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On Windows 11, there's an option in the Windows Update panel labeled "Get the latest updates as soon as they're available". There's a link to a support article, but it's still somewhat vague.

I can interpret this flag in one of three ways:

  1. When this flag is enabled, non-security Windows Updates will be installed as soon as they hit the Windows Update catalog, instead of waiting for the regularly scheduled update window;
  2. When this flag is enabled, this machine will be one of the first recipients of any new updates, but it will still wait for the regularly scheduled release window;
  3. When this flag is enabled, this machine will be enrolled in a Windows Insider style program and it will receive prerelease versions of updates that haven't been fully tested yet.

I doubt it's number 3, and number 1 seems most likely, but I'm not sure. Which of these 3 interpretations is correct?

2 Answers 2

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It is option 2.

Microsoft releases new updates "staggered" so that not every computer gets them offered as soon as they are in the catalog.
People who opt in will get them on their next regular check for updates. The others will get them a bit later gradually spread out over a couple of weeks.

Essentially by enabling this "feature" your are volunteering to be an "early adopter".

Microsoft really wants/needs early adopters. The Windows eco-system is so huge, which some many different PC configurations out there, that it is impossible for Microsoft to beta-test every possibly combination of hard and software.
So there is always a chance that something will get missed during beta-testing/insider program and gets through to the release version.
Having a sizeable group of "early adopters" gives an extra opportunity to catch problems "in the field".

This gives Microsoft the chance to see what goes wrong with the early adopters (if anything) and (if needed) fix things before everyone is affected. (And it somewhat reduces peak-load/strain on the Windows Update servers, because the updates get spread out over a longer time-frame, which is a nice side-benefit.)

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  • @shoover That was the intent all along. I fixed it.
    – Tonny
    Mar 7 at 14:03
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The Microsoft article Get Windows updates as soon as they're available for your device defines this option as:

With the Get the latest updates as soon as they're available toggle set to On, you can be sure you'll have access to the latest changes as soon as they're available for your device, you'll be prioritized for future updates, and you'll still get security updates as usual.

To clarify the stages of an update to Windows, they are:

  1. Internal development and alpha testing inside Microsoft
  2. Release on the Insider channel for beta testing
  3. Release to users who check for updates via Windows Update. Such updates may be called "Preview", and are actually a late-stage beta-testing
  4. Release to the public on specific computers or hardware configurations
  5. Release to the global public.

Setting this option means that you will have priority in step 4. Your computer will be among the first of the group computers with similar configuration to yours. In effect, you become a post-beta tester, in the sense that if you encounter errors, Microsoft might wait some more with the release to your group.

My advice would be to not set this option - let others be the first to get the just-released updates. Better be safe than sorry.

To answer the question : Option 2 is the most correct.

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  • "My advice would be to not set this option" unless software developer, tester or IT surport, then being ahead helps. Mar 1 at 15:01

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