How Windows 10's new smaller monthly updates work

A "back-then-forward" model will govern patches starting with Windows 10 version 1809.

Microsoft will apply an unusual patching process to reduce the size of its monthly Windows 10 updates, a company manager said this week.

"If your device were on the September LCU (latest cumulative update) and then you installed October, your machine would apply the September reverse delta to go back to RTM and then the October forward delta to go to October [emphases added]," wrote Mike Benson, a principal program manager in the Windows division, in a comment appended to a previous post about update changes.

Benson was answering questions from customers eager for more information about the new update packaging Microsoft will debut with this fall's Windows 10 1809 feature upgrade. Updates for that version and those which follow will be "compact ... for easier and faster deployment," Microsoft said in an August 16 announcement.

Although the redesigned packaging will be served only to 1809 and later, Microsoft will continue to provide earlier editions of Windows 10 with the full- and express-sized monthly updates. "Each of these updates types are just different formats," Benson said. "But the end result on your system would be the same thing — a fully cumulative update that gives you all the security and non-security patches for the Windows OS in one package."

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