ZENworks Patch Management: Reduced Package Size for Windows 10 1809 x64 Monthly Updates

In case you haven't heard, Microsoft introduced a new update process in Windows 10 version 1809 (64-bit)  that significantly reduces the size of the monthly cumulative updates. This is much welcomed news considering the headaches caused by the ever-increasing size of the cumulative updates.

Recently, I've received a few questions about whether or not ZENworks Patch Management supports this new update process. The answer is a resounding "Yes", and we have since it was introduced with the release of Windows 10 version 1809. So, with that question answered, I thought I'd take a minute to share answers to a few related questions you might have.

What is the actual impact on the update package size?

I haven't been able to find a Microsoft statement that addresses this with numbers, so I compared the first six months of the 1809 x64 updates (new update process) against the first six months of updates for 1803 x64 (old update process). Here are the results:

As you can see, the initial 1809 update was approximately 4 times (398%) smaller than the initial 1803 update, and after six months it was 5 times (510%) smaller. Certainly a significant reduction when it comes to hard disk storage and bandwidth requirements.

How does the new update process work?

The new process implements a "back-then-forward" model where each update reverts the operating system to the version's baseline (in this case the 1809 RTM) and then applies the changes required to move the operating system forward to the current update level. Even with reverting to the baseline, this update process has proven to be faster so far than the previous method.

If you want more detailed information, I recommend Gregg Keizer's "How Windows 10's new smaller monthly updates work" article in Computerworld.

Does Microsoft plan to back-port this update process to earlier Windows 10 versions?

No. They have indicated that the extensive modifications that are required for the update package and the update service make it too risky to support on previous versions.

Is this process used for any other Microsoft operating systems?

Currently, this update process is used only on Windows 10 version 1809 x64 (not x86), Windows Server 1809, and subsequent versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server.


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Comment List
  • We haven't looked at support for the ESD files. Obviously, the two questions we would have to answer are 1) are they available for download outside of WSUS/SCCM and 2) can they be installed as a ZCM bundle or made available as a ZPM patch. We'll take a look and see if it can be included in the future, but nothing is planned anytime soon.
  • Hi Darrin, thanks for the clarification! But what about Feature Updates, will ZPM be able to deploy these natively like WSUS/SCCM anytime soon? Right now we have to push the whole ISO (4 GB) to the clients to upgrade, whereas WSUS uses ESD files cutting the payload to the clients into half (techcommunity.microsoft.com/.../262386).
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