Security

Leaked Windows 10 build hints at peer-to-peer patching

Downloading OS updates from random PCs? What could possibly go wrong with that?

One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

A new build of Windows 10, number 10036, appears to have somehow found its way beyond Redmond's firewalls, and folks running it report it has all manner of interesting additions.

The main eyebrow-raiser is a new dialog titled “Choose how you download updates” that offers an option to “Download apps and OS updates from multiple sources to get them more quickly”.

Turning that option On then delivers options to “Download apps from Microsoft and: PCs on my local network; PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet”.

The leak and the screen shot aren't confirmed as real, but the peer-to-peer feature is certainly tantalising: PCs updating themselves with code from neighbours, rather than Windows Server Update Services, could create some interesting traffic across a local area network. Home users might appreciate the faster downloads that come with peer-to-peer downloads. Criminals are probably salivating, as they are likely to remember Microsoft messes like leaving Stuxnet imperfectly patched for five years and wonder just what could go wrong with peer-to-peer patching.

Other features, recorded on video by WinBeta reportedly found in the new build include a chance to expand the Start menu so it occupies the full screen and more or less reverts to the full Windows 8 TIFKAM experience. There's also more consistency across the user interface and it looks like Windows Defender has been given a few more defence options.

The changes to this build may the be the result of testers' feedback, as over the weekend Microsoft's Gabriel Aul, who has a hand in the Windows 10 public testing processing, emitted the following Tweet.

The feedback process is pretty tightly-run: Windows 10 users are asked to comment on whether they like or dislike new features, usually with a chance to add their own text. One million pieces of feedback could therefore be a million lazy clicks, or a lot of earnest clicks and a few tens of thousands of thoughtful comments. Making it possible to restore TIFKAM doesn't bespeak quality feedback, and peer-to-peer patching seems to be a solution to a problem few people endure. ®

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