Topics

IMPORTANT: feature update - what is it, how it works, how to install one, how to prepare for one #ADVISORY #WinTenOld


 
Edited

Hi everyone,

 

Although the following post is mostly meant to be a reminder for folks on this forum, I think it should serve as a general reminder for anyone using Windows 10 in one form or another (including Xbox One family).

 

Prompted by a massive change introduced in Windows 10 Version 1903 (May 2019 Update) in regards to update procedure, support duration and related areas, I believe it is important for us to be reminded as to what exactly a feature update is, how it works, how to install one, and how to prepare for one. Also, for new family members (not just folks here, but to anyone coming to Windows 10 for the first time), I hope the following document would be informative in helping you understand what’s going on with Windows 10 updates.

 

Windows 10 is unpredictable, or let’s just say, certain things about Windows 10 updates are unpredictable.

 

Take a moment to think about the above statement. On the surface, the word “unpredictable” may pop out to you. If that is the case and you are wondering as to why that’s the case, you are not alone – Windows 10, or in this case, Windows 10 updates, is unpredictable.

 

But when you look around, you may observe that somehow, Windows 10 updates are as smooth as installing a large update, or at least not all of them require massive troubleshooting discussions. Why is that? If you are asking that question, you are not alone.

 

Let’s move a bit deeper: Windows 10 updates are unpredictable, yet they may appear to run well. You might ask, “how is this even possible”? That is what we will find out today. In fact, there is something else that ties these seemingly contradictory statements together, and that is what we will learn about today: feature updates. Specifically, what exactly a feature update is, how it works, how to install one, and how to prepare for one.

 

At a high level, a feature update is a massive update that introduces new things here and there, fixes bugs in many places, and sometimes introduces problems that are fixed at a later date. Every six months or so, a feature update shows up on your Windows 10 system, and it takes several minutes to install, restarting the system multiple times in the process.

 

In reality, a feature update is a brand new Windows release. Even though a feature update is an update to Windows 10 (hence labeled as “feature update to Windows 10, Version YYMM”), it is really a brand new Windows version, akin to new iOS and Android releases. Even though documentation and commentaries from Microsoft and others (including several from yours truly) have labeled this as a big update that can take minutes to hours to install (more of the former now), it is still a Windows upgrade, thus the mindset associated with upgrading from say, Windows 7 to 10 must be assumed.

 

How does a feature update installation work? Over the history of Windows 10, the way feature updates are installed has changed. Back in 2015, a typical feature update installation went as follows:

 

  1. You or Windows 10 checks for updates.
  2. A feature update is downloaded.
  3. You are asked to restart (see below for other possibilities).
  4. Restart 1, and Windows Setup will unpack the new operating system files to a preparation directory.
  5. Old drivers and system files are backed up (typically to Windows.old folder).
  6. Restart 2, and the newly unpacked feature update system files will be copied to various folders, replacing those from the past.
  7. Restart 3, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are migrated.
  8. Restart 4, and the new feature update will go through final preparation phase.

 

This is in contrast to what we have now:

 

  1. You or Windows will check for updates.
  2. A new feature update is downloaded.
  3. New feature update system files are unpacked in the background.
  4. You are asked to restart.
  5. Restart 1, and the just unpacked feature update system files replace the ones you were using up until you restarted your system.
  6. While the above step is happening, old feature update files are moved to Windows.old folder.
  7. Restart 2, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are migrated.
  8. Restart 3, and the new feature update goes through final checkup.

 

The second set of steps will be tweaked for some of you in Windows 10 Version 1903 as follows: up to 7 GB of space will be reserved from your storage device (hard drive or SSD) just to make sure feature updates and other system updates have enough room to breathe – unpack files and prepare your system for updates.

 

And that is how a feature update works.

 

So while you are doing something, Windows pops up a notification telling you that an important update is ready to be installed, and you find that the “important update” is a feature update. So how do you go about installing it? Depends on which Windows 10 release you’re using at this very moment, but comes down to five responses:

 

  1. Automatic: Windows 10 will install the feature update at a certain time (perhaps one night).
  2. Install: it’ll just download the update, asking if you wish to install it then or later (only seen with old releases and under certain configurations).
  3. Restart now: the update has been downloaded and unpacked (see the second set of steps), so the only thing left to do is restart.
  4. Restart later: you can ask Windows to restart to install feature updates at a later time.
  5. Download and install: similar to option 1. New in Version 1903.

 

For our discussion, the last option is the most important one going forward: in Windows 10 Version 1903, feature updates are their own class when it comes to update checks. Whereas Windows will install latest cumulative updates without question, when Windows Update sees a feature update, it will first ask if you really want to download the new Windows release. If you do click “download and install”, you are locked in – effectively, you are saying “yes” to installing the offered feature update.

 

But here’s an important caveat: the above paragraph is valid as long as the Windows 10 release (feature update) is under mainstream support. Sometime prior to end of support for a given feature update, Windows Update will attempt to install the latest available feature update without question.

 

Given the changed procedure for responding to and installing new feature updates, how should you prepare for one? Over the years, the predominant advice has been, “wait until it is offered to you”. Given the changes introduced in Version 1903, I would like to add that you should say “yes” to a new feature update provided that you and Microsoft are on the same page in regards to upgrade readiness (backing up data, programs and device drivers are up to date, and especially for screen reader users, you are using a version of any screen reader that advertises support for the offered feature update). Keep in mind that you can’t delay newer feature updates forever – there is a version of Windows 10 Enterprise that will let you do this, along with turning off Windows Update service, but I advise staying away from these (unless you have a really serious and compelling justification to do so).

 

Finally, in regards to support duration: all feature updates will receive 18 months of mainstream support. For September feature updates, an additional 12 months of support will be provided for enterprises and educational institutions (for a total of 30 months). Thus, Version 1903 will be supported until end of 2020, with the next feature update later in 2019 will be supported until mid-2022. This policy is subject to change.

 

To answer the million dollar question about predictability (or for that matter, that Windows 10 updates are unpredictable): yes, Windows 10 updates are unpredictable; but when we take precautions, it becomes a predictable activity that we experience (and can enjoy) at least once a year (or twice, or for some users, almost every week).

 

Cheers,

Joseph


Raha Tehrani
 

Hi Joe.
Thanks a million for your useful information.
there's a question here. which type of windows had I better install?
in case of windows 7, I installed windows 7 ultimate, because it was
said to be the last and best release. in case of windows 10, I have
installed windows 10 enterprise and received all offerred updates. but
as I've found out through your audio tutorials, you've installed
windows 10 pro. do you really recommend that? in your opinion, which
type of windows 10 should the blind install? which one is the best in
terms of accessibility?
thanks in advance.
all the best.

On 4/5/19, Joseph Lee <joseph.lee22590@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone,



Although the following post is mostly meant to be a reminder for folks on
this forum, I think it should serve as a general reminder for anyone using
Windows 10 in one form or another (including Xbox One family).



Prompted by a massive change introduced in Windows 10 Version 1903 (May
2019
Update) in regards to update procedure, support duration and related areas,
I believe it is important for us to be reminded as to what exactly a
feature
update is, how it works, how to install one, and how to prepare for one.
Also, for new family members (not just folks here, but to anyone coming to
Windows 10 for the first time), I hope the following document would be
informative in helping you understand what's going on with Windows 10
updates.



Windows 10 is unpredictable, or let's just say, certain things about
Windows
10 updates are unpredictable.



Take a moment to think about the above statement. On the surface, the word
"unpredictable" may pop out to you. If that is the case and you are
wondering as to why that's the case, you are not alone - Windows 10, or in
this case, Windows 10 updates, is unpredictable.



But when you look around, you may observe that somehow, Windows 10 updates
are as smooth as installing a large update, or at least not all of them
require massive troubleshooting discussions. Why is that? If you are asking
that question, you are not alone.



Let's move a bit deeper: Windows 10 updates are unpredictable, yet they may
appear to run well. You might ask, "how is this even possible"? That is
what
we will find out today. In fact, there is something else that ties these
seemingly contradictory statements together, and that is what we will learn
about today: feature updates. Specifically, what exactly a feature update
is, how it works, how to install one, and how to prepare for one.



At a high level, a feature update is a massive update that introduces new
things here and there, fixes bugs in many places, and sometimes introduces
problems that are fixed at a later date. Every six months or so, a feature
update shows up on your Windows 10 system, and it takes several minutes to
install, restarting the system multiple times in the process.



In reality, a feature update is a brand new Windows release. Even though a
feature update is an update to Windows 10 (hence labeled as "feature update
to Windows 10, Version YYMM"), it is really a brand new Windows version,
akin to new iOS and Android releases. Even though documentation and
commentaries from Microsoft and others (including several from yours truly)
have labeled this as a big update that can take minutes to hours to install
(more of the former now), it is still a Windows upgrade, thus the mindset
associated with upgrading from say, Windows 7 to 10 must be assumed.



How does a feature update installation work? Over the history of Windows
10,
the way feature updates are installed has changed. Back in 2015, a typical
feature update installation went as follow:



1. You or Windows 10 checks for updates.
2. A feature update is downloaded.
3. You are asked to restart (see below for other possibilities).
4. Restart 1, and Windows Setup will unpack the new operating system
files to a preparation directory.
5. Old drivers and system files are backed up (typically to Windows.old
folder).
6. Restart 2, and the newly unpacked feature update system files will
be copied to various folders, replacing those from the past.
7. Restart 3, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are
migrated.
8. Restart 4, and the new feature update will go through final
preparation phase.



This is in contrast to what we have now:



1. You or Widows 10 will check for updates.
2. A new feature update is downloaded.
3. New feature update system files are unpacked in the background.
4. You are asked to restart.
5. Restart 1, and the just unpacked feature update system files replace
the ones you were using up until you restarted your system.
6. While the above step is happening, old feature update files are
moved to Windows.old folder.
7. Restart 2, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are
migrated.
8. Restart 3, and the new feature update goes through final checkup.



The second set of steps will be tweaked for some of you in Windows 10
Version 1903 as follows: up to 7 GB of space will be reserved from your
storage device (hard drive or SSD) just to make sure feature updates and
other system updates have enough room to breathe - unpack files and prepare
your system for updates.



And that is how a feature update works.



So while you are doing something, Windows pops up a notification telling
you
that an important update is ready to be installed, and you find that the
"important update" is a feature update. So how do you go about installing
it? Depends on which Windows 10 release you're using at this very moment,
but comes down to five responses:



1. Automatic: Windows 10 will install the feature update at a certain
time (perhaps one night).
2. Install: it'll just download the update, asking if you wish to
install it then or later (only seen with old releases and under certain
configurations).
3. Restart now: the update has been downloaded and unpacked (see the
second set of steps), so the only thing left to do is restart.
4. Restart later: you can ask Windows to restart to install feature
updates at a later time.
5. Download and install: similar to option 1. New in Version 1903.



For our discussion, the last option is the most important one going
forward:
in Windows 10 Version 1903, feature updates are their own class when it
comes to update checks. Whereas Windows will install latest cumulative
updates without question, when Windows Update sees a feature update, it
will
first ask if you really want to download the new Windows release. If you do
click "download and install", you are locked in - effectively, you are
saying "yes" to installing the offered feature update.



But here's an important caveat: the above paragraph is valid as long as the
Windows 10 release (feature update) is under mainstream support. Sometime
prior to end of support for a given feature update, Windows Update will
attempt to install the latest available feature update without question.



Given the changed procedure for responding to and installing new feature
updates, how should you prepare for one? Over the years, the predominant
advice has been, "wait until it is offered to you". Given the changes
introduced in Version 1903, I would like to add that you should say "yes"
to
a new feature update provided that you and Microsoft are on the same page
in
regards to upgrade readiness (backing up data, programs and device drivers
are up to date, and especially for screen reader users, you are using a
version of any screen reader that advertises support for the offered
feature
update). Keep in mind that you can't delay newer feature updates forever -
there is a version of Windows 10 Enterprise that will let you do this,
along
with turning off Windows Update service, but I advise staying away from
these (unless you have a really serious and compelling justification to do
so).



Finally, in regards to support duration: all feature updates will receive
18
months of mainstream support. For September feature updates, an additional
12 months of support will be provided for enterprises and educational
institutions (for a total of 30 months). Thus, Version 1903 will be
supported until end of 2020, with the next feature update later in 2019
will
be supported until mid-2022. This policy is subject to change.



To answer the million dollar question about predictability (or for that
matter, that Windows 10 updates are unpredictable): yes, Windows 10 updates
are unpredictable; but when we take precautions, it becomes a predictable
activity that we experience (and can enjoy) at least once a year (or twice,
or for some users, almost every week).



Cheers,

Joseph





 

Hi,
At a high level, it doesn't matter which version one installs, as a choice of Windows 10 edition alone won't suffice in determining if Windows 10 is right for blind people. What really determines the accessibility experience is mindset of people - users, developers, Microsoft people, and may others not mentioned.
Windows 10 Enterprise is meant for corporate users, so should not really be installed on a personal computer unless the organization does provide this option (same can be said about Windows 10 Education). For consumers, Windows 10 Pro is the highest version available (unless if you count Pro for Workstations, which is meant for engineers, animators, and anyone who needs a system that is really high-end).
Cheers,
Joseph

-----Original Message-----
From: win10@win10.groups.io <win10@win10.groups.io> On Behalf Of Raha Tehrani
Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2019 10:20 PM
To: win10@win10.groups.io
Subject: Re: [win10] IMPORTANT: feature update - what is it, how it works, how to install one, how to prepare for one #ADVISORY #WinTen1903

Hi Joe.
Thanks a million for your useful information.
there's a question here. which type of windows had I better install?
in case of windows 7, I installed windows 7 ultimate, because it was said to be the last and best release. in case of windows 10, I have installed windows 10 enterprise and received all offerred updates. but as I've found out through your audio tutorials, you've installed windows 10 pro. do you really recommend that? in your opinion, which type of windows 10 should the blind install? which one is the best in terms of accessibility?
thanks in advance.
all the best.

On 4/5/19, Joseph Lee <joseph.lee22590@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone,



Although the following post is mostly meant to be a reminder for folks
on this forum, I think it should serve as a general reminder for
anyone using Windows 10 in one form or another (including Xbox One family).



Prompted by a massive change introduced in Windows 10 Version 1903
(May
2019
Update) in regards to update procedure, support duration and related
areas, I believe it is important for us to be reminded as to what
exactly a feature update is, how it works, how to install one, and how
to prepare for one.
Also, for new family members (not just folks here, but to anyone
coming to Windows 10 for the first time), I hope the following
document would be informative in helping you understand what's going
on with Windows 10 updates.



Windows 10 is unpredictable, or let's just say, certain things about
Windows
10 updates are unpredictable.



Take a moment to think about the above statement. On the surface, the
word "unpredictable" may pop out to you. If that is the case and you
are wondering as to why that's the case, you are not alone - Windows
10, or in this case, Windows 10 updates, is unpredictable.



But when you look around, you may observe that somehow, Windows 10
updates are as smooth as installing a large update, or at least not
all of them require massive troubleshooting discussions. Why is that?
If you are asking that question, you are not alone.



Let's move a bit deeper: Windows 10 updates are unpredictable, yet
they may appear to run well. You might ask, "how is this even
possible"? That is what we will find out today. In fact, there is
something else that ties these seemingly contradictory statements
together, and that is what we will learn about today: feature updates.
Specifically, what exactly a feature update is, how it works, how to
install one, and how to prepare for one.



At a high level, a feature update is a massive update that introduces
new things here and there, fixes bugs in many places, and sometimes
introduces problems that are fixed at a later date. Every six months
or so, a feature update shows up on your Windows 10 system, and it
takes several minutes to install, restarting the system multiple times in the process.



In reality, a feature update is a brand new Windows release. Even
though a feature update is an update to Windows 10 (hence labeled as
"feature update to Windows 10, Version YYMM"), it is really a brand
new Windows version, akin to new iOS and Android releases. Even though
documentation and commentaries from Microsoft and others (including
several from yours truly) have labeled this as a big update that can
take minutes to hours to install (more of the former now), it is still
a Windows upgrade, thus the mindset associated with upgrading from say, Windows 7 to 10 must be assumed.



How does a feature update installation work? Over the history of
Windows 10, the way feature updates are installed has changed. Back in
2015, a typical feature update installation went as follow:



1. You or Windows 10 checks for updates.
2. A feature update is downloaded.
3. You are asked to restart (see below for other possibilities).
4. Restart 1, and Windows Setup will unpack the new operating system
files to a preparation directory.
5. Old drivers and system files are backed up (typically to Windows.old
folder).
6. Restart 2, and the newly unpacked feature update system files will
be copied to various folders, replacing those from the past.
7. Restart 3, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are
migrated.
8. Restart 4, and the new feature update will go through final
preparation phase.



This is in contrast to what we have now:



1. You or Widows 10 will check for updates.
2. A new feature update is downloaded.
3. New feature update system files are unpacked in the background.
4. You are asked to restart.
5. Restart 1, and the just unpacked feature update system files replace
the ones you were using up until you restarted your system.
6. While the above step is happening, old feature update files are
moved to Windows.old folder.
7. Restart 2, and drivers, programs, settings, and user files are
migrated.
8. Restart 3, and the new feature update goes through final checkup.



The second set of steps will be tweaked for some of you in Windows 10
Version 1903 as follows: up to 7 GB of space will be reserved from
your storage device (hard drive or SSD) just to make sure feature
updates and other system updates have enough room to breathe - unpack
files and prepare your system for updates.



And that is how a feature update works.



So while you are doing something, Windows pops up a notification
telling you that an important update is ready to be installed, and you
find that the "important update" is a feature update. So how do you go
about installing it? Depends on which Windows 10 release you're using
at this very moment, but comes down to five responses:



1. Automatic: Windows 10 will install the feature update at a certain
time (perhaps one night).
2. Install: it'll just download the update, asking if you wish to
install it then or later (only seen with old releases and under
certain configurations).
3. Restart now: the update has been downloaded and unpacked (see the
second set of steps), so the only thing left to do is restart.
4. Restart later: you can ask Windows to restart to install feature
updates at a later time.
5. Download and install: similar to option 1. New in Version 1903.



For our discussion, the last option is the most important one going
forward:
in Windows 10 Version 1903, feature updates are their own class when
it comes to update checks. Whereas Windows will install latest
cumulative updates without question, when Windows Update sees a
feature update, it will first ask if you really want to download the
new Windows release. If you do click "download and install", you are
locked in - effectively, you are saying "yes" to installing the
offered feature update.



But here's an important caveat: the above paragraph is valid as long
as the Windows 10 release (feature update) is under mainstream
support. Sometime prior to end of support for a given feature update,
Windows Update will attempt to install the latest available feature update without question.



Given the changed procedure for responding to and installing new
feature updates, how should you prepare for one? Over the years, the
predominant advice has been, "wait until it is offered to you". Given
the changes introduced in Version 1903, I would like to add that you should say "yes"
to
a new feature update provided that you and Microsoft are on the same
page in regards to upgrade readiness (backing up data, programs and
device drivers are up to date, and especially for screen reader users,
you are using a version of any screen reader that advertises support
for the offered feature update). Keep in mind that you can't delay
newer feature updates forever - there is a version of Windows 10
Enterprise that will let you do this, along with turning off Windows
Update service, but I advise staying away from these (unless you have
a really serious and compelling justification to do so).



Finally, in regards to support duration: all feature updates will
receive
18
months of mainstream support. For September feature updates, an
additional
12 months of support will be provided for enterprises and educational
institutions (for a total of 30 months). Thus, Version 1903 will be
supported until end of 2020, with the next feature update later in
2019 will be supported until mid-2022. This policy is subject to
change.



To answer the million dollar question about predictability (or for
that matter, that Windows 10 updates are unpredictable): yes, Windows
10 updates are unpredictable; but when we take precautions, it becomes
a predictable activity that we experience (and can enjoy) at least
once a year (or twice, or for some users, almost every week).



Cheers,

Joseph





Brian Tew <briantew1951@...>
 

This document simply confirms what I already knew:
The primary emphasis of ms programmers is job maintenance rather than making a decent product.
If it aint brok, break it.