Microsoft is training Windows 10 to be smarter about when it updates your PC

Have you ever stepped away from your PC only to return and find it in the middle of an update? Such is the bane of forced updates on Windows 10. They're not disappearing, but Microsoft is employing machine learning to train Windows 10 not to update itself at inopportune times.

The new feature is being tested in the latest preview builds to Windows Insiders—build 17723 for those subscribed to the Fast ring and build 18204 who have opted in to Skip Ahead. Both builds feature a predictive model aimed at accurately predicting when it might be a good time to restart your PC.

"Have you ever had to stop what you were doing, or wait for your computer to boot up because the device updated at the wrong time? We heard you, and to alleviate this pain, if you have an update pending we’ve updated our reboot logic to use a new system that is more adaptive and proactive," Microsoft explains.

The new predictive model goes further than before—not only will it check if you are currently using your device, it will also to try to predict if you've stepped away momentarily, maybe to grab a cup of coffee or to use the bathroom.

Microsoft says it's seen promising results from rolling out the feature internally. The company also points out that it can update its predictive model with minimal turnaround time based on insights it collects, and its cloud infrastructure.

Untimely updates have been the source of major headaches with Windows 10. Microsoft has made some headway in making them less painful, like giving users the option of hitting snooze or picking a time that might be more convenient. It's still a bit aggressive, though, and this latest effort shows the lengths Microsoft will go to engineer a more complex solution than giving users control over how their PCs are updated.

This feature will show up for all users in the next major update to Windows 10, codenamed Redstone 5. In addition, Microsoft tweaked the Game bar so that it appears in the Start menu and when hitting Win + G,. It also added a mixed reality flashlight feature that opens a low-latency pass-through camera feed from the controller so you can peek at the real world when immersed in an app.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).