Windows 10 to let you get updates 'from multiple sources'

A newly leaked build of the upcoming OS shows a way to let you snag updates from other PCs as well as from Microsoft itself.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

The Windows 10 Technical Preview. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Windows 10 will apparently let you download updates from computers other than Microsoft's own servers.

The latest build of the upcoming OS, leaked online over the weekend, reveals a new option for getting updates from more than one place, The Verge reported Sunday.

Specifically, you can choose to download updates for the operating system from other PCs on your own internal network or from PCs either on your network or over the Internet, giving the update process a peer-to-peer capability.

Windows 10, Microsoft's first big chance to move beyond the missteps of Windows 8, is expected to get its official release to the public later this year.

Currently, updates for Windows, Office and other Microsoft products are downloaded directly from Microsoft servers. But if Microsoft's site is too slow or inaccessible for some reason, you'll now have an alternative avenue for making sure your PC can get the latest security patches, bug fixes and other updates. As an example, let's say you own three different Windows 10 PCs or tablets. You can download the latest updates onto one from Microsoft or from PCs over the Internet and then download them onto your other two devices from your first PC.

The option seen in the leaked screenshot posted by The Verge gives you the ability to "download apps and OS updates from multiple sources to get them more quickly." So that means you'll also be able to grab updates to Windows 10 apps as well as those for the operating system itself. You can then choose whether to download updates from Microsoft and PCs on your local network or from Microsoft, PCs on your network and other PCs over the Internet.

Downloading updates from other PCs in a peer-to-peer fashion does open up issues of security and reliability. But Microsoft would certainly be aware of the potential pitfalls and is likely taking steps to ensure that any updates received from other PCs over the Internet would be safe and secure.

Unofficially shared on various torrent sites Saturday, the latest Windows 10 build also displays a transparent Start menu, a new interface for Wi-Fi connections and enhancements to the virtual desktop that lets you jump from desktop to another, The Verge said.

Though the latest leaked build is unofficial, Microsoft has been rolling out new builds to the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a semi-regular basis. The company aims the builds at people who sign up for the Windows Insider Program with the hope of getting them to provide feedback on the OS as it's being crafted.

Microsoft offers preview builds on both a "fast" and "slow" basis. Fast means you'll see more previews released but they may contain more bugs. Slow means the previews will be doled out to you at a more leisurely rate but they may be a bit more stable. Earlier this month, Microsoft general manager admitted that the company has "probably been too conservative about pushing builds to the Fast ring for Windows Insiders." As a result, the fast builds should now start to come out faster.

Responding to CNET's request for comment, a spokeswoman for Microsoft said the company had nothing to share.