Tech

Microsoft tests smarter delivery for Windows 11 update improvements

Microsoft is testing a new method to deliver Windows update improvements starting with Insiders in the Dev Channel running Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22478.

The new feature, dubbed Update Stack Package, will deliver improvements to the update experience outside of major OS updates before monthly or feature Windows updates.

“The Update Stack Package will help ensure that your PC has the highest likelihood of successfully installing new updates with the best and least disruptive experience available,” the Windows Insider team explained.

The Update Stack Package is limited to a small set of update-related Windows system files developed independently of the OS.

For now, Update Stack Packages will be delivered through Windows Update — just like new builds and cumulative updates — to customers enrolled in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program.

Windows Insiders have to check for updates via Settings > Windows Update to start receiving the Update Stack Package today.

“By testing this process first with Windows Insiders, we hope to expand the scope and the frequency of releases in the future,” the Windows Insider team added.

Smaller update package and download size

On Thursday, Microsoft also announced that it redesigned cumulative updates in Windows 11 to enable customers to install the security and quality updates faster by removing reverse differentials from the cumulative update package and using more efficient packaging.

“The cumulative update size in Windows 11 is approximately 40% smaller than the same set of quality and security updates would have been packaged for Windows 10,” Microsoft said.

The reduced size applies to all cumulative update delivery channels, including the Microsoft Update Catalog, Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services, and Dynamic Update.

“Smaller size means download time is reduced. We also spend less time expanding the package on the client,” Microsoft explained.

“We also are saving another 2-3 minutes on the client by pre-compressing the package manifests when the package is built, instead of at runtime. This means less CPU usage, and thus less battery usage.”

More info on the tech that made it possible to make updates smaller and downloads faster is available in How Microsoft reduced Windows 11 update size by 40% and Windows Updates using forward and reverse differentials blog posts.

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