Windows 10 – How Future Updates May Work

A small blip may have given us an idea how seamless updates will work in released versions of Windows 10…

As I said earlier this month, I’m an update nut, especially when it comes to beta and prerelease software. You learn to check early and often for updates, as some of the errors you encounter, can be ugly. When you’re a beta tester, rolling back often means blowing your box and rebuilding it, even when you’re just testing an app and not a beta OS, like Windows 10.

“[Beta testing] is like a box of chocolates,” Forest. “You never know what you’re gonna get…”

Case in point for today… I pulled out my Surface Pro 3 (which is now running as well as can be expected after issues with Build 9926 have been resolved), and went to Windows update and checked for updates. I encountered three updates:

1. Security Update for Internet Explorer Flash Player for Windows Technical Preview for x64-based Systems (KB3035034)
2. Update for Windows Technical Preview for x64-based Systems (KB3035129)
3. Definition Update for Windows Defender KB2267602 (Definition 1.191.3553.0)

I started the download for those and then bopped over to Advanced Settings and looked in on the options for installing new preview builds. We haven’t had one for post TP2, yet, and I wasn’t certain if there would be changes to the delivery mechanism. There were whisperings of potential changes, especially after folks installed item number 2. Update for Windows Technical Preview for x64-based Systems (KB3035129), above. The white space under the update ring drop down got filled with a branch drop down.

Screenshot (4)

I didn’t have that drop down yet, so I went back to the Windows Update screen and let the update finish, install and reboot my Surface Pro 3.

Twenty years of using and testing Windows has taught me that you always, alwAYS, ALWAYS run Windows Update until it tells you there aren’t any more updates to install. So, after installing those three updates, I went back and checked for updates again.

What I found, can be seen in the screen shots below

Screenshot (1)

It’s a normal update screen. This is exactly what I would expect to see…

Screenshot (2)

Wait, WHAT?!? A new build in the FBL_AWESOME branch?? Why thank you, Microsoft. I don’t mind if I do! (note the build number 9932)

Screenshot (3)

…and it crapped out. Well, crap.

At this point, I wasn’t sure if it was my wireless connection, the SP3 having Wi-Fi issues again, or something else. I grabbed the error number, 0x080246017, and went over to Google to see what I could see…

And got bubkus…

Google has absolutely NOTHING on this error at all. Nothing. Not even a description of what the error number means. There’s no external information on this error at all. Anywhere. Well, at least not that I could find, and I looked for about 30 minutes. I also kept trying to download the update, just in case the error might be congestion or something else. During this time, I notice the build number incremented from 9932 to 9933. As of this writing, that build number remains 9933.

At that point, I got on Twitter and tried reaching out to my friend, Gabe Aul. As of this writing, I haven’t heard from him.

I also tried reaching out to Paul Thurrott. He was able to help me sort this out.

9932 tweets

According to Paul, builds 9932 and 9933 are internal MS builds and not meant for external consumption. As a software quality professional, I know that daily builds of big project are a common occurrence. I also know that you can get multiple daily builds, in cases where important updates become available. At some point, MS is going to make certain that the Windows Insiders Team stops seeing the notifications of daily builds. It’s a temporary glitch.

However, it is interesting, don’t you think??

No, no… not that the build notification glitch happened, but the glimpse we got at how new, complete builds of Windows may actually be distributed to the public.

If this update method stays true to course, then Updates to the current version will appear as the Windows update files we all know and love. You get updates when you get updates, and it’s unlikely that the version or build number of the OS you’re running will change. When new versions of Windows get released, however, what users will see, is a notification of a new build as a separate update item in Windows update.

THAT, my friends, is VERY Apple-esque.

It’s the same method that Apple uses for their OS updates. Well, sort of. Apple usually waits until they have a “dot-release” of their desktop OS ready to go, and they then release, for example, OS X 10.10.2 or OS X 10.10.X to address a number of issues. Microsoft releases updates all the time; and then historically releases a new “full” version of Windows via a hard copy, DVD. Now, we should see a new build show up as an available update in Windows Update. At least we will if this update method stays with us after Windows 10 is released.

And that’s the big question here… Since Windows 10 Technical Preview is in public beta, the whole shootin’ match is up in the air. Microsoft can, and likely will change a whole bunch of stuff throughout the entire OS as they look at items and move from the historical UI to a more (but not completely) Modern or MetroUI based design. Moving Windows Update out of Control Panel and into Settings is just one example of this type of progress. The new Settings interface may stay the way it is now, with more and more Control Panel content moved in, or it could complete change to something else.

I don’t know if We actually WILL see new builds appear as separate updates from Windows Update, but it DOES give us a brief glimpse of the direction that Microsoft is looking in right now.

What do you think? Is this method of delivering new full builds of Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows 12, etc. the right way to go, or should Microsoft try something different? Should they always make ISO’s available for download as well, or is this new online delivery method, very similar to Apple’s model, good enough? Why don’t you give me your thoughts on the issue in the Discussion Area, below? If you have a different or better idea, I’d love to hear about that too.

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