Microsoft promises speedier Windows 10 Feature Update processes - gHacks Tech News

Microsoft promises speedier Windows 10 Feature Update processes

Microsoft releases two feature updates for the company's Windows 10 operating system per year. Users and administrators will also install feature updates regularly as feature updates are only supported for 18 months by the company. In other words: if you don't want to run an unsupported version of Windows 10, you do need to upgrade regularly.

Feature updates can be compared to classic Service Pack upgrades. A feature update upgrades Windows 10 to a new version that includes large and small changes to the system.

A core difference between cumulative updates that Microsoft releases at least once a month is that feature updates require multiple reboots to complete whereas cumulative updates only one reboot.

The installation of feature updates happens in four phases, each either offline or online. Online phases occur while the operating system is up and running. Users may use the system during online phases which makes them less disruptive to the experience.

Offline phases, on the other hand, run update processes when the operating system's frontend is not available to the user.

windows 10 fall creators update prompt

Joseph Conway, Senior Program Manager on the Windows Fundamentals team at Microsoft revealed recently that Microsoft engineers managed to reduce the time the operating system is in offline mode during feature updates significantly.

The offline phase of the Creators Update, released in April 2017, was about 82 minutes in total. Microsoft managed to reduce the offline time to 51 minutes in the Fall Creators Update, released in October 2017, and the upcoming Spring Creators Update will see further reductions to that. Recent Insider Build feature updates have an average offline time of just 30 minutes.

How is that achieved? Microsoft published a table that lists online and offline phases of the old and new feature update model.

OLD Feature Update model NEW Feature Update model
Online
  • PC checks for available feature updates (manually or automatically)
  • Feature update payload is downloaded
  • PC waits for a required reboot to begin update installation
  • PC checks for available feature updates (manually or automatically)
  • Feature update payload is downloaded
  • User content is prepared for migration
  • New operating system is placed into a temporary working directory
  • PC waits for a required reboot to begin update installation
Offline
  • PC reboots to begin update installation process
  • User content is prepared for migration
  • New operating system is placed into a temporary working directory
  • Drivers and other required operating system files are migrated
  • User content is migrated
  • PC reboots and completes the update
  • OOBE begins
  • Average Offline time of 82 minutes
  • PC reboots to begin update installation process
  • Drivers and other required operating system files are migrated
  • User content is migrated
  • PC reboots and completes the update
  • OOBE begins
  • Average Offline time of 30 minutes (Insiders Program)

The company moved some operations that were run in offline mode in previous feature updates to the online mode.

The new operating system was placed into a temporary working directory in offline mode during previous feature updates; the same operation happens in online mode now instead.

The preparation for migrating user content to the new version of Windows 10 moved from offline to online as well.

Closing Words

Offline time reductions during feature updates is a welcome improvement especially since users and admins may feel that there are too many updates for the operating system when compared to previous versions of the Windows operating system.

Now You: What's your experience with Windows Updates?

Summary
Microsoft promises speedier Windows 10 Feature Update processes
Article Name
Microsoft promises speedier Windows 10 Feature Update processes
Description
Joseph Conway, Senior Program Manager on the Windows Fundamentals team at Microsoft revealed recently that Microsoft engineers managed to reduce the time the operating system is in offline mode during feature updates significantly.
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Ghacks Technology News
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    Comments

    1. chesscanoe said on March 20, 2018 at 11:02 am
      Reply

      Windows Update has not caused a major problem for me since it was introduced. However sometimes I find it is not a total current update until a manual “Check for Updates” is done after indications are that the Update is complete, to include the last automatic “Check for Updates”.

    2. XJiegx said on March 20, 2018 at 11:33 am
      Reply

      That’s the price you pay when your OS is a Service “Windows as a Service”

      Once MS decide to move the entire OS in the cloud a.k.a Azure (I can asure it will, sooner than later) then people would find other reasons to complain for example the monthly/annual subscription fees and how pricey it is.

      Don’t worry my dear guinea pigs things will get much better for you from now on.

    3. AnorKnee Merce said on March 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm
      Reply

      Offline time reduced = Online time increased.

      An inplace upgrade means M$ has to scan your Win 10 system online before applying the upgrade. M$ may be slurping up all your user content, as in spying on you every 6 months, while applying the inplace upgrade online.

      In comparison, when you do a clean install from the 4GB Win 10 1709 ISO file, the install process is mostly offline, ie is only online for the installation of updates and activation of the Win 10 digital license = likely not much slurping of user content by M$.

      Seems, ignorant users are willing to give up their user content/privacy to M$ for the sake of convenience, laziness and being herded like sheep.

    4. AnorKnee Merce said on March 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm
      Reply

      According to
      https(colon)//answers(dot)microsoft(dot)com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-update/windows-10-fall-creators-update-crashed-my-pc/b8e2bdb4-9125-448b-a768-d597db79bf2c
      https(colon)//answers(dot).microsoft(dot)com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-update/update-1709/3d9ff6e0-f7c0-4002-a29c-6170e7195e40
      , seems, some 4 to 5 years old computers could not be upgraded to Win 10 1709 because their hardware devices are no longer supported by the OEMs.

      If so, affected users will have to buy new OEM Win 10 computers = Planned Obsolescence.

    5. John Fenderson said on March 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm
      Reply

      Not good enough.

      Twice now, Windows updates have cost me over 2 hours of my workday because I’ve had to reboot my development machine when there has been an update waiting to complete.

      This is ridiculous, and expensive. What I need is a way to tell Windows not to update no matter what until I specifically say to. Anything less is not nearly good enough.

      1. Anonymous said on March 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm
        Reply

        Unless you use Windows only software like Photoshop, you should really consider moving to Linux.

        1. John Fenderson said on March 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm
          Reply

          @Anonymous:

          I use nothing but Linux on my own machines. My employer, however, gets to decide what OS is on my work machines, so I don’t have any choice there.

        2. Anonymous said on March 21, 2018 at 4:55 am
          Reply

          @John
          In that case your employer can’t complain. Consider it as free break time :)

        3. John Fenderson said on March 21, 2018 at 4:14 pm
          Reply

          @Anonymous: There’s no such thing as free break time. Every minute lost is one less minute before my deadline comes.

      2. DVDRambo said on March 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm
        Reply

        Microsoft no longer cares what consumers want. Anything they say to the contrary is pure PR speak. They’re focusing on satisfying the big money Enterprise customers. If you aren’t paying hundreds annually, per device or per seat, then you’re part of the QA last line of testing before Enterprise LTSB users get their updates. LTSB users can fully control, or disable updates and telemetry. We consumers cannot.

        1. dark said on March 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm
          Reply

          You can’t fully disable telemetry even on LTSB, only reduce it. Microsoft changed it in AU 1607 from Off to Security. Security doesn’t equal to Off as it was in Build 1507 LTSB. Read the telemetry description in gpedit in 1507 and then compare it to 1607. There is a difference. But then when i tested Windows 10 LTSB 1507 in VirtualBox and set telemetry to Off but it was still connecting to various Microsoft servers so telemetry description in gpedit was likely deceptive in 1507.

          If you want to completely 100% disable telemetry/spying, your only option is jailing Windows 10 to VirtualBox on Linux and keeping Windows 10 virtual machine always disconnected from the internet. Never connect Windows 10 to the internet.

        2. John Fenderson said on March 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm
          Reply

          @DVDRambo: “Microsoft no longer cares what consumers want.”

          Microsoft has never cared what users want.

        3. Jeff said on March 24, 2018 at 6:20 pm
          Reply

          They did care to some extent what consumers wanted until Windows XP and Office 2003. Also they had a US government oversight because of the unlawful monopolistic things they did in the past. As soon as it ended in 2011 and Ballmer stepped down in 2014, they became even more hostile towards customers. Products getting worse, treatment of customers gone from bad to blasphemous. No one can do anything unless they outright reject their products and refuse to use them. Oops services, not products.

    6. Sophie said on March 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm
      Reply

      @ dark – Interesting, about AU 1607 being the last point in time where Telemetry could be truly off.

      I have “frozen” at 1607, and I had already – a long time ago – disabled Telemetry via a registry change, which reflected in the interface as being ‘greyed out’, though I really can’t know if it is sending anything.

      I also have PCs frozen at 1507 and 1511 – and Telemetry hacked there too.

      What I’m wondering therefore, is if these older, unsupported (or in the case of 1607, soon to be unsupported), have eliminated the Telemetry factor?

      I guess probably not…….Win10 will always be sending something….

    7. Stefan said on March 21, 2018 at 12:04 am
      Reply

      With introducing new features they ofcourse mean they introduce more bugs….

      Lucky me i am still on Linux, XP x64 and 7 x64 !

    8. hahaha said on March 21, 2018 at 9:28 am
      Reply

      Users need STABLE updates, not only speed.

      1. Al CiD said on March 21, 2018 at 10:37 am
        Reply

        Users need stable OS, not only updates … :-)

      2. dark said on March 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm
        Reply

        Users need to Linux, its the only way.

    9. loe said on March 21, 2018 at 6:41 pm
      Reply

      1709 … sucks hard some older machines became shit , they were running well on 1706. MS really took a dump on small business .

    10. mikef90000 said on March 22, 2018 at 3:16 am
      Reply

      The Win10 Update process/clusterf* works as my Windows aversion therapy.
      My brother and SIL both have Win10 and recent feature updates have put their systems out of action for days due to unknown/unstated issues; finally he had to repair/reinstall over an existing system. Grrrr. This after he purposely held off on updates until he could use decent Internet access (his home only can get <1Mbit DSL :-(.
      FOAD, Microsoft.

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