Microsoft Debuts Unified Updates, New Windows Build for Insiders
By Shirley Siluk / Top Tech News. Updated November 04, 2016.
As Microsoft continues to roll out new preview builds of its next Windows 10 update, it is also working to make those releases easier and more efficient to download. The new Unified Update Platform (UUP) will become available for developers in stages, with the first version -- for Windows Mobile -- announced yesterday.
In addition to the Unified Update Platform, Microsoft yesterday also released an Insider Preview Build for the next major refresh of Windows 10. Set for general release in early 2017, the so-called "Creators Update" of Windows 10 will place a heavy emphasis on 3D imaging, painting and other creativity tools.
The new Windows Build 14959 for Mobile and PC gives developers in the Insider Fast ring a chance to take a number of new features for a test run, and also fixes known issues with how the previous build managed applications, displays and settings. Microsoft is encouraging developers to install the latest build ahead of a problem-finding "Bug Bash" set to start next Monday.
'Differential Downloads' for Efficiency
Up until now, when Microsoft released a major update of its Windows operating system, users have had to download the entire update package, which could be both time-consuming and resource-intensive. With UUP, however, the download size of updates will be reduced, with more of the heavy lifting handled on Microsoft's cloud rather than on the side of the customer's device.
"We have converged technologies in our build and publishing systems to enable differential downloads for all devices built on the Mobile and PC OS," Bill Karagounis, director of program management for the Windows Insider Program and OS Fundamentals, wrote yesterday on the Windows blog. "A differential download package contains only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device, rather than a full build."
With updates on PCs, for example, users can expect to see the download size for major Windows updates reduced by around 35 percent, Karagounis said. Users updating on mobile devices, meanwhile, will see more of the processing handled by the Windows Update service, which will help improve update speeds and device battery life.
The rollout of UUP will also streamline updates on Windows Mobile so users do not have to install more than one build at a time to get the latest version of the OS.
"On your phone, we would sometimes require you to install in two-hops (updates) to get current," Karagounis noted. "With UUP, we now have logic in the client that can automatically fallback to what we call a 'canonical' build, allowing you to update your phone in one-hop, just like the PC."
Developers Now Testing Paint 3D
With the latest Insider Preview build released yesterday, developers will be able to test such coming Windows features as Paint 3D, part of the Creators Update arriving next year. Build 14959 also adds new display scaling capabilities, fixes previous issues with automatic brightness settings and resolves a tap-to-pay problem on Windows Mobile.
More new features unveiled during a live-streamed Windows event last week will be rolled out to developers in additional builds over the coming weeks, according to Dona Sarkar, software engineer for the Windows and Device Group.
"As I mentioned last week, Windows is an iceberg, the features that people 'see' are quite a small percent of the engineering work that we do to enable new UI to be visible," Sarkar wrote yesterday in a blog post. "We're excited to get more of the new Creators Update features in the hands of Insiders in the next couple of months."
Starting next Monday, Nov. 7, Microsoft will also kick off its Bug Bash for Windows engineers and Insiders on the same day, Sarkar said. In the past, in-house engineers could get started a day ahead of Insiders on Microsoft-issued "quests" for glitches and problems. The Bug Bash is scheduled to run through Nov. 13.