Microsoft provides two types of updates for Windows 10: "feature updates" and "quality updates". In this guide, we explain the differences between the two.
Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft has introduced a new operating system support model known as "Windows as a Service" (WaaS), which simply means that instead of getting a new version every three years, you get increasing updates that speed up integrating new features and simplifying the device maintenance process in a fast-paced digital world.
As a result of this new support model, you now have two types of updates, the "feature updates" and the "quality updates". Both are equally important, but each offers a different kind of improvement, at different times.
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll look at the most important differences between the two updates to better understand the software you install on your device.
Feature updates are technically new versions of Windows 10 that are available twice a year (about every six months) during the spring and fall. These are also known as "semi-annual" releases.
During the development of a major new update, Microsoft uses telemetry data and feedback from internal testing as well as Program participants. Windows Insider, to prepare the new version.
Once the update proves credible, it starts reaching ordinary consumers first and then business customers, via Windows Update or as a manual installation.
Typically, these updates include new features, visual enhancements, and significant changes to improve the overall experience and security. However, unlike the previous support model (for example, Windows Vista and Windows 7), the feature updates include a smaller list of changes that help reduce application compatibility issues and simplify user-friendliness.
In short, the updates that changed your operating system and that you used to see almost every three years, now come every six months. Remember that Windows Vista came out in 2007, after two years Windows 7 came out (in 2009), after 2012 came Windows 8, in 2013 Windows 8.1 and in 2015 Windows 10. So it used to go now you had to run Windows 11 or Windows 12.
In addition, feature updates are larger in size than quality updates. The download size can be close to 3GB for the 64-bit or 2GB for the 32-bit version.
However, starting with Fall Creators update in 2017, Windows 10 uses a new update engine that downloads and installs only the changed files, making the download package about 35 percent smaller.
When you install a feature update, you are installing a new version. Therefore, a complete reinstallation of Windows 10 is required. This also means that it will take longer to implement and is you are more likely to have problems than when installing a quality update.
Although not technically necessary, we recommend that you make a full backup, or at least a backup of your files, before installing a feature update. Otherwise you risk becoming, along with the Insiders, the testers of the new functionalities, like the food testers in ancient Rome.
If you are running Pro 10 of Windows XNUMX, you can postpone feature updates up to 18 months after the original release date and if you are using Windows 10 Enterprise or Education versions, up to 30 months. This is what our people say: "Let the others take the chestnuts out of the fire".
Although you can prevent your computer from installing these updates at the end of the support cycle, you will need to upgrade to a supported version to continue to get security and non-security updates.
Quality updates (also called "cumulative updates" or "cumulative quality updates") are mandatory updates that are downloaded and installed automatically each month through Windows Update. The process usually takes place every second Tuesday, every month (also known as "Patch Tuesday"). However, from time to time you will see quality updates to be released outside the monthly schedule.
Note: In Windows Update, quality updates can be displayed as "Cumulative Update", "Pivot Update", "Security Update" or "Update for Windows 10". You can also always see the updates installed on your device from Settings> Windows Update and then by clicking "View Update History".
Unlike feature updates, these updates do not include new features, visual changes, or significant improvements. Instead, these are maintenance updates designed to fix bugs, patch vulnerabilities, and improving reliability with the current version of Windows 10.
They also increase in size each month, as their nature is cumulative, which means that each update includes the changes that are available to previous updates. As a result, this cumulative approach reduces the number of problems and the number of updates you should receive on your device.
Quality updates are downloaded and installed faster than feature updates because they are smaller packages and do not require a complete reinstall of the operating system, which also means that you do not need to back up before installation. However, it is always a good idea to have a current backup of your data, as errors and hardware failure can occur at any time. And why with Microsoft, potassium did not donkey but donkey was around.
Whether you are using Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home, you can delay quality updates by up to 35 days. However, you can only pause these updates once, and when the updates continue to come, your computer will need to install the latest quality update before you can use this feature again.
Using the "Windows as a Service" model with feature and quality updates is Microsoft's new approach to ensuring that your device can stay safe and running the latest features and security updates while maintaining consistency and reliability.
This is at least theoretical, as we have already seen, Microsoft finds it difficult to keep up with code quality control. For example, after the release of the Windows update on October 10, 2018, last fall, the company was forced to withdraw the feature update 1809, due to data loss and other issues, although she had first tested by Insiders. The company also recently had to issue a patch for a quality update, which caused Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) on some HP devices .
If you want to know more technical details about the updates, you can check this Microsoft support article .