Microsoft this week began priming the virtual pumps for the first Windows Phone software update by delivering a staged rollout of a pre-update, if you will, that updates the software-updating mechanism in Windows Phones. That is, the company is slowly rolling out a software update that will make future software updates possible.

Confused? Welcome to my world! About four months after Microsoft promised a "substantial update ... very, very soon," the software giant is instead sending out the digital equivalent of a hiccup—a tiny software update that changes how today's Windows Phone devices work, enabling the delivery of the first real Windows Phone update, code-named "No Donuts" (or "NoDo"). That update is still due in the first half of March, Microsoft says.

Of course, Microsoft being Microsoft, it can't simply roll out out this pre-update to everyone at the same time. Instead, it's dribbling it out to small groups of users over time. One imagines Windows Phone users, stung by Microsoft's update slowness, furiously tapping and retapping "check for update" in anticipation. I'd say, "Prepare for disappointment," but they're used to it.

"This first update for Windows Phone is designed to improve the software-update process itself," a post on the Windows Phone blog reads. "So while it might not sound exciting, it's still important because it's paving the way for all future goodie-filled updates to your phone, such as copy-and-paste or improved Marketplace search."

Trust me, Microsoft, that does sound exciting to every single Windows Phone user on Earth. This is the moment we've all been waiting for: a sign from above that Microsoft really is going to deliver that first, oh-so-important, and eagerly awaited Windows Phone software update. And soon.

This pre-update requires users to plug their phone into a PC and download the update through the Zune PC software. I suppose this is also a painless way for customers to get used to the coming rigmarole, since all future Windows Phone software updates will require this same tethering process.

To find out more, check out my post "Microsoft delivers an update for Windows Phone. No, not THAT update" on the Windows Phone Secrets blog.