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Last year, Microsoft introduced us to its latest effort ‘Unified Update Platform’ for reducing Windows 10 update sizes. It had then mentioned that users can expect the “download size to decrease by approximately 35% when going from one major update of Windows to another.” And it seems to have delivered on its promise, as mentioned in a recent blog post.

Post its announcement in November, Microsoft started pushing preview builds packed with this update delivery technology out to Windows 10 Insiders. UUP, for those unaware, will enable the users to download portions of the update – only the changes that have been introduced in the latest build as compared to your current version.

Since only parts of the OS are now being downloaded to provide you with updated features, thus, the updates are smaller and faster. This download technology has been made possible by converging technologies within Windows’ build and publishing system. Talking about the same, Bill Karagounis, Director of Program Management at Windows Insider Program & OS Fundamentals, said,

Differential download packages rely on re-using files on your current OS to reconstruct the newer OS. This could include copying files as-is that have not changed between builds, or it could involve applying “binary deltas” or “diffs” to old files to generate newer files. Differential download packages are smaller and can take a shorter amount of time to download.

Thus, Microsoft has been using the said update technology to deliver smaller maintenance updates and we finally have the results in hand. And one surely can witness the reduction in download sizes. The core benefit of differential download process can be seen in the graph attached below. The median download size for differential downloads comes around ~1 GB as compared to full packages, whose update size is as large as 2.5GB.

Further, the blog post has also clarified that UUP will be employed when some user is downloading a new update build, but not while major full-fledged builds such as the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update are downloaded. Also referred to as canonical download packages, these full builds contain all the files for the update and do not rely on the files of the device to update your feature set. Thus, the canonical packages are larger in size and tend to take longer to download.

Unified Update Platform is currently available to all Insiders running any of the new builds launched after New Years. Microsoft had paused the release of new Insider builds to seamlessly integrate UUP into Windows 10. It has now successfully completed the same & will make it available to all retail users with the Creators Update, expected to roll out in April.

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