Microsoft makes first major Windows 10 patch a Windows Update exclusive

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 22, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

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.

Updates End

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.

windows 10 major update

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.

Microsoft's official comment on the change is below (via Ed Bott and WinBeta).

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.

Microsoft makes first major Windows 10 patch a Windows Update exclusive
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Microsoft makes first major Windows 10 patch a Windows Update exclusive
Microsoft changed how Windows 10's first major patch is delivered. Now, it is only available via Windows Update and by no other means.
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  1. Gene said on November 27, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I just downloaded (Nov 27) the windows 10 November update after Microsoft put it back out for download after removing it.
    The ISO files are much different for both 32 & 64 bit. The original size for 32bit was 3,033,683,968 and the new size is 2,574,974,976. The original size for 64bit was 4,017,000,448 and the new size is 3,275,489,280.
    What gives????

  2. Steve said on November 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Arstechnica (and others, like the Register) are reporting that the update has been restored after MS fixed a few bugs. The updated Media Creation Tool is also back, they say.


  3. jj said on November 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Just in the last couple of weeks I have returned to using Windows 8.1.
    I have two hard drives, one with Windows 10, the other with Windows 8.1.
    After going back to 8.1 everything just seemed less cluttered and easier to use.
    It was like a breath of fresh air.
    I will keep Windows 10 updated, but I will not be using it any time soon.

  4. supercuek said on November 24, 2015 at 7:16 am

    why win10 can’t save the win update progress? always begin with 0% updating.

    can i update win10 with win10 10586 iso?

  5. Steve said on November 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Slashdot reports that the following unpublished link can be used to download the updated media creation tool.

    That link is working as I write this.


    1. seeprime said on November 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Even the new Media Creation Tool now downloads the July 28th version of Windows 10. It still works, sure. But not in the way that they said it would.

      If I’m wrong, please let me know after you download the ISO and check the version number.

  6. Marco said on November 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

    It really looks like a part of Microsoft is trying to destroy what another part of Microsoft is doing to improve.
    It’s like a dog biting his own tail. Or one step forward, two steps backward. Such a shame.

  7. iron2000 said on November 23, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Looks like big software companies don’t value choice.
    They want control.

    I want a choice to use the MCT to do updates.

  8. silat said on November 22, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Question: Am I forced to accept hardware updates with windows 10 updates?
    Example: Video card maker has released a driver update (I do not want it). Does MS force it on me?

    1. seeprime said on November 23, 2015 at 2:24 am

      Go to the old Control Panel / System. Click on Advanced System Settings on the left side. Then click on the Hardware tab. Then select the Device Installation settings box. You can set it to only allow driver updates from your hardware manufacturer. That’s how I set all the Win10 PC’s I work on ever since it continuously tried to install drivers for devices that I my laptop doesn’t have

  9. 242 said on November 22, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Is this why over 700k private bytes are being used on my computer right now by svchost.exe? I have automatic updates turned to let me choose only, yet even seeing this huge list of crap that needs ghacks sorting on which I should and shouldn’t download, it still refuses to stop. Is it secretly trying to download W10 onto my computer? How can I tell? And how can I stop it?

    Despite heeding all the advice from earlier posts I still have crap that asks me to upgrade to w10, and that alone takes up nearly 3 gigs. I assume it’s already downloaded on my computer so how can I get rid of it?

  10. dan said on November 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Well said. Unfortunately, as long as business keep storing their data in SQL Server databases (not to mention MS Office products), Microsoft OS’s will continue to be around (and I will continue to be employed). What MS needs, for its own good as well as ours, is more competition.

  11. Inolvidable said on November 22, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    IMHO we are trapped in one of the flaws of our “extreme free-market” economic system. I mean when one or two multinationals (in every sector) make a product with little or no competition at all, becoming monopolies that make free-market and healthy competition impossible.

    Windows has become a standard, the OS of reference for driver/hardware and major software developers for home or business PC users. Apple is pushing hard to catch up but (for several reasons) it is still far far away of becoming a real threat, and Linux for this “mainstream” market segment is not a real option. Many people, old and young, have learned how to work with Android in the mobile world and who knows, there could be surprises in a few years. Today however there is no real alternative to Windows for most of us. If we want all the productivity and entertainment a PC can offer, from Games to specialized sofware, with maximum compatibility for components, we have to sign whatever conditions Microsoft decide to impose over us, being the absolute lack of privacy the one I can not accept. I am definitely exploring options to keep myself away from Microsoft and Google because I can live with less functionality or compatibility but not without privacy.

    The world is relying on a few Multinationals with simply too much power, information and influence that are too big to fail, so we have to finance them while they rule over us. At this point I am truly concerned about this and I will try to keep my privacy as away as possible from them.

    1. John in Mtl said on November 23, 2015 at 1:41 am

      One possible avenue: install windows and your programs but leave that machine OFF the internet. Use another machine and OS to go on the net to do things like email, browsing and getting needed windows programs. Or dual-boot Win & another OS.

      1. Inolvidable said on November 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

        I totally agree. Dual-boot could be the easiest way for most of PC users. Two machines will work too, more expensive but way more secure. I think Dual-boot is the way to go for me. I have to learn a little about the Linux world. Ms crossed a red line this time

      2. Pants said on November 23, 2015 at 7:31 am

        Or VM it

  12. danknoxsf said on November 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I support the change. MS is giving Windows 10 away, all they are asking is that users stay up to date. They want control and if you don’t like it use something else. There are other options for people that want it.

    1. tekman said on November 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Ha ha ha, MS is giving it away because who in their right mind would pay for this trash? Seems to me they can’t offload it fast enough and now with this latest debacle, its enough to put anyone off.

    2. Corky said on November 23, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Windows 10 is not free, that’s unless you can show me where to get a free copy of Windows 10?
      AFAIK i would either have to buy a copy of Windows 7/8.1 and upgrade, or buy a copy of Windows 10 directly.

    3. Yuliya said on November 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Windows 10 Pro costs 150 USD on Amazon. How exactly is Microsoft giving it away?

    4. yand said on November 22, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      except by doing this, they are asking users to be 1 month out of date. (well, having to be on rtm for 1 month before getting threshold 2). or 4+ months out of date (rtm was released in july), depending on how you look at it.

  13. Tim said on November 22, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    It’s just one thing after another, Microsoft have really lost the plot. They’ve gone from a company that I used to trust and be on the same wavelength as, to one where everything they do now has me concerned about the future of Microsoft and has me considering what alternatives there are.

    This update issue makes no sense. The whole idea of Threshold 2 is that it includes fixes and improvements and yet people can’t just install this version, they have to install the old 10240 version.

    A lot of people waited for Threshold 2 to be released before upgrading, but if someone clean installs Windows 10 they then have to wait an indeterminate amount of time until Windows decides that it’s going to download and install Threshold 2. What a waste of time and bandwidth, not to mention inconvenience, especially for those who upgrade other peoples machines for them.

    1. JohnMWhite said on November 22, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      I agree. Microsoft have become so erratic and clumsy lately that it is truly concerning. Missteps happen to the best of us, but they’re just tap dancing.

  14. kalmly said on November 22, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Sadder and sadder.

  15. Frank said on November 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Just like MS to jerk just around. They do it cause they can…

  16. Erich said on November 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    You can still download an updated image for Windows 10 Home/Pro from Tech Bench:

  17. Joker said on November 22, 2015 at 10:19 am

    “Microsoft has not pulled the Windows 10 November 10 update.”

    I’m glad not even MS can fully comprehend their own stupid naming-conventions anymore.

    On a related note: Windows 7 is still working fine and flawless, tyvm. :)

    1. Yuliya said on November 22, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      They created an OS that is so good, and now they can’t do it any better :) That’s how I would describe 7. And you don’t need to be any sort of advanced user to notice it. Most people aren’t. I see the W10 offer logo on many people’s PCs/laptops, and they refuse to install it because they don’t want it / not interested, or have found out about the privacy issues.

      Just like 8 was condemned from the start for its missing.. Start and tablet interface, so is 10 for its privacy issues.

      Ah well, I’m happy with 7, and until at least 2020 I have no plan to switch to anything else.

    2. Tom Hawack said on November 22, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      On a related approval: Windows 7 is the last enterprise Microsoft brought up correctly. I have never seen such a junkyard as Windows 10. When will this “thing” ever be ready? (I’m not thinking of “finished” because better is always possible). November 29th will be Win10’s launch 4 months birthday, and the baby is NOT viable. I wonder if it will be before July 29th 2016.
      I’ve seldom been so satisfied of a decision, that of blocking Microsoft’s mad, insane, tracking, over-expensive to be, Windows the Tenth. A nightmare as it seems to be.

  18. dan said on November 22, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Someone at Microsoft needs to be fired already.

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