Windows switching to differential patching in the Creators Update

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Major Windows 10 updates, including this summer's Anniversary Update and next year's Creators Update, are distributed as essentially full operating system installs. The downloads are around 4GB, and installing them performs a complete in-place upgrade to Windows.

That is set to change as Microsoft rolls out what it calls its Unified Update Platform (UUP). Major upgrades will be shipped as differential updates, where only the differences between the currently installed version and the newly installed version need to be downloaded. The company estimates that this will result in major version upgrades being around 35 percent smaller.

UUP should also make checking for updates faster, as more of the computational workload to figure out the patches that a system needs will be handled in the cloud rather than on the client.

In making this change, some differences between the Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 PC update process are being eliminated. Currently the desktop platform can generally upgrade from any patch level to the latest version in one shot; on mobile, sometimes multiple updates are required, with two separate download, install, and reboot processes.

End-users on stable builds of Windows won't see this change take effect until after the Creators Update; the client-side infrastructure necessary to support these differential updates will be a part of that release. Insiders, however, who regularly perform major version updates (as every new Insider build is installed as an in-place upgrade) will begin seeing the improvements much sooner. Mobile releases will enable UUP updating starting with today's build 14959, with the technology coming to PC builds a little later in the year, followed by Windows IoT and Windows for HoloLens. Excluded from this is Xbox, which will retain its own update process.

Introducing the UWP Community Toolkit

Recently, Microsoft released the Windows Anniversary Update and a new Windows Software Developer Kit (SDK) for Windows 10 containing tools, app templates, platform controls, Windows Runtime APIs, emulators and much more, to help create innovative and compelling Universal Windows apps.

Today, we are introducing the open-source UWP Community Toolkit, a new project that enables the developer community to collaborate and contribute new capabilities on top of the SDK.

We designed the toolkit with these goals in mind:

  1. Simplified app development: The toolkit includes new capabilities (helper functions, custom controls and app services) that simplify or demonstrate common developer tasks. Where possible, our goal is to allow app developers to get started with just one line of code.
  2. Open-Source: The toolkit (source code, issues and roadmap) will be developed as an open-source project. We welcome contributions from the .NET developer community.
  3. Alignment with SDK: The feedback from the community on this project will be reflected in future versions of the Windows SDK for Windows 10.

UWPToolkit

Windows 10's Anniversary Update is now available

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Anniversary Update is here and ready to download. The software maker first started testing its Anniversary Update back in December, and now all Windows 10 users get to experience the new features and improvements free of charge. Chief among them is a new Windows Ink feature. Microsoft has supported inking in Windows for years, but Windows Ink is a dedicated hub designed for devices like the Surface Pro 4, and other 2-in-1s with styluses. Windows Ink will work with your fingers, for doodling and inking on screenshots, but it will obviously work better with a dedicated stylus.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update also includes a number of UI improvements to the Start menu, notification center, taskbar, and overall dark theme. Microsoft is also tweaking Cortana to allow the digital assistant to work on the lock screen and answer queries. If you're a fan of Microsoft's Edge browser, it's also getting extension support today. Extensions like LastPass, 1Password, AdBlock, and EverNote are all available, and more should arrive in the Windows Store in the coming months. Windows 10 Anniversary Update is available from Windows Update immediately, an ISOs are also available (or an easy clean install tool) if you're interested in clean installing the update to your system.

Microsoft says Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming August 2nd

microsoft-build-2016Windows 10's first big update will arrive August 2nd — or, at least, that's what it sounds like. Microsoft published a blog post earlier today that included only a headline, "Microsoft announces Windows 10 Anniversary Update available Aug. 2," and then pulled the story moments later. It's possible that Microsoft just got the date wrong, but, more likely than not, Microsoft seems to have just clicked the publish button earlier than it meant to. Presumably, a formal announcement will come soon.

Microsoft announced Windows 10's Anniversary Update back in March, during its Build conference. The update puts a major focus on Windows Ink, building out its feature set to make stylus use far more powerful. It also brings extensions to Edge, as well as smaller improvements to Hello and Cortana, along with some minor interface tweaks.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Targeted For Late July Release

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It may seem obvious but Microsoft is planning to release the Anniversary update for Windows 10 in late July. While the company has not explicitly said when it will be released, insiders at the company have acknowledged that the current road map is for the update to be finalized in mid-July.

As with all timelines, the release date could change, especially since we are a few months out and road maps are used for guidance and are not always hard dates. Considering that Windows 10 was released on July 29th, it would make sense that the company would release the Anniversary update on or around that date; the 29th is a Friday.

The last couple of Windows 10 builds have been packed with new features that should make most end-users happy. Everything from a new dark theme, although it’s far from perfect, to new Cortana features, enhancements to the Action Center, an updated Start menu and a lot more are coming in this release.

At this time, Microsoft still has a few more tricks up its sleeve, although they are small features, that will be coming with the update when it arrives. But, as we get closer to the release date, expect new feature introduction to slow down and a focus on bug bashing to spin up.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10, 14332, that you can view here.

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