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Microsoft Shrinks Windows 10 Feature Updates for Some Systems

Organizations upgrading x64 systems using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) can now take advantage of Microsoft's new approach for shrinking the download size of Windows 10 feature updates.

Until now, Microsoft bundled its x64 and x86 Windows 10 feature updates together via Electronic Software Distribution files for users of WSUS, Microsoft's free update management system for organizations. However, starting Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m. PST, Microsoft offered its x64 Windows 10 feature updates in separate downloadable packages for WSUS users. This new policy will show up in WSUS for "versions 1703, 1709, and 1803" of Windows 10, the announcement explained.

The new policy will shave off about 2.2GB from the current download size of about 4.8GB for x64 system users, Microsoft's announcement suggested.

There are no WSUS download size breaks, though, for organizations maintaining x86 environments. Those users will still get the old Windows 10 download packages, combining x86 and x64 content, at about 4.8GB in size. It's still possible, though, to use System Center Configuration Manager or other management solutions to "pull the x86 files from that feature update download," Microsoft's announcement clarified.

The new x64 Windows 10 download policy change applies just to new feature updates for users of WSUS. A "feature update" is Microsoft lingo that refers to a new Windows 10 operating system version. In the case of Windows 10, Microsoft delivers new feature updates twice per year from its content delivery network, in the spring and fall.

In older lingo, Microsoft has referred to these releases as "RTMs," or release-to-manufacturing versions. They don't include the monthly quality updates that get released after the RTM release date, nor do they include Language Packs, so IT pros have to add those updates in order to stay up to date.

Microsoft's announcement added that the new policy just applies to WSUS Windows 10 feature update download sizes, and that "this change will not save bandwidth between the Configuration Manager and the client (PC) device." It's a reference to bandwidth that gets used in a network when multiple client devices get new Windows 10 feature updates.

In other deployment news, Microsoft announced earlier this month that starting with next major Windows 10 release, likely the Windows 10 October 2018 release, Microsoft will be scrapping its Language Interface Packs (LIPs) approach in favor of using Local Experience Packs (LXPs) for language customizations. LIP files won't be available at that time.

LIPs are add-ons to Windows Language Packs and might get used, for instance, to add the Catalan language to a Spanish or French Language Pack to customize the user interface elements of a Windows system. LXPs represent Microsoft's newer way to customize languages. They are AppX packages accessed from the Microsoft Store that can be used to change the language used for "Windows features like the Start Menu, Settings and File Explorer," Microsoft's announcement explained.

The announcement claimed that LXPs are "faster to install and have a smaller operating system (OS) footprint."

Also earlier this month, Microsoft announced a change in how it'll deliver servicing stack updates. This change is being made to avoid potential update issues associated with Windows 7 systems.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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