Windows 10 disk images let users skip wait for November upgrade

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Microsoft staggers Windows 10 1511 rollout, making some users impatient

Microsoft this week posted links to disk image files in .iso format for Windows 10's first upgrade, giving users a way to install the latest version of the OS without waiting for the company to push the code via Windows Update.

With a disk image, users can create installation media -- such as a flash drive or DVD -- for one-off or multiple-device migrations to Windows 10, or to reinstall the operating system over a corrupted copy.

The .iso files -- which for the English edition were sized at 2.8GB for the 32-bit version, 3.7GB for the 64-bit version -- can also be used to boost Windows 10 from July's original RTM (release to manufacturing) to November's 1511, the in-OS label Microsoft has applied using its new yymm release dating identifier.

That was the advice given by many on Microsoft's own user-to-user support discussion forums when people asked why they had not yet seen Windows 10 1511 offered by Windows Update. "I'm running Windows 10 10240. The 1511 update does not appear in Windows Update for me," said a user labeled as Bob Marley 77 in a message Thursday.

Others suggested that he use the Media Creation Tool to build a USB drive or DVD, then use the media to upgrade an existing copy of Windows 10.

Not all Windows 10 devices will immediately retrieve the 1511 upgrade because, as it did in July with RTM, Microsoft is staggering the availability of 1511. "The update is rolling out in waves, starting yesterday," a Microsoft spokesman confirmed Friday.

Other systems haven't been offered the 1511 upgrade for different reasons. The most common is if the machine was recently upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. "If it's been less than 31 days since you upgraded to Windows 10, you won't get the November update right away; this will allow you to go back to your previous version of Windows if you choose," according to a FAQ about the November upgrade. "After the 31 days have passed, your PC will automatically download the November update."

The upgrade -- which Microsoft insists on calling the "November Update" -- will reach current Windows 10 customers automatically, as do all interim updates, such as those issued each month to fix security flaws.

Windows 10 1511 disk images can also be downloaded from the Microsoft website from non-Windows 10 devices as well, to upgrade existing virtual machines on other platforms, such as Apple's OS X.

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