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Big Benefit of WaaS: One Update to Clean Install, and Done!

Thanks to a recent story on WinSuperSite, a positive and powerful benefit of Windows 10’s new “Windows as a Service” posture is now evident. Because the Windows Update stream includes regular Cumulative Updates –they’ve occurred once or twice monthly, since the release of Build 10240 in July, 2015 — the process of catching Windows up from a clean install involves much, much less time and effort than for either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

In his 1/18/16 story entitled “Windows Updates versus Cumulative Updates,” Richard Hay explains what he observed in updating all of the virtual machines he uses for testing, which currently includes VMs for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and even Windows XP. Omitting the totally obsolete outlier (XP), here’s what he observed after creating new VMs for each of those (newer) operating systems:

  • The Windows 7 VM needed over 50 items from Windows Update to be installed to achieve currency, for  VM with a “freshness date” of July 2015 (the same time that Windows 10 was released).
  • The Windows 8.1 VM needed over 170 items from WU to do likewise.
  • The Windows 10 VM only needed the latest Cumulative Update (released last Tuesday, 1/12) plus other updates from that day to achieve currency (under half-a-dozen)

Extrapolating from Hays’ observations, and my own understanding of how WU works, in general this means that catching up a clean install of Windows 10 at any given moment will require applying only the most recent CU plus whatever other updates were released along with it, and any that have been released since that date. My best guess is that because CUs are released at least monthly these days, that the total number of updates for Windows 10 that would be required under any circumstances would seldom top one dozen. That’s a nice improvement over the 50-plus updates that Windows 7 requires for an image current as of July 2015, and a massive improvement over the 170-plus required for Windows 8.1.

Windows as a Service offers at least one powerful benefit: faster clean installs.
[Image Source: Supersite for Windows, 7/17/15.]

Who knows: maybe there really is something positive to the whole “Windows as a Service” thing, after all? IMO, this is a pure and unalloyed benefit of the new streaming updates approach inherent in that implementation. Even for business users, who probably won’t be on the Current Branch version of the OS, this benefit still adheres, because their branch (“Current Branch for Business”) will also be easy to make current as of its most recent Cumulative Update as well. Ditto for Long-Term Servicing Branch, too, in fact.