Microsoft today said that Windows 10 users eager for the next feature upgrade may download it manually starting Wednesday, April 5, nearly a week before the refresh begins reaching PCs via Windows Update.
Windows 10 Creators Update -- Microsoft's name for the first of two upgrades in 2017 -- will launch on April 11, when the installation file will be staged on Windows Update and offered to a select group of users. To jump the Windows Update line, people will need to run the Upgrade Assistant, an app that will be available before April 5 on Microsoft's website.
Microsoft debuted the Update Assistant in August 2016 as a consumer-and-business alternative to Windows Update for grabbing the Anniversary Update, the Windows 10 upgrade also known by the yymm tag of 1607.
Also on Thursday, Microsoft reiterated its roll-out plan for the Creators Update. According to John Cable, director of program management and part of the Windows servicing and delivery team, the first group to receive the feature upgrade will be owners of "newer devices, especially those we tested together with our OEM hardware partners."
Distribution will slowly expand as Microsoft collects and evaluates incoming telemetry from upgrading devices, and if necessary, deals with issues such as incompatible drivers blocking the update. "We'll iterate this process over a period of several months," Cable added.
Last year's Anniversary Update took about three months to be served to, and installed on, just under 80% of the eligible consumer and business PCs running Windows 10.