Each month the Readiness team analyses the patches applied to Windows, Microsoft Office and related technology/development platforms. We look at each update, the individual changes and the potential impact on enterprise environments. We hope that these testing scenarios offer some structured guidance on how to best deploy Windows updates to your environment.
Key Testing Scenarios
Given the large number of changes included in this October patch cycle I have broken down the testing scenarios into a high risk and standard risk groups:
High Risk: For this November update cycle, Microsoft has not recorded any high-risk functionality changes. This means that Microsoft has not updated nor made major changes to core API’s, functionality or any of the core components or applications included in the Windows desktop and server ecosystems.
More generally, given the broad nature of this update (Office and Windows) we suggest the testing the following Windows features and components:
- Hyper-V Update : a simple test of starting and stopping VM’s and isolated containers will suffice for this minor update.
- Microsoft PPTP VPN: exercise your typical VPN scenarios (connect/disconnect/restart) and try to simulate a disruption. Contrary to previous month’s recommendations, no extended connection trials are required.
- Microsoft Photo App: ensure that your RAW image extensions work as expected.
- Microsoft ReFS and ExFat: a typical CRUD test (Create/Rename/Update/Delete) will suffice this month.
There were several updates to how group policies are implemented on Microsoft Windows platforms this month. We suggest spending some time ensuring that the following features are working as expected:
- GPO policy creation/deployment and deletion
- Editing GPO policies, with a validation check to see if these updated policies have been applied to the entire OU.
- Ensure that all symbolic links are working as expected (redirects to user data)
And, with all testing regimes required when making changes to Microsoft GPO’s, remember to use the “gpupdate /force” command to ensure that all changes have been committed to the target system.
Who uses the Windows Overlay Filter Feature?
System engineers do, that’s who. If you have had to build client machines for large automated enterprise deployments you may have to work with the Windows Overlay Filter (WoF) driver for WIM boot files. Wof allows for significantly better compression ratios of installation files and was introduced in Windows 8. If you are in the middle of a large client-side deployment effort this month, ensure that your WIM files are still accessible after this November update. If you are looking for a little more information on this key Windows deployment feature, check out this great blog post on WoF data compression.
Unless otherwise specified, we should now assume that each Patch Tuesday update will require testing of core printing functions including:
- printing from directly connected printers
- large print jobs from servers (especially if they are also domain controllers)
- remote printing (using RDP and VPN)
Let us know if you think that we have missed anything for this update cycle.