Patch Management Engine (PME) V2.8GA

We are delighted to announce the new Patch Management Engine is scheduled to be updated from RC to GA tomorrow

Feature Enablement Package Support

The highlight of PME 2.8 is the added support for installing Feature Upgrades via the enablement package provided by Microsoft.

For those unfamiliar with what these are, Microsoft was aware of how time-consuming major upgrades could be due to the file size, lengthy install time, and multiple reboots needed to complete them. They changed the release process to a spring and fall major upgrade like 22H1 and 22H2 and then took it one step further by greatly reducing the size and impact of those in the form of a Feature Enablement package.

As you are installing your normal monthly quality updates, Microsoft is adding features along the way within dormant files which are later activated by a Feature Enablement package.

Microsoft can and will occasionally release a Feature Upgrade via only the full package and not the Enablement Package, for example, 22H2 for Windows 10 has both versions but only the full package is available for Windows 11.

Whilst sizes, install times, and reboots are set by Microsoft and subject to change the difference in what is involved with these can be quite staggering, Some example numbers may look like this:

  • Size of Feature Upgrade download 1Mb instead of up to 5.7Gb which was seen on Windows 10 22H1
  • Install time under 1 minute compared to up to 3 hours
  • Restarts 1 or none compared to 2 or 3

Please note some other important bits of information you should be aware of

  • Where both versions of Feature Upgrade are detected by a device you may choose which version you want to approve
  • Where both versions are auto-approved the feature enablement package will be prioritized and attempted first and then remove the need for the full package if successful. * Please note this functionality is currently supported by the N-sight agent but not N-central. The N-central agent requires a further update, prior to that if both versions are approved the engine will install the larger version.
  • N-central users may want to take advantage of keywords in the approval rules to target only a specific version if you auto-approve these.
  • Where both versions are detected and approved they will both be downloaded prior to or during the install window, therefore it may be in your interests to at first try enablement packages if you have concerns about the performance of a specific network
  • These will still be classed as Upgrades

*Please note, the Feature Enablement packages will not be discovered until 48 hours after engine is GA due to changes we have to make to the packages it uses.

PME V2.8 also contains the following improvements and fixes

  • Improved patch detection logic for devices that have reached end-of-life support.
  • Increased download timeout for Cumulative Updates
  • Improved logic for testing if the third-party patch engine can connect to SIS and download needed files which causes unnecessary alerts including “[PME900] Error in ThirdPartyDataProvider: Could not find file ‘C:\ProgramData\MspPlatform\PME\ThirdPartyPatch\installed_vendors.xml’”
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