Windows 10 Update Delivery Optimization explained

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 17, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system ships with a feature that Microsoft calls (update) Delivery Optimization.

The feature uses local network or Internet sources to deliver updates to machines running Windows 10. Basically, peer to peer assisted update delivery.

Delivery Optimization is turned on by default on all editions of Windows 10. There is however a difference between Enterprise and Education versions of windows 10, and the regular versions such as Pro or Home.

All Enterprise and Education versions are configured to only use PCs on a corporate network as peers. Consumer versions of Windows 10 on the other hand are configured to use local and Internet peers when it comes to updates.

Windows 10 Update Delivery Optimization

windows 10 update delivery optimization

Clients used to provide content to peers need to meet certain requirements. Devices need to have at least 4 Gigabyte of RAM and 256 Gigabyte of hard disk space.

Delivery Optimization is currently only used for larger updates such as cumulative updates or feature updates such as the Anniversary Update that was released recently.

If enabled, and it is by default, your PC or device may be used to deliver updates to other Windows 10 users, and it may download updates from peers and not Windows Update.

The whole process looks like the following:

  1. The PC checks WSUS to find out if updates are available.
  2. For updates that match the update policy on the PC, the PC checks with the Delivery Optimization service to find out whether local network or Internet sources are available that have the update already (based on configuration of the Delivery Optimization service).
  3. If peers are discovered, the PC tries to download the updates from those systems.
  4. For updates that are not available and updates that cannot be retrieved for other reasons, WSUS is used instead.

Configuring Delivery Optimization

First thing you may want to do is check the Delivery Optimization configuration on the PC.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Choose how updates are delivered.

The page lists whether Delivery Optimization is enabled on the device, and how it is configured. You may toggle the feature on or off there on the page, and switch between "PCs on my local network" and "PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet". The latter defines update sources and destinations if Delivery Optimization is enabled.

While you get some options to control Delivery Optimization using the Settings application, several are missing.

Group Policy

delivery optimization group policy

You may define Delivery Optimization using the Local Group Policy Editor.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type gpedit.msc and hit enter.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Delivery Optimization using the tree hierarchy on the left.

Several policies are listed under Delivery Optimization. The main one is Download Mode which determines whether Delivery Optimization is enabled, and how it is being used.

download mode

You may set Download Mode to one of the following values:

  • 0: WSUS only.
  • 1: Delivery Optimization behind the same NAT only. (Default for Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10)
  • 2: Private Group only: either same Active Directory Site or same domain.
  • 3: Delivery Optimization uses LAN and Internet peers. (Default for Pro and Home editions of Windows 10)
  • 99: Simple download mode. Delivery Optimization uses HTTP only, won't contact to Delivery Optimization cloud services.
  • 100: Bypass mode: Delivery Optimization is not used at all, BITS is used instead.

The following policies are provided as well. Please note that they modify various Delivery Optimization settings. If you turn the feature off, there is no need to configure those.

  • Absolute Max Cache Size (in GB) - Specifies the maximum size in Gigabyte of the Delivery Optimization cache.
  • Group ID: Must be set as a GUID. Used to create a single group for local network peering for branches that are on different domains, or are not on the same LAN.
  • Max Cache Age (in seconds): Default value is 3 days. Specifies the maximum time in seconds that files are held in the Delivery Optimization cache.
  • Max Cache Size (in Percentage): The default value is 20%. Defines the maximum cache size that Delivery Optimization uses as a percentage of available disk size.
  • Max Upload Bandwidth (in KB/s): Default value is unlimited (0). This value specifies the maximum upload bandwidth of the Delivery Optimization service.
  • Maximum Download Bandwidth (in KB/s): Default value is unlimited (0). The value specifies the maximum download bandwidth that the service uses.
  • Maximum Download Bandwidth (in Percentage): The default value is unlimited (0): The value specifies the maximum download bandwidth in percentage.
  • Minimum Background QoS (in KB/s): The default value is 500 KB/s. Specifies the maximum download Quality of Service speed in Kilobyte per second.
  • Modify Cache Drive: Specify a custom drive that Delivery Optimization should use for its cache.
  • Monthly Upload Data Cap (in GB): The default value is set to 200 Gigabyte. Specifies the maximum total bytes in Gigabyte that Delivery Optimization is allowed to upload to Internet peers.

Controlling Delivery Optimization via the Registry

delivery optimization registry

You may control the feature using the Registry as well.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit and hit enter.
  2. Confirm the UAC prompt.

The main key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DeliveryOptimization\Config.

Check if you have the preference DODownloadMode listed under it. If not, right-click on Config and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value, and name it DODownloadMode.

The key accepts the same values as Download Mode listed under Group Policy above (0=off, 1=On but local network only, 2=On, local network private peering only, 3=On local network and Internet, 99=simply download mode, 100=bypass mode).

More information are provided on Technet.


Windows 10 Update Delivery Optimization explained
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Windows 10 Update Delivery Optimization explained
Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system ships with a feature that Microsoft calls (update) Delivery Optimization.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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