We’re listening to you on feature update improvements

We’ve heard your feedback about the amount of time your device isn’t usable during a feature update installation, and we’ve been working on ways to decrease this. Today, I’m excited to share more details about the improvements the Windows Fundamentals team has made to the feature update experience.

How feature updates work

As many of you know, the feature updates for Windows 10 occur twice a year. A feature update includes upgrading Windows to the latest version with enhanced features, security improvements, and more. A feature update is different from the quality updates that are release on Patch Tuesday. Quality updates are mostly security fixes and are installed after one reboot, whereas feature updates are installed in steps that require more than one reboot to complete.

There are four phases in a feature update installation. Online phases occur while the device is being used and the operating system is running, which means tasks are happening in the background without disrupting you. Offline phases on the other hand can disrupt you, since the device can’t be used. For the Creators Update in April 2017, the average offline time for a user was about 82 minutes.

Reducing offline time

To cut down this offline time, we moved part of the work that was originally being done offline to the online phase. Because of these changes, the average offline time for the Fall Creator’s Update from last October has dropped to 51 minutes, a 38% improvement!

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve done additional work in the upcoming Windows release to move part of migration operations to the online phase as well. This reduced offline time when installing Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds to an average of 30 minutes. That’s a reduction of 63% from the Creators Update!

Here’s a more detailed comparison of the old feature update installation process versus the new installation model and how things have changed since the Fall Creator’s Update was released:

OLD feature update process NEW feature update process
Online
  • Device checks for available feature updates (manually or automatically).
  • Feature update payload is downloaded.
  • Device waits for a required reboot to begin update installation.
  • Device checks for available feature updates (manually or automatically).
  • Feature update payload is downloaded.
  • User content is prepared to move.
  • New operating system is placed into a temporary working directory.
  • Device waits for a required reboot to begin update installation.
Offline
  • Device reboots to begin update installation process.
  • User content is prepared to move.
  • New operating system is placed into a temporary working directory.
  • Drivers and other required operating system files are moved.
  • User content is moved.
  • Device reboots and completes the update.
  • Out of Box Experience begins.
  • Average offline time: 82 minutes
  • Device reboots to begin update installation process.
  • Drivers and other required operating system files are moved.
  • User content is moved.
  • Device reboots and completes the update.
  • Out of Box Experience begins.
  • Average offline time for Windows Insiders: 30 minutes

 

Because of these changes, the online phase for the feature update will take longer to complete. However, this should not be noticeable to most users since the setup process runs at a low priority, so it won’t have a large impact on your device’s battery life or performance.

We’ll continue to improve the feature update installation process in the future. If you would like to give us your input on these changes, please share your thoughts via the Feedback Hub.