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How Microsoft improved Windows Update in the Creators Update

When Windows 10 launched back in 2015, it quickly became apparent that Microsoft's new Windows Update system was a little forceful when it came to restarts, giving the user no choice outside of a warning that a restart would soon be taking place, along with unnecessarily large feature updates. This new update method was heavily criticized by the media and users, so much so that with the Windows 10 Creators Update Microsoft made several improvements that make Windows Update much more bearable.

Starting with the Creators Update, users will have much more control over when Windows should restart when an update is pending. No longer will Windows force you to restart at a specific time, giving the user the option to either snooze the pending update for later or manually pick a time for installation. You can't hold off the update forever, but you can delay it much more so than you could previously. So updates should no longer get in your way if you're in the middle of streaming a video game or rendering a video.

No longer will Windows force a restart when you're in the middle of using your PC. As one of the biggest complaints from Insiders, this is an excellent change and one that I'm sure many will appreciate. In addition to the improved restart control, Microsoft also extended Active Hours up to 18 hours, meaning users can tell Windows that it should never install updates for up to 18 hours in a day.

Unified Update Platform

The biggest change to Windows Update isn't a feature on the surface, but rather a change that happens behind the scenes. Before, with new feature updates, Windows 10 would download a full 3GB file no matter what the changes. This wasn't the case for smaller, monthly updates, but for the twice-a-year feature updates, 3GB is a pretty big size. With the Creators Update, Microsoft improved the download sizes for feature updates, making them up to 35 percent smaller.

This is most beneficial for users with slow or limited internet, or people on machines with a low amount of storage. Feature updates should be far smaller than they were previously thanks to what Microsoft is calling the "Unified Update Platform" (UUP) that it's using across PC and Mobile. Another benefit of UUP is quicker checking for update times, which is nice.

You can also completely pause updates from downloading and installing for up to seven days. This is only supposed to be used when an update is causing issues on your machine, but you can turn it on at any time if you need it. After the seven days are up, Windows 10 will require you to check for updates and then install them if they're available before you can pause updates for seven days again.

Microsoft made a lot of necessary improvements to Windows Update with Windows 10, so much so that most people shouldn't have any issues with it anymore. If you're someone who likes turning updates off completely, Windows 10 is not for you. Microsoft still doesn't allow you to turn off updates on Windows 10, and that's probably for the best. With the "Windows as a Service" module in full swing, the goal for Microsoft is to leave no user behind when new versions of Windows are available. Because of this, you can't turn off updates, but you can delay them and control them easier with the Creators Update.

The Windows 10 Creators Update will be officially available starting April 11.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

32 Comments
  • Yet to see how this works now that I'm on CU.
  • Am I the only one who has never been annoyed by Windows Update since day 1? :D
  • Nope, updates have never bothered me. I just finish what I'm doing, then reboot and carry on
  • Or restart overnight. I could understand though if it kicked me out of work to force restart.
  • Me too, I like getting updated actually.
  • On one hand, I never got any updates when I had XP SP2. On the other hand, I loved getting updates when I upgraded to Vista onward.
  • you should have used a legal XP SP2, not a cracked one :D
  • I think the fact updates on XP happened via a browser and only in IE was a bigger problem.
  • Win XP had an internal update feature that was pretty much the same thing as now except it ran in the system try and would sometimes break, forcing you to do the browser upgrades if I recall correctly.
  • Nope. Not to sound like a broken record, but I've been nothing but thrilled with Windows 10. The only thing I'd like them to address is the lack of themes which extend to File Explorer and Application windows. The high contrast options look like **** and the white strains my eyes after a while.
  • Nope..I have never been troubled by it.
  • I sometimes feel sad, when I don't see updates for a while. :3
  • I have never even been prompted to restart that i can remember, sometimes they could have updated over night, but i mostly shut down every night. (Though have seen installing updates messages upon boot up) Definitely a non issue for me, but agree it would be annoying if you're in the middle of working
  • No indication of how much MB/GB downloaded vs how much MB/GB remaining. Update settings got hidden inside group policy editor. Updates still suck ! People with fast internet don't need to be worried about these little things.
  • Yeah I never got why it bothered people so much to get updates. Shame on Microsoft for keeping our pcs secure and up to date. 
  • Never get bothered by updates. In fact,i welcome them very much. I always give them priority above anything else.
  • never did get that firmware yesterday. so far I'm loving cu. There are some lagging on both my PC
  • Updates have never been a problem for me but I have great internet service. I can understand the concern about the size of the downloads if you have slower or more limited service. It used to be annoying when Windows 7 PC at work would tell me it wanted to restart to finish an update and allow me to agree or delay for 10 minutes. If I was involved in a project, I'd just keep hitting that 10 minute button until I was done with the project or took a break from it. Windows 10's update process on my personal PCs and my work unit have always been far better than that. But kudos to Microsoft for continuing to make the process better.
  • My thoughts exactly -- Windows XP and 7 were much worse with the constant 10 minute snooze option disrupting work. Glad this will get even better with the CU. On the other hand, I miss being able to see what's going to install in Windows 10. That's a tiny issue for me, but the only negative with the new approach.
  • Why's your windows tabs always pure black?
  • Yes. How he did that?
  • Simply he changed the default app mode to dark. Do this by: 1) Win Key, type the word settings, enter 2) Click personalisation 3) On list of options on left, click Colours 4) Scroll down to bottom and change "Choose your default app mode" to "Dark" - enjoy dark theme across all UWP apps unless they explicitly override it.
  • Thanks
  • I don't mind keeping up to date with my system, especially for security reasons
  • How about PC app updates from the Microsoft Store? They seem to take a very long time to download AND install while being a fraction of the size of an OS update. At times it even seems to be hogging the bandwidth too. Anyone have any insights??
  • My guess is that its a different kind of update prosess.
    Every time you recuest for the update on apps, it first have to check your system for your current apps, wearher you have uninstalled some or installed new ones.
    Then it must compare your every app and their version against the stores version, to decide weather to update or not.
    Then each app must be downloaded to your machine, seperately i guess.
  • That sounds completely reasonable. It seems odd that the process is so much faster on mobile.
  • I must say that this Creators Update -update was really easy and smooth operation.
    My cheap Acer tablet with only 1G RAM, 32G memory and 1,33GHz Atom prosessor had no problems what so ever.
    Do not hesitate to update your own tiny machines!
  • Still nowhere near the level of control Windows 7 offers users.
  • Very nice update. Cortana is more intuitive, if She give a choice, you can now tell her your choice (before that, you have to use your mouse to choose). I love some little changes of the UI. The appearance looks more simple but also very sophisticate (yeah, it is possible). Overall after the update, I feel like i have a new computer.... Edge also works better, I checked Microsoft Calendar Live and it is very fast.
  • Edge also works better? mwhahahahahahahaha MS totally ****** up Edge big time. It's performance has gotten way worse. Some web pages that previous loaded instantly (see http://www.hanselman.com/) not take 10+ seconds to appear - same machine/network connection Chrome/FF/IE load the same sites fine. As a software dev using the MS tech stack a website product I work on used some JS to make a fancy looking dropdown - prior to CU the page loaded and the dropdown was fancy instantly. Now same machine with CU page loads, the dropdown looks like a standard browser dropdown, then about 30+ seconds later it finally switches to the JS/CSS styled version - no changes to the HTML/JS were made just the CU, FFS MS, WTF?! I've reported this on the feedback hub so we'll see if things improve.  I want to use Edge is the annoying thing. I like how it looks compared to the other browsers but MS keep making it harder to love. As I said to them in one of my feedback posts they need to stop all news features for a release cycle and concentrate solely on making Edge blazingly fast in all areas - JS, CSS, page loading etc.. etc...
  • Installed amazingly well my 2 desktops 3 laptops and Dell tablet. One of my laptops is 7 years old! Wow.