Software

Windows 10 updates will soon eat less bandwidth and battery life

Microsoft is changing how Windows 10 is updated to reduce the impact on PC and smartphone users.

Image: Nick Heath / TechRepublic

Windows 10's constant updates aren't going to stop but they are going to suck up less bandwidth and put less strain on phone and laptop batteries.

Microsoft is changing how it updates Windows 10 devices to reduce the size of upgrades and the processing power devoted to updating the OS.

On a regularly updated PC, this new delivery platform will cut download sizes for major updates by about 35 percent, according to Bill Karagounis, director of program management for the Windows Insider program.

SEE: How to remove unwanted apps from Windows 10 (even though Microsoft doesn't want you to)

Meanwhile, battery life of Windows 10 mobile devices will improve, due to each device spending less time spent running checks for updates.

Mobile devices that are more than one major update behind the latest build will also be able to update in one step, rather than two as can be the case today.

"Our customers have told us they would like updates to be more seamless, that they'd like more control over the timing of when updates are installed, that they'd like updating to require less local processing and thus improve battery life, and that they'd like download sizes to be reduced," said Karagounis.

The improvements stem from a new update delivery technology, known as the Unified Update Platform (UUP). UUP only updates each device with the files it needs, rather delivering all updates to date, and doesn't rely so heavily on the user's device to process data related to the update.

The UUP will be used from now on to deliver updates to Windows 10 mobile devices and will start being used to update Windows 10 PCs some time after the Creators Update arrives in Spring 2017.

Those testing early builds of Windows 10 on the PC under the Insider Program will get UUP updates from later this year, with IoT and HoloLens to follow shortly after.

The introduction of the UUP follows other tweaks Microsoft has made to how updates are applied, including letting users set a 12-hour window, 18-hour for non Windows 10 Home users, when updates don't reboot the machine.

For some users it's not the size of updates to Windows 10 that are a problem, but their frequency and quality. While Pro, Enterprise and Education versions of Windows can defer updates, Home users don't have this option, something that has caused anger among those affected by bugs in recent patches.

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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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