Windows 10: less downtime during feature upgrades

Microsoft plans to roll out a change in the coming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that aims to reduce the time the computer is installing the update.

The new feature shifts some processes which are currently processed during installation of the update.

Microsoft separates Windows 10 updates into online and offline phases. The process begins with the online phase. Windows Update finds a new update for the PC and starts to download it.

Up until now, that is all that happens in the online phase. Windows waits for the PC to restart to install the downloaded update on the machine.

The offline phase begins with the restart and access to the PC is not available until it completes. The phase includes the installation, but also processes such as backing up user content or the laying down of new OS files (Windows Image WIM).

Windows 10: new upgrade process

windows 10 update

The following table highlights the changes between the old and new update process on machines running Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Old ProcessNew Process
Online PhasePC checks for updatesPC checks for updates
Update gets downloadedUpdate gets downloaded
PC waits for rebootUser content is backed up
New OS files are laid down
PC waits for reboot
Offline PhasePC reboots to begin install processPC reboots to begin install process
User content is backed upDrivers and other required OS files are migrated
New OS files are laid downUser content is restored
Drivers and other required OS files are migratedPC reboots and the update finishes
User content is restored
PC reboots and the update finishes

Microsoft moved some processes to the online phase which are not really required to run in the offline phase of the update process.

Since users may use the PC like they normally would when the update is in the online phase, they have more time to work on the device during updates. The offline phase, the time the PC cannot be used because of the updating, is reduced because some of the processes were moved to the online phase.

Microsoft notes that the overall time that updates require may be longer, as the processes that were moved from the offline phase to the online phase run in low priority modes to avoid impacting a user's work on the device.

In short: The time that updates block users from accessing the Windows computer has been reduced.


Microsoft's work on making the Windows update process more comfortable to the user continues. The company needs to do this, as it will release two feature updates for Windows 10 each year. This means that users will run through this process twice a year, provided that they do install both feature updates and don't sit one out.

Windows Insiders will benefit from this even more, as new updates are pushed out by Microsoft more frequently.

The announcement was made in the Feedback Hub. (via Deskmodder)

Windows 10: less downtime during feature upgrades
Article Name
Windows 10: less downtime during feature upgrades
Microsoft plans to roll out a change in the coming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that aims to reduce the time the computer is installing the update.
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  1. Timson said on July 21, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    This problem is – Online Phase happens without users permission so you can have high system load (IO/CPU usage) at a critical time without even having the ability to stop it.
    I have the same problem with CompatTelRunner.exe – this process is unaffected by any “telemetry disabling” tweaks of Win10 and as soon as it detects small period of input inactivity it can trigger and consume one CPU core entirely for 20-40 seconds. Sure it’s a small time but Microsoft never explained what it’s doing apart from “checking if system is good for windows 10 upgrade”. But what it’s doing almost every day on Windows 10 systems – nobody knows.

  2. said on July 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

    The only thing that will work is being allowed to choose the updates that I want to choose to. Just like we used to be able to do.

    Anything else is just playing games avoiding the subject crap.

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