Leaked Windows 10 build offers peer-to-peer update options

— 9:16 AM on March 16, 2015

Another internal build of Windows 10 has leaked, and Microsoft watchers have picked it over to find the most recent changes and additions to the upcoming OS. This time around, Microsoft appears to have added a new peer-to-peer mode to Windows Update.

Screenshots of the Settings menu obtained by The Verge show a new dialog that offers the option to "get updates from more than one place." This dialog suggests Microsoft's servers will remain the canonical source for updates, but Windows 10 users can choose to get updates from other PCs on a local network, and update sources can also include other PCs on the Internet.  Analysis of the new update model at Ars Technica indicates that peer-to-peer updating could be a boon for users with limited bandwidth and metered data connections.

The idea of getting Windows updates from other PCs on the Internet makes me a little uncomfortable. It seems to me like the peer-to-peer distribution model could be vulnerable to a variety of attacks, like spoofing false updates. The new model is optional, however, and I'm sure Microsoft has taken security into account. I expect we'll learn more about the new update model when the latest public preview of Windows 10 becomes available.

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