Microsoft details the changes to the Windows 10 upgrade process with the Fall Creators Update

Microsoft details the changes to the Windows 10 upgrade process with the Fall Creators Update

A couple of months ago I noticed a change to the way Microsoft delivered new builds of Windows 10 to the fast ring. The timing of the various stages had changed and with some stages taking a lot long, sometimes it looked like the update had stalled while in fact it was working away correctly.

Microsoft have detailed the changes to the upgrade process and has done a great job explain the various stages and reason behind the changes. The main change is some of the long stages previously performed during the offline phase (where you can’t use the PC) have been moved to the initial download / preparing stage so you can still use your PC while Windows works away in the background. So Windows Update is processing in the background you can continue to use your PC, it may seem like its taking longer but actually there isn’t that much difference in it and you can spend more time using your machine during the update.

Here are the old and new process that Microsoft posts on the Feedback Hub:

The old process

Online phase:

PC checks for upgrades (manually or automatically)

Upgrade payload downloads

PC waits for the required reboot to begin install

Offline phase:

PC reboots to begin install process (manually or automatically)

User content (apps/settings/configurations) is backed up

New OS files are laid down (Windows Image [WIM] process)

Drivers and other required OS files are migrated

User content is restored

PC reboots and the update finalizes

Once the offline phase finishes and the final reboot is completed, the PC returns to being online and usable. As you see with this process, a majority of update functions were processed in the offline phase, creating a longer period where users were unable to use their PCs. One of the goals of changing the upgrade process was to reduce this offline time and make upgrades less impactful to your ability to use your PC. In doing so, we achieve the goal of reducing system downtime to lessen the impact of updates and any required reboot processes. With this in mind, a new update process has been implemented:

The new process

Online phase:

PC checks for updates (manually or automatically)

Update downloads

User content (apps/settings/configurations) is backed up

New OS files are laid down (WIM process)

PC waits for the required reboot to begin install

Offline phase:

PC reboots to begin install process (manually or automatically)

Drivers and other required OS files are migrated

User content is restored

PC reboots and the update finalizes

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