Windows Insiders will now be able to get OS and app updates from other PCs on the Internet

The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview, build 14915, arrived today, bringing a range of fixes, improvements and known issues for PCs and for phones in the Fast ring.

Microsoft made it clear earlier this month that its first Redstone 2 builds - which includes build 14915 - would not bring much in the way of new features, as it's concentrating initially on making more fundamental improvements to OneCore, which it refers to as 'the heart of Windows' across all Windows 10 devices.

As part of its announcement today, Microsoft revealed that it is making improvements to how apps and updates are downloaded to PCs through the Delivery Optimization mechanism, which was originally introduced as part of the Windows 10 November Update (Version 1511).

Starting today, Windows Insiders will be able to download new preview builds, OS updates and app updates from other PCs on the internet, in addition to those on their local network.

Microsoft's Dona Sarkar explained today:

We introduced Delivery Optimization with the Windows 10 November Update giving users the ability to get updates from PCs on a local network and are now enabling the ability to get updates from PCs on the Internet. When enabled, your PC may also send parts of apps or updates that you have downloaded using Delivery Optimization to other PCs. To check your settings for Delivery Optimization, go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options and choosing “Choose how updates are delivered.”

The Delivery Optimization feature is switched on by default, but it can be switched off. Your PC will get a notification the first time it downloads apps or OS updates from other PCs on your network or on the wider internet.

Using this option brings considerable advantages:

Rather than downloading an entire file from one machine, Delivery Optimization breaks the download into small pieces and uses what is assessed as the fastest, most reliable source for each piece of the file. Delivery Optimization is also mindful of local disk usage, use of cellular networks, battery life, and other network activity. It is also integrated with and builds on the existing security measures in Windows Update and Windows Store to check the authenticity of each file downloaded from other PCs. Particularly for PCs with challenging network conditions, this is designed to provide a better and more reliable download experience.

Dona said that since introducing Delivery Optimization in the November Update, usage of the feature has grown considerably, even in "large enterprises with thousands of PCs". As a result, she said, there's been a "30% - 50% reduction in Internet bandwidth usage required to keep multiple PCs on the same local network up-to-date with the latest Insider Preview builds and apps from the Store."

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