Windows 10 Service Stack Update (SSU) internal explained

[German]Microsoft is releasing cyclically Servicing Stack Updates (SSU) for Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10). But what should you know about that SSUs and what's behind them?


An example of such a servicing stack update is KB4132216 from May 2018, which is available for Windows 10 version 1607. Microsoft generally says, that SSUs should improve the stability of the (Windows 10) servicing stack. Depending on the update, further improveds are mentioned.

Servicing Stack Update (SSU) explained

Recently German blog reader Markus K. pointed out to me an article from Microsoft Japan about this subject. The Ask Core team (Microsoft Japan Windows Technology Support) has published an article About the service stack update program that improves the update installation process. Almost in parallel I also received a Twitter notification from @PhantomofMobile – thanks for that:

This SSU program updates the service stack (servicing stack). This updates the component CBS (Component Based Servicing), which is responsible for the installation process of the operating system. The purpose of installing a service stack update (SSU) is to improve the installation process of the operating system, including the installation of the update program.

Cumulative updates require SSUs

Servicing stack updates (SSUs) must always be installed separately from the cumulative updates for Windows 10 (and prior to installation). I had pointed this out several times in various blog posts about Windows 10 updates. If this is ignored, installation errors may occur during cumulative updates.


SSUs can't be uninstalled

Microsoft Japan writes in its blog that the scope of modifications to SSUs is limited – only the CBS components are updated. Servicing stack updates (SSU) cannot be uninstalled by default.

If there are issues with Windows after a Servicing Stack Update has been installed, you can restore an older system image backup or try System Restore (if active) to roll back the system.

I posted the article Uninstalling 'uninstallable' Windows Updates, that shows ways to uninstall such an 'uninstallable' package for test purposes. However, this is not a permanent solution, since the following cumulative updates can usually no longer be installed.

Microsoft Japan gives some more hints about these updates in the article. For example, to find out the last SSU, Microsoft recommends searching the support area using this URL. But maybe the information above will help you.

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