Microsoft has been pushing out updates for the latest version of Windows faster than any previous version. It isn’t long since some people got the Windows 10 Creator’s Update and we are only a couple of months at most from the next version, Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update.
There are no big changes of the sort we saw between Windows 8 and 10, but there are lots of little changes here and there and they all add up to quite significant differences.
In this article I will look at some of the changes coming to Windows Update that are in the public beta version. (Top tips to fix Windows Update.) There are some interesting options, but before looking at the new features, let’s have a recap of the existing ones.
Change the active hours
Windows often needs to restart after downloading updates so they can be installed. It can be inconvenient to do so right now because you might be in the middle of doing something important on your PC. For this reason you can tell Windows when not to reboot by setting active hours.
Press Windows+I to open the Settings app and click Update & Security.
Select Windows Update in the sidebar and click Change active hours.
Windows will not restart between these hours and to install updates you just leave the PC on outside of them, such as overnight or in the evening.
Schedule Windows updates
If you see Windows downloading updates or a notification that Windows needs to restart to install updates, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Restart options.
Turn on the switch and pick a time and a day to install them. You can’t set it months ahead, but it can be put off for a few days.
New Delivery Optimisation settings
This is where it gets interesting because there are some new features that you are going to like. It enables settings to be configured that either did not exist previously or were hidden.
What is Delivery Optimisation? Major updates to Windows 10 like the Creator’s Update, are huge downloads. They can be up to 5GB. Imagine you had an office with 10 computers, each downloading a 5GB update. Even worse would be a company with 100 computers, which would mean 500GB of downloads!
Delivery Optimisation enables one computer to download updates and then share it with others to save them downloading it. Not only is this good for you, it means fewer downloads for Microsoft, so it eases some of the burden of pushing out big updates.
A Windows PC on a home or office network can share the Windows updates it has downloaded with other computers on the same network. It can also share downloads with other people on the internet that are downloading updates too.
Some people have written mischievous clickbait headlines and articles saying that Windows is sharing all your files with people on the internet. It is not. It is sharing Windows updates, which are files downloaded from Microsoft. No files belonging to you are shared.
If you have ever downloaded files using BitTorrent, such as Linux distros, you will be familiar with the way large files can be downloaded in parts from multiple people, while you upload to them the parts they don’t have. Windows Delivery Optimisation is very similar.
There are now detailed configuration settings for this feature.
Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Delivery Optimisation.
There is an on/off switch and two options. You can let other PCs on the local network access the updates or PCs on the local network and the internet.
Advanced Delivery Optimisation settings
This feature has potential problems which the Fall Creator’s Update addresses. Click Advanced options to see them. One problem is the amount of bandwidth that is used when downloading Windows Updates. You can now set the amount of bandwidth to use.
If the bandwidth is limited, such as to 50% or less for example, it will take longer to download an update, but it will have less of an effect on your web browsing and other internet activities. You can carry on using the web. At 10 or 20% you won’t even notice the download.
The upload settings let you choose how much bandwidth to use when transferring Windows updates to other computers. The lower the setting, the longer it will take, but it will be less noticeable. At 100% you will find using the internet very slow, but at 20% you won’t notice it.
The best new feature for some people is the monthly upload limit. Some ISPs with some contracts place a limit on the amount of data you can transfer each month. This includes uploads and downloads.
You can now set a maximum amount for the uploads so you don’t bust your limit and incur additional charges or get throttled.
There is no need to set a monthly limit if you have unlimited internet access of course.
There are some useful charts showing the amount uploaded so far this month and the amount left.
There is still some work to be done on Delivery Optimisation, but when this is finished and fully working, it will be great.