Microsoft changed two days ago how the first major patch for its Windows 10 operating system is delivered to systems running it.
Previously, users were able to download the patch via Windows Update, or by using the company's own Media Creation Tool, the latter allowing users to create an ISO image of the new version.
That option is gone, apparently as the Media Creation Tool downloads the Windows 10 RTM version now to the system with no option to include the update as well in the release.
The edited "Download Windows 10" page highlights the fact:
These downloads cannot be used to update Windows 10 PCs to the November update (Version 1511).
Microsoft highlighted the tool previously as an option to install the update on systems if Windows Update would not pick up the update (anymore).
Update: Microsoft MVP Greg Carmack assumes that the update was pulled because of an activation issues.
This may have to do with a major glitch also reported here that on Clean Installs the media was reading embedded Windows 8 keys to only activate the embedded version, even on PC's that also had a Digital Entitlement to Pro version. Since the version menu was then hidden, there was no way to install Professional without a workaround[..]
Update 2: Microsoft is offering the update again via its Media Creation Tool.
This leaves Windows Update as the only option for home users to upgrade Windows 10 to the latest version available.
In addition to making the change, Microsoft switched from making the update available to all to a staged roll-out.
What this means? It means that some users won't be able to update their systems to Windows 10 version 1511 build 10586 right now.
If the update does not show up in Windows Update, and if you don't have access to ISO images, for instance those provided by the MSDN service, then there is nothing you can do about it but wait until the update is finally being made available to you via Windows Update.
News emerged that Microsoft pulled the update, and one can see how that conclusion can be drawn based on Microsoft's actions, but that is not the case.
The November update was originally available via the MCT (Media Creation Tool), but the company decided that future installs should be through Windows Update. People can still download Windows 10 [Build 10240] using the MCT tool if they wish. The November update will be delivered via Windows Update.
Microsoft has not pulled the Windows 10 November 10 update. The company is rolling out the November update over time – if you don’t see it in Windows Update, you will see it soon.
The comment does not reveal a reason for the change but it is clear that this is to the disadvantage to some users.
Windows users who want to upgrade a machine running Windows 7 or Windows 8 for instance can no longer upgrade directly to the latest build but need to upgrade to Windows 10 RTM first, wait for the new update to appear in Windows Update, and go through a lengthy installation process again to do so now.
In addition, it prevents them from using their Windows 7 or 8 product keys to activate the operating system right away.
The downside of the change combined with the fact that Microsoft offers no explanation whatsoever why it made it, makes this a very frustrating change for Windows users who have not yet upgraded to the latest version of Windows 10.
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