Windows 10: We're cutting download sizes with smaller x64 option, says Microsoft

Microsoft is addressing one obstacle to large Windows 10 rollouts with a new x64-only option coming this month.

Microsoft is giving enterprise customers a new option to download smaller Windows 10 feature update packages for distribution, which should translate into significant bandwidth savings.

Until now, the Windows 10 feature update downloads have been about 4.8GB because Microsoft releases the x64 and x86 versions bundled as a single download.

There's now going to be an x64-only package option that's about 2.6GB in size, saving customers about 2.2GB on the previous bundled download size.

These slimmed down x64-only updates will be available as of September 27 for customers updating systems to Windows 10, versions 1703, 1709, and 1803. An x64-only feature update is coming for version 1809 once it is released next month.

This should make it less painful for larger customers to roll out these versions of Windows 10 across the enterprise.

Microsoft expects its commercial customers with global Windows 10 rollouts underway "to see considerable time and bandwidth savings with this option".

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

The updates will be available for customers using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or connected to System Center Configuration Manager, and will be released as Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) files through WSUS.

However, the downsized Windows 10 feature update packages contain only the original release to manufacturer (RTM) version of Windows 10, meaning they lack the cumulative updates released since RTM, as well as Features on Demand, and language packs.

That compromise means admins will need to separately apply the latest cumulative Quality Update to bring the software up to date.

"Customers who still need x86 feature updates will need to use the combined files originally published, which will continue to be available and do not have the 'x64' distinction," explained Joel Frauenheim of Microsoft.

"Configuration Manager or other enterprise management solutions can pull the x86 files from that feature update download to deploy as they did before."

However, the change won't save any bandwidth between Configuration Manager and the PC being installed with Windows 10.

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