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Downloads for Windows 10 November big-bang build axed by Microsoft

Back to Windows Update like everyone else, IT pros

A funny thing happened over the weekend: Microsoft made its latest Windows 10 download – billed as its first major update – disappear. And it hasn't come back.

Sure, you'll eventually be able to get the build, version 1511, via Windows Update, so no one's losing out.

But if you were hoping to use Microsoft's media creation tool (MCT) to download the whole operating system as one self-contained package, and create an .ISO image to install from, you're out of luck. The download for build 1511 is gone.

If you've got a PC running Windows 10 already, none of this really affects you.

If you're starting a Windows 10 install from scratch, and want to use the MCT, you'll have to start with an .ISO of an earlier version – the big July launch release – and then download all the latest stuff via Windows Update like everyone else.

Whoa, big deal, huh? Well, MCT is aimed at professionals and enthusiasts with many PCs under their wing: rather than have each computer upgrade to the latest build of Windows 10 via gigabytes and gigabytes of Windows Update downloads, you can instead download and create a single .ISO image of the operating system you want, burn it to DVD or a USB stick, and install the software the (slightly) old-fashioned way on as many machines as you're licensed to from that media.

So if you wanted to bring a bunch of Windows 7 machines up to the latest Windows 10, you'd just pop into each of them a DVD or USB stick built from the latest MCT download, and save yourself a lot of time and bandwidth.

It seems, though, Microsoft is bored with that plan, doesn't like testing or rolling out fat upgrades any more, or the wheels have fallen off it in some other way: the version 1511 download, which went live just over a week ago, isn't there any more, so you'll have to start from the July build and apply a shedload of updates.

We asked Redmond for an explanation, but got this instead from a spokeswoman:

The MCT download cannot be used to update Windows 10 PCs to the November update. The November update will be available via Windows Update. If you don’t see the November update yet, you will see it soon as it is rolling out in a phased approach.

We thought the plan for Windows 10 was monthly enhancements via Windows Update, and then big-bang updates every six months or so – the November 2015 update being the first of those. What with its secretive updates policy, why does any of this surprise us? ®

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