Windows 11 22H2: Microsoft allows control optional update installation via group policy

Windows[German]Microsoft is experimenting with how administrators can control optional updates during installation. With the optional update KB5029351 published on August 22, 2023, a new option was introduced. Administrators can use group policies to specify how optional Windows updates can be installed in the future.


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In the description for the optional preview update KB5029351 for Windows 11 22H2 from August 22, 2023 there is a short note about a new feature(see Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5029351 (August 22, 2023)). It states:

New! This release adds a new policy called "Enable optional updates." Administrators can use it to configure the monthly, optional cumulative updates for commercial devices. You can also use this policy for the gradual Controlled Feature Rollouts (CFR). To learn more, see Enable and control optional updates for your organization.

So there is a new option to allow optional updates to be installed via group policy. Administrators can use this policy to configure monthly optional cumulative updates for commercial devices. This policy is also needed if you want to control Controlled Feature Rollouts (CFR) as an administrator in an enterprise environment. I had recognized mentions of this new feature on Twitter that night, where "Windows Update" pointed out this new feature.

Windows 11 22H2 Update GPO

Microsoft explains this Group Policy approach in the Techcommunity post Enable and control optional updates for your organization. The goal is to give administrators in enterprise environments more control over optional updates and their installation.

  • Optional, non-security preview updates are rolled out for current Windows versions in the 4th week of a month (D-Week) and are later incorporated into the following month's cumulative security update. Bugs are often fixed in the updates and administrators are supposed to be able to use the preview to test if there are any problems with the updates (is supposed to prevent these problems on patchday the following month).
  • There is another special form of the optional updates, that are the feature rollouts, which are also called controlled feature rollouts (CFR) or continuous innovation. Microsoft uses these feature rollouts to roll out innovations between the annual feature updates. These updates can be rolled out via Windows Update or through the Store.

The new group policy "Enable optional updates" can be used to intervene in the installation of both update variants. If this policy is activated, it is also possible to define how users receive these updates via the following options:


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  • Automatically receive optional updates (including CFRs).
  • Select this option for devices to get the latest optional non-security updates, including gradual feature rollouts. There is no change to feature update offering.
  • Automatically receive optional updates. Select this option for devices to only get the latest optional non-security updates. They won't automatically receive gradual feature rollouts. There is no change to feature update offering.
  • Users can select what optional updates to receive. Select this option to allow users to set their own preferences with respect to optional non-security updates. There is no change to feature update offering.

The rollout or deployment of the annual feature updates is not changed by this group policy. The policy applies to devices managed by Windows Update for Business or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and applies to Windows 11 version 22H2 and later. The policy is available at:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update\Manage update offered from Windows Update.

In the right column of the policy window, activate the "Enable optional updates" policy. After that, the above options can be set in the details. The colleagues from deskmodder.de have also documented the registry entries and values for this policy here. If you read the Techcommunity article, you should also read the comments. Driver updates can probably not be managed with the policy and there is a user comment on the article.

Similar articles:
Microsoft Security Update Summary (August 8, 2023)
Patchday: Windows 10 Updates (August 8, 2023)
Patchday: Windows 11/Server 2022 Updates (August 8, 2023)
Windows 7/Server 2008 R2; Server 2012 R2: Updates (August 8, 2023)
Microsoft Office Updates (August 8, 2023)
Exchange Server Security Updates (August 8, 2023)

Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5029351 (August 22, 2023)
Windows 11 21H2: Preview-Update KB5029332 (August 22, 2023)
Windows 10 22H2 Preview Update KB5029331 (August 22, 2023)


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