft products” toggle will begin installing Visual Studio updates in August 2024.

Visual Studio updates via Windows UpdateVisual Studio updates via Windows Update
An example of Visual Studio updates via Windows Update

Some people are unhappy with Microsoft’s decision to bundle Visual Studio updates with other products without adding a toggle within Windows Update or Visual Studio.

Previously, Visual Studio updates have caused problems. For many years, these updates have broken automated builds due to changes in tools like MSBuild, MSTest, .NET SDK, or code analyzers.

What if a Windows update automatically installs a buggy and mandatory Visual Studio update across all PCs? It could be a disaster.

Until now, devs have tested Visual Studio updates on a few machines before installing them on all computers. Now, the devs need to make sure every machine has a specific registry key set, which cannot be done through a simple script without admin rights.

While Windows and Office updates rarely cause such issues, Visual Studio updates are different. Because Visual Studio includes many components like .NET SDKs and Windows SDKs, updates can easily disrupt work.

Despite these concerns, Microsoft is going ahead with its plans.


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