Windows 10's first update is already in the works

After surviving a slightly bumpy release, Microsoft is already preparing the first update for Windows 10.

Microsoft Windows 10 first update free download
Mark Hachman

Windows 10 is just hitting desktops and Microsoft is already working on its first update to the OS, which may be released as early as August. This may be out of character with its past, but it fits into Microsoft's new strategy of faster releases and updates to the OS.

The Verge reports that the first such update is referred to internally as "Service Release 1" (SR1). It will be a maintenance update, focused on fixing the current release rather than adding new features. There are some features promised for Windows 10, such as support for Chrome extensions in the new Edge browser, that did not ship with the final code. 

There is also a second, much larger update planned for October that will also deal with stability issues and bugs, but which will also include new features. Formerly known as "Redstone" and now called "Threshold Wave 2," it will bring an updated Skype experience and the extensions in the Edge browser.

The launch was largely smooth for Microsoft, but not quite optimal. For starters, once again Microsoft and Nvidia can't seem to get along. If you remember the Vista debacle, many of the crashes were attributed to bad Nvidia drivers.

Well, history is repeating itself. Windows 10's auto update service is reportedly conflicting with the Nvidia GeForce Experience, which alerts GeForce users of new drivers. Early adopters are having problems, especially with multi-monitor setups, and in some cases are experiencing crashes when Windows 10 automatically updates its graphics card drivers.

The reason, according to Forbes, is that the latest driver version from Windows Update isn't very stable, yet Windows 10 automatically installs it anyway. The GeForce Experience app tries to download a newer, stable driver, but Windows Update blocks it. Needless to say, Nvidia users are upset. As I run a Nvidia card, this is a showstopper for me.

Also, Windows 10 began sneaking its way onto desktops in the days before the launch. The Verge noted that install files began downloading onto Insiders' PCs in the days before the launch. A few important files were missing so these users could not do the install ahead of schedule.

You can easily spot them. Turn on hidden files and folders in Windows and look for C:/$windows.~BT. I found the folder on my personal PC, weighing in at 4.04GB. That's a pretty big download to sneak past me, but I leave my PC on all the time so it could be done pretty easily at night time.

At 4GB, that means the majority of the OS is on your PC so you don't have to sit through a download if you install it during prime time. That's the good news. The bad news is a black eye on Microsoft's part; it got busted for using customers' bandwidth for distributing the content without permission.

Pushing out a 4GB download to end users is going to require a lot of bandwidth. Neowin says Microsoft acquired as much as 40Tbps with all of the major content delivery networks (CDNs) to push Windows 10 down to end users.

Microsoft used something called Windows Update Delivery Optimization, which works similarly to a torrent. Once the files are on your machine, you then become a seeder for other PCs, starting with your local network.

The problem is that no one told the end users or gave them the option to opt out. This is an appropriation of people's resources without permission and people will not like it, although I would expect that the early adopters (IDC puts first day installs at 14 million) are probably power users who were not significantly impacted. But I expect somewhere along the line a person with a 1.5Gbit broadband and heavily metered service will pop up eventually.

It would be foolish to expect a flawless release. They always have problems. But Microsoft is also much more responsive than in the past. Witness the tone deafness over the hate of Windows 8's new interface and MIA Start button. But they will get this right in due time.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10