Microsoft Insider build 14959 includes first preview of improved feature-download capability

Microsoft is starting to test Windows 10 platform technology aimed at making new feature updates to the operating system smaller and more seamless.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is making changes under the covers as to how Windows 10 will handle feature-update downloads going forward.

Credit: ZDNet

Starting with Thursday's Windows Insider test build 14959 for Fast Ring phones running Windows Mobile, Microsoft is introducing new underlying technology called the Unified Update Platform (UUP).

From Microsoft's Nov. 3 blog post explaining the coming infrastructure change:

"Our customers have told us they would like updates to be more seamless, that they'd like more control over the timing of when updates are installed, that they'd like updating to require less local processing and thus improve battery life, and that they'd like download sizes to be reduced.... We are announcing the next generation of our delivery technologies incorporated into our latest Insider builds called the Unified Update Platform (UUP)."

Microsoft is expecting download package sizes to be reduced by 35 percent when going from one major update of Windows 10 to the next thanks to UUP. That's because the download packages in the future will include only the changes that have been made since the last time a user's Windows 10 device was updated -- as opposed to all the changes to date.

The first time mainstream/non-Insider users will benefit from UUP will be in the Windows 10 feature update after the Creators Update (so, in other words, when they are updated from the spring 2017 Creators Update, or Redstone 2, to the follow-on, which is codenamed Redstone 3 and expected in the latter half of 2017).

Microsoft is planning to start testing UUP as of Thursday with Windows 10 Mobile devices running the Insider preview. Next up will be Windows 10 PC Insider builds, followed by Windows 10 IoT and HoloLens Insider devices. Xbox Ones running Windows 10 won't be getting UUP, as they are updated differently, officials said.

What's enabling Microsoft to provide this kind of differential updating technology now is the work it has been doing to converge what's included in various Windows 10 builds across platforms, said Bill Karagounis, director of Program Management for the Windows Insider Program and OS Fundamentals.

In addition to the new UUP infrastructure, there are a number of other fixes and updates in Thursday's Windows Insider Fast Ring builds for PC and Mobile. Build 14959 includes a new zoom option for controlling the display of virtual machines for PCs. There are also a number of known issues, as usual for Insider builds, which are detailed in in the blog post.

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