Why do some people seem to get Windows updates as soon as they are available, but others have to wait months for them? Here is how to get Windows updates immediately without having to wait.
I am not talking about bug and security fixes, which are always applied as soon as possible, but the feature updates that come once or twice a year.
There are several reasons why some PCs receive Windows updates sooner than others and updates are not released to everyone all at once. That could lead to problems, not least with millions of PCs all trying to download an update at the same time.
Windows Update checks for updates at random intervals. You might be the first or the last to check. However, this usually happens over a day or so and it is not responsible for the weeks or months delay some people experience.
I have heard that Microsoft targets the computers that are likely to be the most compatible with new feature updates. A small number of computers get the update, then based on feedback and after making any tweaks necessary, it rolls out to more and more users until everyone has it eventually.
If you have to wait weeks or months for feature update and you are tired of being the last person to get them, what can you do about it?
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Get Windows updates sooner
There are two things and if you have the latest Windows updates, press Windows+I to open the Settings app and then select Windows Update in the sidebar. On the right is Get the latest updates as soon as they are available. Click the switch and set it to On.
It does not affect security updates, which are release asap, but it means that you receive non-security updates, like new features, sooner than you used to. If you run a computer that is critical to your business, I would not use this option. Windows updates do occasionally cause problems for a small number of people. You could enable it on most other non-critical computers though. It is nice to see new features sooner rather than having to wait.
Get Windows updates faster
Down at the bottom of the Windows Update section in the Settings app is Windows Insider Program. This enables your computer to receive beta versions of Windows before they are released to the public.
If you have a computer that receives updates later than anyone else, this completely changes everything and you will get them before everyone else. However, there are some things to bear in mind with the Windows Insider Program.
You have to agree to let Windows send slightly more data to Microsoft than you normally have to. Microsoft needs extra diagnostic data so it can check that updates install and perform correctly before releasing them to the public.
Beta updates are not final and may contain bugs. However, some betas are more stable than others and there are different channels.
Avoid Dev and Canary channels. Although they get new features first, they are the least stable. The Release Preview channel provides Windows updates just before they are released to the rest of the world, and they are generally bug-free and stable. It’s good for getting updates without the wait.
The Beta channel is a good balance of stability and seeing new features sooner. Betas are quite stable and mostly bug-free. They aren’t for critical computers, but are great for personal computers and test computers. Which channel you choose is up to you. I joined the Beta.
Beta updates are mostly monthly, but occasionally more often. They are big and take time to install, so it can became annoying on a slow computer. Less so on a fast one.
I had one Windows PC that always got new features last and after joining the Windows Insider Program it got them before anyone else. It solved the problem of waiting months for updates.
This is not a one-way trip, a once-and-forever change. After you have joined the Windows Insider Program, there is a new section in the Windows Settings app. You can view and change the channel you joined and you can stop getting preview builds altogether if you want to.