Microsoft is aware that major upgrades to Windows 10 typically take a long time to install. For the Creators Update that was rolled out in April 2017, Microsoft says the average offline time for a user was around 82 minutes. That's slightly longer than it takes to watch Army of Darkness. With the upcoming Spring Creators Update, however, Microsoft has managed to cut the install time to around 30 minutes, the length of a typical sitcom if you count the commercials.
Otherwise known as Redstone 4, this will be the first major update to Windows 10 in 2018. Before we go any further, we should point out that "Spring Creators Update" is not yet the official name, though it's the nomenclature that's been leaked out, so we're running with it for the time being.
There have been three major updates to this point—Anniversary Update, Creators Update, and Fall Creators Update. Microsoft's goal is to upgrade Windows 10 twice year with new features and enhancements, in between which it doles out monthly security patches.
Each major update consists of four phases that are broken up into online and offline modes. Online phases occur while the device is being used and the OS is up and running, while offline phases are, well, offline. These entail system reboots and other tasks that are performed outside of the OS being usable.
Microsoft aims to reduce the time it takes to install these bi-annual updates by moving more of the work performed in the offline phase to the online phase. For example, preparing user content for migration previously took place during the offline phase, but will be performed when the PC is up and running when installing the Spring Creators Update. Same goes for migrating drivers and other files that Windows requires.
"Because of these changes, the online phase for the feature update will take longer to complete. However, this should not be noticeable to most users, as the setup processes run at a low priority, so they won’t have a large impact on a device’s battery life or system performance," Microsoft says.
Even by reducing the upgrade time to 30 minutes, updating Windows still requires some pre-planning. However, it's nice to see that the install time has been cut nearly two-thirds compared to the original Creators Update, and is down from 51 minutes (on average) for the Fall Creators Update. This will vary by PC, of course, but the bottom line is that the Spring Creators Update will install much quicker.
Some of the more interesting changes that will arrive with the Spring Creator's Update are related to Microsoft's mixed reality push. It will include a new virtual environment for users to wander around, and the ability to take screenshots in mixed reality apps with the controllers. In addition, Microsoft is rolling out haptic feedback for motion controllers in SteamVR.
The Spring Creators Update is expected to release next month.