In early November, I blogged about Microsoft’s Unified Update Platform (UUP). In that post, I reported that Insider Build 14959 would include UUP features and functions starting with Mobile releases. Last Friday, Insider manager Dona Sarkar shared more news as UUP starts getting real. Here’s a quote from her Windows Insider Program post “Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview build 14977 for Mobile”
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We are getting ready to start releasing PC builds to Insiders using UUP. To prepare for this, we are going to pause all PC builds for both the Fast and Slow rings starting this evening (Friday 12/2). We will begin flighting the latest builds via UUP starting with our internal rings first then to Insiders based on each ring’s promotion criteria. We’re excited to be able to release builds for PC to Insiders using UUP! Mobile builds are not impacted by this.
The switch to UUP represents a nuts-n-bolts shift for Windows Update.
When UUP Starts Getting Real, What Can We Expect?
Under the hood, MS is changing how it structures updates. At present, MS releases cumulative updates monthly. That means such updates include roll-ups of all Windows 10 updates released since the last major release milestone. That way, users updating a newly installed OS need apply only the most recent cumulative update. In any given month, whatever other security, malware scanning, and other updates released since the cumulative roll-up also apply. And in fact, MS plans the same approach for future Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 updates.
How does UUP change things? Essentially, it checks the manifest of updates already applied in the requesting Windows image against its update database. Then, it transmits only missing items from its WU servers. Rightfully so, MS calls these items “differential downloads” or “delta updates.” (This draws on database and change management terminology.) Thus, MS predicts that UUP decreases download data volume as much as 35%. This in turn means faster downloads and less overall bandwidth consumption. Most computer trade reports on UUP view it positively. For example, PCWorld states “… it’s pretty obvious the experience of downloading and installing new updates from Windows should be vastly improved by its [UUP’s] adoption.”
But as with many new MS technologies that promise improvement, the jury’s still out. Let’s see if they can indeed deliver on those promises. Windows Update has been a major pain for many Windows 10 users recently. An actual improvement could help kill that pain. Here’s hoping it pans out! Once Insider Preview releases resume, the world will find out. Stay tuned for my follow-up reports.