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Windows 10: end of delta updates in 2019


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Windows 10: end of delta updates in 2019


by Martin Brinkmann on July 14, 2018 in Windows - Last Update: July 14, 2018 - 1 comment

Microsoft employee Mike Benson revealed on Wednesday that Microsoft will retire delta updates in February 2019 to use Express Updates exclusively.

Microsoft introduced cumulative updates in Windows 10 to "reduce ecosystem fragmentation" and to "make it easier for IT admins and end users to stay up to date and secure". Cumulative updates introduced issues on the other hand; first, that it removed choice from users and admins in regards to the updates that would get installed on Windows systems. With cumulative updates, users and admins have only two choices: whether to install a cumulative update or not, and whether to install security-only or full updates.

Microsoft identified a growing size of updates as another issue. Benson notes that cumulative updates started at between 100 to 200 Megabytes but grew to between 1 and 1.2 Gigabytes over the course of the lifespan.

The company informed users and administrators in 2017 that it reduced the size of Windows Updates by using differential packages.

Microsoft designed three different types of updates to improve how cumulative updates are deployed to systems:

  • Full updates include all components and files that have changed or been added since the last feature update. Microsoft calls these updates LCU, Latest Cumulative Update.
  • Delta updates only include components and files that changed in the most recent update. Delta updates apply only if the system has last month's update installed, and will only push changed files to the system. They include the full component that changed (not just individual files).
  • Express updates generate differential downloads for every component of the full update based on certain criteria. Devices will only download what is needed as the optimal differentials are determined.

Delta updates are larger in size than express updates, and full updates are larger than delta updates.

delta updates express updates

Express updates have another advantage over delta updates: they don't require the previous month's updates installed.

Delta updates were made available by Microsoft primarily because the express update protocol was only available to devices connecting to Windows Update or Windows Server Update Services, and not to third-party update management systems.

Microsoft extended the express update protocol in January 2017 but did not disable delta updates then to "give companies and third-party update management tools time to implement support for express updates".

All recent feature updates for Windows 10 support delta updates (Windows 10 version 1607 to 1803), and Windows 10 version 1809, the October 2018 Update, will support delta updates as well.

Windows 10 version 1809 will be the last feature update version that supports delta updates; Microsoft announced that it will end support for delta updates on February 12, 2019. (via Born)


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