New Win10 1903 'Download and install now' — for cumulative updates, too?

Win10 version 1903, due any day now, will include an update-delaying mechanism called “Download and install now.” We’ve only seen it in action once — and in a confusing way. Will it only delay version changes, as promised, or will it finally give delaying power to all Win10 patches, on all Win10 machines?

download progress bar

From my point of view, the new Win10 version 1903 — which is still baking in the beta Release Preview ring — has the potential to become the first “must have” version of Windows 10. It all hinges on one new feature, “Download and install now,” which brings back the ability to control updating almost as well as we could in Windows 7.

Or maybe not.

Taken at face value, “Download and install now” (screenshot) should give every Win10 1903 customer — Home or Pro — the ability to block updates until the customer decides they’re good and ready to be installed.

1903 enterprise evaluation download and install cu Woody Leonhard/IDG

Late last week, Win10 savant Leopeva posted screenshots on Reddit that, at the time, seemed too good to be true. He shows both Win10 Pro and Win10 Home updating paused, waiting for permission to install the same 2019-04 Cumulative Update shown in the screenshot.

I’ve since been able to confirm on a dozen different Home and Pro machines that “Download and install now” appears reliably shortly after 1903 setup, waiting for the same cumulative update.

That’s a revolutionary change. Until 1903, the only mechanisms we had for blocking forced updates in Win10 involved advanced updating options in Win10 Pro. There were no officially sanctioned methods at all for blocking updates in Win10 Cannon Fodder edition (otherwise known as Win10 Home). It’s been that way since the very first version of Win10 in July 2015.

At the same time, it’s a puzzling change.

About a month ago, in a surprise announcement, Microsoft corporate VP Mike Fortin said:

The new ‘Download and install now’ option provides users a separate control to initiate the installation of a feature update on eligible devices with no known key blocking compatibility issues. … This new ‘download and install’ option will also be available for … Windows 10, Versions 1803 and 1809, by late May.

He clarifies by saying:

Download and install now option provides users a separate control to initiate the installation of a feature update on eligible devices with no known key blocking compatibility issues. Users can still “Check for updates” to get monthly quality and security updates.

Applying the Microsoft Secret Decoder Ring (where “feature update” = version change and “quality update” = security and non-security cumulative updates), Fortin declared that people using Win10 1803, 1809 and 1903 will have the ability to block version changes, at least until a version reaches end of life. He didn’t say anything at all about cumulative updates.

Yet the only example we’ve seen — the one shown in the screenshot — is unabashedly a delay for a cumulative update, the 2019-04 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903.

Does this mean we’ll see “Download and install now”-style blocking available for all cumulative updates? That’d be a real bonanza, especially for Win10 Home customers, who have little more than chewing gum and baling wire to protect them from bad patches.

Maybe all we saw was the vestige of a beta test — where the "Download and install now" mechanism was being tested with a throw-away patch. But maybe, just maybe, we saw a bit of the future of rock 'n' roll.

Thx, @Leopeva

We’re watching anxiously on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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