Microsoft Explains its Rollout Strategy for the Fall Creators Update

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 22 Comments

Microsoft Explains its Rollout Strategy for the Fall Creators Update

Microsoft today explained that it will be rolling out the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in phases, much as it did with the previous feature update. That said, it seems—anecdotally—that this release is already rolling out faster than the original Creators Update.

“Our goal is to deliver feature updates to you as quickly as possible, while providing you with the best possible update experience,” Microsoft’s John Cable explains. “By starting with machines which we believe will have the best update experience, we are able to get focused feedback on application compatibility and how Windows works with the rich ecosystem of available peripherals like Bluetooth devices or cameras.”

The first PCs to receive the Fall Creators Update are “newer devices” that have been tested by Microsoft and its hardware partners, Cable says. Then, the firm will open the spigot a bit and monitor feedback from Windows Insiders, its hardware partners, and other customers. If everything goes well, it will accelerate the process over time. And then it will repeat these steps until the Fall Creators Update is pretty much fully deployed.

Cable mentions that Microsoft tested far more PCs in advance of shipping the Fall Creators Update, and I wonder if that explains what appears to be a faster deployment this time around.

The firm also recommends that IT shops perform a phased rollout of the Fall Creators Update that mimics what Microsoft is doing publicly.

“Start with targeted deployments to validate that apps, devices, and infrastructure used by your organization work well with the new release,” Cable recommends. “Then continue your deployment to more and more devices based on the results from your initial targeted deployments. Devices configured to take advantage of Windows Update for Business (WUfB) will be automatically migrated to this Semi-Annual Channel feature update based on your WUfB configurations.”

Finally, he reveals that the download size of the Fall Creators Update is 25 percent smaller than was the case with previous feature updates thanks to a new technology called differential downloads. (This was introduced in the Creators Update but couldn’t be utilized until the next feature update happened.) This, too, should help speed the deployment.

While I’ve not heard too many horror stories, given past experiences I don’t want to declare success quite yet. Still, so far so good.


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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Microsoft Explains its Rollout Strategy for the Fall Creators Update”

  1. colin79666

    Well 1-0 to Microsoft with my experiences this week. PC updated just fine in under 2 hours from 1703 to 1709. MacBook Pro Sierra to High Sierra got stuck 1/3 way through and needed to be fully reinstalled again.

    • cyloncat

      In reply to colin79666:

      Interesting. My (old) MacBook Pro also got stuck upgrading Sierra to High Sierra. Looks like I'll have to delete and recreate the bootable partition in order to re-install. Haven't yet decided if an old, low-usage machine is worth that salvage effort. Five Windows machines have all upgraded smoothly to Fall Creators Update, so MS definitely wins this round.

  2. pepesilvia

    I tried to do an in-place upgrade on a 2012 ASUS laptop and got the "Your PC needs to be repaired" bluescreen. Thankfully I had an image backup of the disk so I reverted back to that. Will try to do a clean install some time in the future.

  3. charms55

    I had problems with the previous fast track update which should have been the Creators update. Three days of trying then the iso became available. Did a clean install. Seems like Surface Pro 3 has struggled a bit more than other devices. Floored me that my ancient i3 and an 8" Lenovo tablet installed with no issues. Didn't expect the tablet to even upgrade.

  4. andyhi

    I'm not sure how they consider this a phased approach as every device model I've manually run windows up on in the last week has kicked off a 1709 upgrade.

    Devices include:

    Self built PCs with gen 3, 4, 6, & 7 Intel core procs.

    4 HP probook models that shipped with Win7 & Win 8.x. (64xx + 65xx)

    Even a low end atom based lenovo x32 win10 tablet.

    Some of these devices took months before 1703 was available via windows update.

    I think we're back to the 1607 deployment process that goes something like this:

    Phase 0 => Windows Insiders


    Phase 1 => Roll it to everyone until people complain.

    Phase 2 => See results of phases 0 + 1.

    Perhaps a manual check for windows updates is now considered an immediate request for upgrade, but it sounds like they've made a mistake and opened it wider than intended.

    Fortunately the upgrades have gone smoothly on every device so far.

    • Eric Dunbar

      In reply to andyhi:

      Can someone explain to me why andyhi's post was downvoted? AndyHi reported what his experience was. I guess facts aren't acceptable to some?

      • Eric Dunbar

        In reply to OntarioPundit:

        For that matter, Paul Thurrott--if you're reading this--get rid of the downvote feature on your website.

        When I look at the types of posts that are downvoted I just have to shake my head. You're better off retaining only upvotes. It's better from a user-engagement point-of-view and doesn't leave people wondering about the intelligence of the denizens on the internet/

  5. dcbCreative

    I expected my Surface devices to get it, and they did... ...Fortunately no issues.

    What surprised me is that my first generation Kangaroo Mini PC got it at the same time as all the Surface devices. It too had no installation issues and in fact the update fixed some of the wifi and bluetooth quirks that had been irking me since the original Creators update.

    Oh Microsoft, you are a mystery wrapped in an enigma surrounded by riddles.

  6. Patrick3D

    I've only seen 2 minor issues with the Fall Update: OneDrive reporting itself as not having the correct folder version and some user profile folders get re-created. The first issue is easily resolved by simply going through the OneDrive sign-in process again. The 2nd issue is some user profile folders like: Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, get recreated under a user's profile if they were relocated elsewhere and the Desktop folder "location" defaults back to the user profile folder while the other folders retain their relocated status. Basically, if you relocated your user profile folders (Desktop, Documents, etc...) to your OneDrive folder then you have to do a little clean-up after the update is done.

    • mi11sy

      "Basically, if you relocated your user profile folders (Desktop, Documents, etc...) to your OneDrive folder then you have to do a little clean-up after the update is done."

      It may not be as clear cut as that.

      On my SP4 I have relocated my Desktop, Documents and Pictures into my OneDrive folder and all retained their relocations during upgrade.

  7. richfrantz

    Went fine on my 3 PC's. (SP4, 2 year old HP, and a 11 year old toshiba)

  8. fbman

    My machine has already received the update, but I rolled back to 1703 as I was one of those affected by the UWP bug. When I restarted my machine, all my UWP apps were invisible (Included my Store purchases and the app store itself).. so no Forza for me... If you search for the app, no results.. A roll back to 1703 solves the issue, bringing everything back.

    I noticed there were other users complaining about the same issue. Rumour is it, a fix will be released within 2 weeks. I am surprised the story was not picked up on this site..

  9. Michael Brehm

    I think there is a difference between waiting for the update and actually clicking 'Check for Updates', if that doesn't sound too ridiculous. I wasn't getting the update automatically on any machines, but was still getting things like Defender and store app updates automatically. Once per day I picked one machine and clicked 'Check for Updates' and each time that triggered the update. I saw this behavior with 1703 as well. If not a silly coincidence, I actually like this behavior. Users that are proactive enough to click the button are probably expecting the update and would be frustrated if it wasn't there.

    That would be an interesting metric :) How many people check for updates to force it as opposed to just letting it happen...

    • NotThatSRoss

      In reply to djp952:

      I think that you are on to something. It took nearly 3 months for me to get 1703 on my SP3, and I'm pretty sure I clicked "Check for Updates" at least a few times during that period.

      This time I've been watching for the 1709 update and each day it says I'm 'up-to-date' as of some time during the night or first-thing in the morning. However, I just clicked "Check for Updates" for the 1st time this update cycle, and as you suggested, it immediately started downloading the 1709 update file.

  10. Philip

    I have a Lenovo Yoga 13 first edition (bought in 2013) that was running Win 10 Pro 1607 and it would not update to 1703. I tried several times over the past few months by downloading the Windows10UpgradeNNN.exe. This weekend I tried going through the process again. Unexpectedly, the machine upgraded to 1709 (skipping 1703) without any issues. It seems to be running fine.

  11. bharris

    Both of my systems upgraded on day 1 without a single issue. Working at home two days a week, these upgrades are scary...If my machine gets messed up, I'm going in! My main machine is a pretty standard system....a Dell XPS 8900 and knock on wood, 10 has always upgraded flawlessly so far. I will say though I still cross my fingers and get nervous every time I do an upgrade, waiting for my good fortune to run out!

  12. chrisrut

    As I've said before, it's a "Big Data" thing. As the updating system learns, it will get better still with each. Eventually, something suddenly not working will stand out in bas-relief, a glaring ripple on the placid face of big-data normalcy.

    However, I wonder if, at some point the need for frequent updates of such scope will pass? Things are moving pretty fast on the hardware (AR) and software (AI) fronts, so keeping the O/S moving apace seems quite reasonable.

    But does that go on, open ended, forever? Or, at some point does the current explosion of technology slow, as some undefined set of requirements emerges, is recognized, and is fulfilled?

    I'd vote for the latter. Exciting times.

  13. warren

    I've got a Dell desktop machine at the office built around an i7-6700; it was offered FCU on day 1. I let it run for about an hour, and it got most of the way through the upgrade.... then it blue-screened.

    The machine rebooted, the same blue screen happened a few minutes later.

    The machine rebooted again, with a "restoring previous version of Windows" message. A minute later, I'm back at the login screen, as if nothing had ever happened.

    So..... that sucks, but I have to say, I'm impressed that it was able to bring me right back to where I started.

  14. cyloncat

    My work PC got the update on release day. I don't know if that makes me a fan, an early adopter, or a user of a well-tested machine. To the machine's credit, it is a new high-end workstation. It's not associated with my Insider account, but it does have an MSDN subscription associated with its MS account. The ongoing mystery of feature roll-out.

  15. disco_larry

    It does seem like a pretty fast rollout so far. I have 4 custom-built PCs in my household ranging from a year old back to the oldest built in 2008, and all 4 have gotten it without specifically upgrading.

    And my parents have 3 PCs in their household, and all three have gotten it. The amazing thing is that one of theirs is an old Dell Vostro that dates to 2004 (yes, it's only good for surfing the web & barely). It was still on the 1607 release, and had yet to be offered 1703, but it got 1709 on the first check! Since it never got 1703, I had just assumed MS had changed the CPU requirements like they did from 8.0->8.1 and that its CPU had been left behind. Apparently not.

  16. mikiem

    "it seems—anecdotally—that this release is already rolling out faster"

    I'll say... I was planning on the usual routine, booting to a Windows To Go drive to ensure basic hardware compatibility, looking for updated/patched drivers at around the 2 week mark, & then updating everything [that didn't have a problem with the WTG drive]. In the past I've had at Least a month -- usually 3 or 4 -- but Windows Update was downloading the upgrade to most of our devices last week!

    "While I’ve not heard too many horror stories, given past experiences I don’t want to declare success quite yet. "

    No problems with 6 upgrades so far, but number 7, a 10" tablet, lost Bluetooth -- installed the latest Realtek drivers & that fixed it, but initial connection when 1709 starts lags a few minutes behind what I was getting with 1703 on the same device. Had a minor glitch with 3 devices running McAfee LiveSafe... Because I was upgrading much sooner than planned [in a bit of a hurry], I didn't uninstall McAfee 1st, but reinstalled after. In all 3 devices got a double login after that, but it's an easy fix with netplwiz.

  17. Eric Dunbar

    I can confirm that clicking "check for updates" forced an upgrade to 1709. Luckily enough I was quick enough on the ball when I noticed and I was able to cancel the upgrade. I'm on Windows 10 Pro so I changed the advanced options to Current Branch for Business. That wasn't enough to halt the upgrade attempt, however. I needed to go into the Windows updates downloads folder and delete all the cached files before that finally convinced Windows CU to stop trying to update itself to Windows FCU.

    I'd already tested out the FCU (such a bad acronym) with a clean install on another machine to see what it would be like and it was obvious from initial testing that it's riddled with bugs.

    Edge went downhill relative to CU. Instead of regularly forcing a reload of a page in Edge when it's too complicated to render in a certain amount of time, in the FCU Edge simply freezes the page and waits until it's completely loaded and rendered offscreen to then suddenly display it (very annoying behavior). Chrome, by comparison, on the same machine behaved just fine and was quick. Also, throughout the OS I noticed interface problems and just plain unfinished business.

    Microsoft of 2017 is not the Microsoft that released Windows 7. In Windows 7 Microsoft would've allowed the deadline to slide so it could root out the bugs. With WIndows 10 FCU it stuck to an artificial deadline and turned its users into beta testers--and, there is no difference between early adopters and people who earn a living with their computers.

    I use my laptop for work. I don't see the point to being Microsoft's guinea pig just because I clicked 'check for updates'.