Software

Windows 10: Microsoft promises updates will soon be smaller and easier to delay

The next major upgrade to Windows 10 is designed to reduce complaints related the OS' frequent updates.

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A graph reflecting how the UUP can reduce update size.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is getting ready to reduce the size of Windows 10 updates and to offer users more control over when patches are applied.

To squeeze the size of upgrades Windows 10 is moving to a new update platform.

First announced last November, the new Unified Update Platform (UUP) is now being used to minimize the size of updates delivered to users testing Windows 10 under the Insider program.

The UUP typically reduces download sizes by about one third, in some cases reducing Insider updates below 1GB, compared to as much 2GB for some unoptimized builds.

Rather than downloading an entire update to a machine, UUP checks to see which files already exist on the device and then only downloads those update files missing from the machine.

SEE: Windows 10: The smart person's guide

The size of Windows 10 updates and the bandwidth they consume is a recurring complaint for some users. Smaller update sizes should also improve the battery life of Windows 10 mobile devices, due to each machine spending less time processing updates.

The Creators Update will also introduce the new ways for users to put off updates being installed. When an update is ready, users will be presented with the menu below, allowing them to pick a time for an update to take place, or to hit 'Snooze' to defer the update for up to three days. If they wish to, users will be able to defer installing updates indefinitely using Snooze.

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Image: Nick Heath / TechRepublic

For users of the Pro, Enterprise and Education editions, there will be new options for admins to defer updates. As is the case at present, these editions will be able to defer receiving updates for at least four months. However, cumulative monthly quality updates will be able to be delayed for up to 30 days after their release to a servicing branch and feature updates by up to 365 days after their release to a branch. Updates will also be able to be paused for up to 35 hours, and Active Hours, the period during which Windows won't automatically restart, will be able to be expanded to an 18-hour interval.

Having more options for deferring updates could help reduce the number of users affected by glitches in Windows 10's patches. Last year, problems caused by updates ranged from frozen systems and broken webcams to Windows 10 PCs not being able to connect to the internet. Since Home edition users couldn't put off installing updates, they were unable to wait and patch their machines after these issues had been resolved.

Read more on Windows 10...

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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