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Understanding Win10 WU Download and install now option

There’s been a quiet revolution affecting Windows Update in Windows 10 lately. MS is trying to create what they call “a better Windows 10 Update experience.” In the past month, the current Windows 10 version (May 2019 Update aka 1903) has witnessed some interesting changes. Likewise, the same capability has been rolled backward into versions 1803 and 1809 as well. This makes understanding Win10 WU Download and install now option important for Windows 10 users and admins alike. Here’s a telling screencap that shows this new facility at work:

Understanding Win10 WU Download and install now option.option-query

Notice that 1903 (version shown) presents a “Download” button. Users must press it to initiate download and install of pending Windows updates. These files appeared on Patch Tuesday for June 2019 (June 11).

Why Understanding Win10 WU Download and install now Option Is Key

The idea is to restore user control over update downloads and installation, and restarts sometimes required in their wake. Most notably, controls apply to Cumulative Updates (CUs), which often require reboots once installed. Here’s how this new regime works:

  • Separate control for feature updates. If a feature update (version upgrade) for Windows 10 is available, WU presents a special control.

Understanding Win10 WU Download and install now option.fu-avail

Users get explicit notification that a new feature update (version upgrade) is available.

Usually, a pending Feature Update (version upgrade) isn’t installed until the user clicks “Download and install now.” There is one exception. For Windows 10 versions approaching end-of-life, WU forces an upgrade. For most cases this means no more surprise upgrades, and the chaos that can sometimes follow.

  • Extended ability to pause updates. This applies to feature and monthly updates. It also works for all versions of Windows 10 (Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education, and so forth). Pauses occur in periods of up to 7 days. They may repeat up to 5 times, for a maximum of 35 days of pause. Once the 35-day period ends, users must update before they can pause again.
  • Intelligent active hours: Windows 10 adjusts active hours to avoid forcing reboots during periods when installing updates and reboots would normally be OK. If the machine is busy when such activities could occur per schedule, WU waits until the machine goes idle before commencing updates and reboots.
  • Improved update orchestration: Windows updates and Microsoft Store updates occur in tandem, and won’t run when Windows PCs are in active use.

This goes a long way to addressing users’ and admins’ concerns and frustrations with Windows Update. Personally, I’m tickled that I can once again control update behavior on Win10 PCs without using specialized tools like the Windows Update Manager (WuMgr.exe).

Another Look for Pending Updates in WU

So far, discussion of update controls has focused mostly on feature updates (version upgrades) for Windows 10. But the same kinds of controls also apply to monthly updates as well. Thus, for example, here’s what the initial WU UI looks like when users visit Settings → Update & Security → Windows Update. Thus, users and admins gain the same controls over recurring updates that they get for feature updates. Good stuff!
Understanding Win10 WU Download and install now option.CUpending

When other updates (not feature upgrades) are available, “Download and install” lets users decide when to do those things.

Again, nothing happens update-wise until users or admins click on the “Download and install” button in the UI. That’s probably what gave this new facility its name, dontcha think?

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