Downloads to be cut in half for Windows 10 updates, as new slimmer upgrades start next month

Microsoft is bringing tech developed for Windows 11 into play, allowing Windows 10 updates to be shrunk considerably from May onwards.

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Windows 10 users can look forward to a small but nonetheless welcome change in that the monthly cumulative updates for the OS are set to get smaller in the future.

Smaller downloads equals less waiting for updates and happier Windows 10 users (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Smaller downloads equals less waiting for updates and happier Windows 10 users (Image Credit: Microsoft)

This more streamlined update size is being achieved by Microsoft leveraging a feature it has already developed and successfully used with Windows 11, namely reverse update data generation technology.

It sounds a bit of a mouthful, but as Windows Latest, which flagged this up, points out, this should decrease the size of Windows 10 updates substantially - shrinking upgrades by up to 40%. This move is going to be in place from next month, we're told, so the May cumulative update will benefit from being more compact.

In practice, an update that might weigh in at 1GB - as the cumulative update for March did, or came close to - should be reduced to almost half that. That'll make it a much quicker download, and while many folks may not be all that bothered about whether they've got to download a GIGABYTE, or more like half a GIGABYTE, there are certainly Windows 10 users who will appreciate this trimming down.

We're thinking of those who are in rural areas with very slow broadband, for example, or folks who are running an update via a cellular connection perhaps. Or indeed businesses who have a host of PCs to update, in which case, that's multiple Gigabytes over a fleet of computers - which can soon add up to a hefty amount of downloading.

Fresh development

Microsoft nearly halted all development on Windows 10 last year, before deciding to reintroduce feature updates. Mainly, we suspect, to push its Copilot AI in front of more people (after AI became such a huge focus, gaining so much momentum over the course of 2023).

So, in that light, it's kind of surprising to see Microsoft making the effort to streamline updates in this way, when support for Windows 10 ends in October 2025 - only a year and a half away.

Still, businesses can - and many likely will - pay for extended support, particularly if they have a bunch of hardware that doesn't make the cut for Windows 11's system requirements, and might cost a fortune to upgrade.

These firms are the likely targets for this particular piece of tinkering in the main, and after all, much of the work for this was presumably already done with cutting down the updates for Windows 11.

While the cumulative update for next month is going to be nicely slimmer, then, the downside is it appears the upgrade will arrive with an unfortunate sting in the tail: Adverts for Microsoft Store apps in the Start menu. Boo, hiss, etcetera...

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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