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Why Upgrade Windows 7 to 10: Updates

Last week, Microsoft released the so-called “Convenience Rollup” for Windows 7 Service Pack 1. It’s described in a 5/17/2016 Microsoft KB article entitled “Convenience rollup update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.” Hidden amidst the reason it was created and some gotchas inherent in its application is a killer reason to upgrade Windows 7 to 10 instead.

The Intro to KB3125574 explains the convenience rollup quite nicely.

According to the article’s Introduction:

“This rollup package includes almost all the updates that were released after the release of SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, through April 2016. This convenience rollup is intended to make it easy to integrate fixes that were released after SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. We recommend that you include this rollup package in the image creation process to make it easier to quickly set up a computer.”

Long WU Waits Explain Why It’s Smart to Upgrade Windows 7 to 10

Paul Thurrott took the bait on this suggestion, and decided to see how long it would take to clean install Windows 7 on a PC, using both Windows Update from the installation media (avoiding the convenience roll-up), and using that roll-up to try to expedite the process. His results range from scary to downright horrifying, as recounted in his 5/21/2016 story entitled “The Convenience Rollup Makes a Big Difference, But Windows 7 Updating is Still Broken.” His investigation highlights what’s I’m calling the killer reason to upgrade Windows 7 to 10: time!

When boiled down to time required to complete a clean install, those results boil down to 9.5 hours for a clean install without the convenience rollup, over three hours (he declines to provide an exact time figure) using the rollup. Each approach involves very slow download times from Windows Update, but with fewer updates required when using the rollup the amount of time spent waiting for downloads to complete declines substantially. His overall time estimates also include troubleshooting drivers, and downloading and installing Optional Updates as per usual Windows 7 Update practice. Reading his account carefully, however, it’s obvious that much of the time involved is spent waiting for Windows Update to complete!

I performed a clean install of the current Windows 10 Technical Preview last week on a test PC (Version 1511, Build 14342.1000, subsequently  upgraded to 14342.1001). The whole effort, including both initial installation and subsequent upgrade, took 25 minutes. All the drivers came out correctly (first time ever for Windows 10 to supply the right driver for my Killer 2200 GbE NIC) so no further post-install cleanup was needed.

I think Thurrott is onto something important in his story, and it represents the “killer reason” to upgrade Windows 7 to 10: time. Who wants to spend half a day to a long day just to perform a clean OS install? or to build a curated image of the OS for multiple such installs? Too much time, too little reward methinks.