What Are Windows Moment Updates And How Are They Different?

What Are Windows Moment Updates And How Is It DifferentWhat Are Windows Moment Updates And How Is It Different

Key Points

  • Moment updates include major new features and are a means for Microsoft to release new features as they are ready for the Windows 11 audience.
  • Moment updates are cumulative and optional updates, therefore need to be installed manually, and include previous fixes as well.

While talking about Windows updates, you might have come across different types of updates, which may include “cumulative updates,” “Patch Tuesday updates,” “Type C and D updates,” “moment updates,” etc. All of these are Windows updates that you normally install through the Windows Update Settings page or standalone installers, but what is the difference between them?

In this article, we will discuss the different kinds of updates, and why Microsoft and other sources name them as such.

Types of Windows Updates

Microsoft rolls out different kinds of updates for the Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. These can be Feature updates, Quality updates, Service stack updates, and so forth. These kinds of Windows updates are categorized according to what they update, what the package includes, whether it addresses any security vulnerabilities, etc. However, these are not the type of Windows updates we are discussing today.

Instead, we will be discussing the Windows updates that are normally categorized according to when they are released.

Microsoft has a preplanned schedule of when they will be rolling out the OS updates (except for out-of-band updates and hotfixes). For example, the Windows updates that roll out on the second Tuesday of each month are referred to as “Patch Tuesday” updates.

In this context, Microsoft releases the following Windows updates:

  • Cumulative updates
  • Patch Tuesday updates
  • Type C/D updates, optional non-security updates
  • Moment updates

Cumulative updates

A cumulative Windows update, as the name implies, is a collection of Windows updates that are bundled together, as opposed to separate Windows updates that each address a single issue.

For example, the Windows update KB000001 addresses an issue, and KB000002 addresses another issue, then when Microsoft releases the cumulative update KB000003, it will include updates from KB000001 as well as KB000002.

Cumulative updates are designed for people who do not often use the computer. This way, instead of downloading and installing the Windows updates separately, you must only install one update that will include all previous fixes and features.

Patch Tuesday updates

Patch Tuesday updates are cumulative updates. The only difference is that they are scheduled for every second Tuesday of each month and that these are security updates. This means that they include security patches to fix any discovered vulnerabilities, and may or may not include other fixes and improvements, like introducing new features, fixing operational parameters, etc.

Microsoft releases Patch Tuesday security updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11 till their respective version reaches their End of Life. Until that time comes, Microsoft will roll out updates for the supported operating systems every second Tuesday of the month like clockwork.

Patch Tuesday updates are often referred to as “Type B” updates.

Type C/D or non-security optional updates

Optional updates are those that do not automatically install on the OS. Instead, if a user wants to install it, they must manually trigger it from the Windows Update Settings page, or the Optional Updates Settings page.

Optional updates can be OS updates, driver updates, or even firmware updates. The operating system optional updates are normally non-security updates and often only include fixes and sometimes new features. Any update that needs to be installed manually is an optional update.

An optional update is also called a Type C update, or a Type D update. The former is released on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, and the latter is released on the 4th. Additionally, these are often called “Preview” updates since they include fixes and improvements that are meant to be released sometime later but are released early for beta testing.

Just a few months ago, Microsoft changed its strategy for rolling out optional updates. They now publish optional preview updates for Windows every 4th Tuesday of the month that you can install from the Windows Update Settings page.

Manually download and install Windows optional preview update
Manually download and install Windows optional preview update

Moment updates

Moment updates are also cumulative updates, which include all the previous features, improvements, and more. Traditionally, these are optional updates, but there is no hard-and-fast rule. That said, the most distinguished characteristic of a Moment update is that it includes new features for the operating system.

Microsoft uses Moment updates to roll out Windows features as they are ready. These mark the significant feature releases, and therefore, may also be called “Service Packs.”

Moment updates allow Microsoft to roll out new features without having to wait for the annual “Feature update.” The first Moment update was published in 2022 after the Windows 11 22H2 was already released.

Note that not all updates that include new features are Moment updates. These are only the updates that include major new features, like the one that was recently published as “Moment 4 update“, since it was the 4th feature drop for Windows 11 since its original release in 2021.

Windows Moment update history

Moment updates have been released since the release of Windows 11. Windows 10 did not have Moment updates.

In the past, Microsoft has released a total of 4 Moment updates, including the latest Moment 4 update that was rolled out on 26 September 2023.

Here are the details of the Moment updates released over time:

Release dateApplies toRelease highlights
Moment 118-Oct-22Windows 11 22H2Improved File Explorer, suggested actions, Taskbar overflow, Taskbar right-click to open the Task Manager, support for iCloud photos in the Photo app, Android apps support, and Amazon App Store
Moment 228-Feb-23Windows 11 22H2Bing Chat integration in the Taskbar, optimized Taskbar for tablets, redesigned System Tray, revamped Chat feature in Taskbar, Notepad supports tabs, Phone Link app supports iPhones, Snipping Tool with screen recording, new Task Manager UI with search, Energy recommendations settings, widgets support full-screen mode and third-party widgets.
Moment 324-May-23Windows 11 22H2Live captions in additional languages, VPN status icon in the system tray, display seconds in the system tray clock, quick copy for two-factor authentication codes, File Explorer’s context menu gets access key shortcuts, multi-app kiosk mode, content Adaptive Brightness Control, USB4 Hubs and Devices Settings Page, presence sensor privacy setting, changes in Print Screen key behavior, enhanced cloud and integrated search suggestions
Moment 426-Sep-23Windows 11 22H2Windows Copilot, Dev Drive, improvements to Voice Access, personalized websites in the Recommended section of the Start menu, Passkeys are supported, Paint Cocreator introduces a text-to-image function, File Explorer includes a “Gallery,” Clipchamp includes automated video creation, the Windows Backup app has been introduced, Presence Sensing features are improved, Photos app now boasts advanced editing capabilities, Narrator now employs natural, human-like voices and supports new languages, Snipping Tool includes support for audio and mic.
Windows 11 Moment updates history

Ending words

Microsoft releases all sorts of Windows updates. Some are categorized based on both when they are released and what they include (like Moment updates), whilst others are categorized considering other parameters.

This article explains the major differences between Patch Tuesday updates, Moment updates, and cumulative updates. Although, as you may find, there are more similarities between them than there are differences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the difference between regular Windows updates and Cumulative updates?

Regular Windows updates may include a fix for only a single issue but do not include the fixes that have been released in the past. For a person to fix all of the fixed issues, they must install the individual updates. Cumulative updates include all fixes from the previous releases as well, and thus, the user only needs to install the latest cumulative update to fix all the fixed issues.

What is a Windows Moment update?

Microsoft uses Moment updates to roll out Windows features as they are ready. This way, they do not have to wait for the annual feature rollout. Moment updates include a plethora of new features and are normally optional updates that need to be manually installed. This is in case the new features may be unstable or cause issues with the OS.

Does Windows 10 have Moment updates?

Microsoft introduced the concept of Moment updates in 2022. Before that, Microsoft rolled out feature updates to Windows 10 and 11 twice a year. Therefore, they did not need to explicitly roll out the features quite as often. However, since they shifted to an annual feature rollout schedule, the need for Moment updates was created, and so Windows 11 began receiving them.
However, since Windows 10 version 22H2 was the last supported version anyway, it did not receive new features. Thus, Windows 10 did not have any Moment updates.

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