One simple change will make future Windows 10 updates 35% smaller

Windows 10 updates have been the a consistent annoyance since the operating system launched in 2015. The operating system has always downloaded pretty sizeable updates in the background – which is handy in some respects, but less so if you’re on a metered internet connection and have just had a 4GB update rammed down your router.

That hypothetical 4GB update could weigh just 1.4GB for Windows Insiders in the future… and the reason why is so simple that you’ll wonder why on Earth this wasn’t done in the first place. From now on, Windows 10 will only download files that have changed, whereas previously it was downloading every file – even if you already had an identical copy on your computer.

“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,” explained Bill Karagounis, director of program management for the Windows Insider Program, in a blog post. “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.”

While the decrease in file size won’t be as dramatic for regular consumers (simply because Windows Insiders get more updates so more can be reused), the change should still be a big improvement, dropping by around 35% on average.

Of course, that doesn’t fix the issue of your PC rebooting unexpectedly with an unwelcome update, but Microsoft is promising improvements there with the upcoming Creators Update.

That, too, is welcome, but it really begs one simple question: why wasn’t this an option from July 2015?

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