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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What Is Patch Tuesday for Windows, and When Is It?

Windows 10's new light desktop background logo.

Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday” occurs on the second Tuesday of each month. This is the day when, like clockwork, Microsoft releases large update packages for Windows 10, Windows 7, Microsoft Office, and its other software.

What Is Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday?

Sometimes called “Update Tuesday,” Patch Tuesday is an unofficial term for the day when Microsoft releases update packages for the Windows operating system and other Microsoft software applications, including Microsoft Office.

As Microsoft patches security vulnerabilities, it doesn’t release those patches immediately. Instead, the company gathers those fixes into a larger update, which is released on Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft does this to make the update process as predictable as possible for administrators. IT professionals know that patches will arrive on the second Tuesday of each month, and they can make plans to test or install them. It should be easier than continually applying smaller patches and more predictable than huge patches arriving on a random day of the month.

When Is Patch Tuesday?

Patch Tuesday occurs on the second Tuesday of each month. More precisely, it occurs on the second Tuesday of each month in North America.

Microsoft doesn’t have a guaranteed time these patches and Microsoft’s information bulletins about them will be released. These updates generally arrive around 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, but they may be released later in the day.

Windows 10 checks for updates about once per day. The average Windows PC should automatically download these updates via Windows Update by Wednesday afternoon if it’s powered on and connected to the internet. Of course, administrators may choose to delay and test these updates before deploying them to PCs in their organizations.

Updates Aren’t Only Released on Tuesdays

As you might have noticed, Patch Tuesday isn’t the only date updates arrive. In some cases, Microsoft will issue “out-of-band” updates for particularly critical security flaws, especially ones that are being exploited in the wild.

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