Why is the Feature Update to Windows 10, version 1909, known as the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, so small and it installs so quickly.
After the release of the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, many users began to wonder how version 1909 differs from previous and future feature updates for Windows 10. Why is this feature update so small? Why does it install so fast? Why does Microsoft recommend this update for installation, citing the minimal risk of potential problems? These are very good questions, we will try to answer them.
Windows 10 version 1909 is not a traditional feature update, at least in the technical sense. From a development point of view, the November 2019 Update is a set of features that were created on top of the May 2019 Update version (version 1903). These functions are in the “disabled” state by default until the user starts updating to version 1909. That is why the volume of downloaded files is so small – in fact, you do not receive any new functions, but only activate them.
All new features that are part of version 1909 are deployed back in version 1903 after installing cumulative update KB4517389, released last month, but were disabled until the activation package was installed. When a user initiates the download of version 1909, Windows 10 Update downloads this support package, which tells your operating system to enable new features and change the OS version to 1909.
Microsoft provided an explanation for the non-standard upgrade process:
Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 share a common base operating system with an identical set of system files. Therefore, the new features of Windows 10 version 1909 were included in the latest quality update for Windows 10 version 1903 (released on October 8, 2019), but are inactive. The inactive state will remain until they are forcibly turned on through the “support package” – a small, quickly installed “breaker” that activates the functions of Windows 10 version 1909.
Differences from previous updates
Thus, the November 2019 Update (version 1909) is just version 1903, but with several additional features, so the update installation process is so quick and less risky, but only if you upgrade to 1909 from version 1903. This is the main difference from previous Windows 10 feature updates, which were brand new releases of the system.
If you upgrade to 1909 from earlier versions of Windows 10 (before 1903), then the November 2019 Update will ship as a full feature update. For example, in the October 2018 Update version (version 1809) there are no new features that were disabled in 1903, so the base operating system (version 1903) will be loaded first, and then the activation package will be installed.
It is not yet clear whether Microsoft intends to use this approach with all the second annual feature updates for Windows 10, or is it just a one-time promotion. In any case, we will keep you informed.