Microsoft changed its Windows feature upgrade delivery method late in 2016, Windows 10 Insider Build 14986 was the first feature upgrade delivered using the UUP (Unified Update Platform) method. The idea of UUP is to deliver a differential upgrade, and only download what’s needed for a full feature upgrade, not downloading and installing those parts that remain unchanged. By comparison,the earlier ESD method always downloaded full Windows image in all cases.
According to Microsoft, UUP should decrease the size of downloads and make upgrading faster:
One of the biggest community and customer benefits of UUP is the reduction you’ll see in download size on PCs. We have converged technologies in our build and publishing systems to enable differential downloads for all devices built on the Mobile and PC OS. A differential download package contains only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device, rather than a full build. As we rollout UUP, this will eventually be impactful for PCs where users can expect their download size to decrease by approximately 35% when going from one major update of Windows to another.
This quote comes from the Windows Insider Blog.
I must admit I have been quite critical, and have opposed the UUP method since the beginning. My Asus laptop, that had always upgraded to next Insider build in about an hour using ESD method, suddenly took several hours to upgrade using UUP. In fact, my fastest upgrade took just over three hours, the slowest over six hours. Upgrades on that laptop are still slow, and most of the time cycle through Getting things ready – Downloading – Installing notifications two or three times before the upgrade finally gets installed. Quite often it sits at Getting things ready 0% for some 10 to 20 minutes.
But, to my surprise, in the past half-year or so, upgrading my other laptop, an HP, UUP upgrades have been relatively fast and reliable, with one exception I wrote about earlier. An Insider build upgrade on that laptop never takes longer than an hour, with the fastest until now at just over half an hour. However long it takes, it always takes about two thirds of the total time required for the online phase, and the other third for the offline phase.
Overall this causes me mixed feelings, I must say. For me, UUP works exceptionally well on one device, and exceptionally badly on another.
Reading the forums, seeing what other users are saying , I observe that each build upgrade fails for quite a number of them. Stories like one, this taken from Ten Forums are quite common:
18932 reverted to 18922 after “getting ready” and “installing” looped back and forth following which I had to resort to “Update and restart.”
It is quite clear that UUP still has quite a number of issues in need of resolution. It might even be that Microsoft’s decision to deliver the 19H2 upgrade later this year as a minor Cumulative Update instead of full feature upgrade has something to do with those issues. The strategy gives Microsoft a full year until the next feature upgrade gets delivered to the general public using the UUP method. Insiders for sure can help with this, because each Insider build upgrade using UUP provides the company with new feedback and telemetry data about the process and its bottlenecks or problems.
As I mentioned, I have mixed feelings. I would still prefer the old ESD method, but I must say that on my HP laptop, UUP really works.
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.