Windows 10 updates: We're getting closer to squashing download sizes, says Microsoft

Microsoft moves nearer to smaller, less burdensome Windows 10 upgrades by kicking off change-only downloads for full PC builds to Windows 10 Insiders.


Updating Windows 10 in the near future won't be such a burden on users because download file sizes will be far smaller.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has started releasing PC builds for Windows 10 Insiders as smaller, change-only update packages from its new Unified Update Platform.

In the major update after the Windows 10 Creators Update, due in April, Windows PC users can expect much lighter releases thanks to Microsoft's new Unified Update Platform (UUP), its new delivery system for software.

For now, Microsoft is testing UUP with Windows Insiders for PCs and mobile, but will eventually use the system for all Windows 10 devices, including HoloLens, tablets, and IoT devices.

UUP delivers "differential updates" or download packages that only contain new bits that have been added since the last time a device was updated.

Microsoft reckons UUP can cut its 'canonical' or full builds to about 1GB, translating into faster and less disruptive downloads for users.

Microsoft kicked off UUP with Windows 10 Mobile devices in November, and followed up with Insider Preview updates for PCs in December. Now it's moving on to the next phase of UUP with Windows Insiders.

"We are excited to begin releasing PC builds to Windows Insiders using differential download packages," said Bill Karagounis, director of Microsoft's Program Management, Windows Insider Program & OS Fundamentals.

To clarify what's happening here, Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott explains that to date Microsoft has been using UUP for smaller monthly updates. Now though, Microsoft is enabling UUP for the canonical download packages for the Insider Preview.

According to Karagounis: "As we roll out UUP in our retail release, users can expect their download size to decrease by approximately 35 percent when going from one major update of Windows to another."

Since Windows Insiders get more frequent updates than general users, they can expect UUP updates that will be much smaller than 1GB.

Users can also expect lower demands on the device related to checking for updates. Instead of the device doing the checking, Windows Update service will do the task, translating into faster checks for updates.

More on Windows 10