The update process in the Fall Creators Update will have you waiting around less and using your PC more. Here's how.

As a part of myriad changes coming to Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update, one that might not get as much attention is how Microsoft is tweaking the upgrade process for major updates. In a new post in the Windows 10 Feedback Hub (via OnMSFT), Microsoft offers an explanation of how it is tweaking the update process itself to reduce your PC's required downtime.

Microsoft is tweaking the Windows 10 upgrade process to reduce downtime

In broad strokes, the post explains, the update process for major build revisions is split into two phases: online and offline. The online phase is where you can still use your PC, while Windows Update prepares things. The offline phase, then, is the portion of the process where you can't use your PC and the full update screen is showing.

In order to reduce the time your PC is unusable during upgrades, Microsoft has moved some of the processes that would typically occur in the offline phase to the online phase. For example, here's a look at how the old process would operate:

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

Now, here's a look at how the new process in the Fall Creators Update is organized:

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

If you're in the Windows Insider program, you've likely already noticed a change in the length of the update process. The net result is that the updates might appear to take longer because the online portion has been extended. The tradeoff is that you spend more time being able to use your PC and less time in the offline phase.

Microsoft says it is still looking for feedback from Windows Insiders on the updated process. If you have any input or suggestions, the full Feedback Hub post is worth giving a look.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Everything we know so far