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article imageConfusion as Windows 10 November update appears to vanish

By James Walker     Nov 22, 2015 in Technology
The first major Windows 10 feature update has been available to users for just over a week now. However, it now appears to have vanished without trace in uncertain circumstances that haven't been fully explained by a statement from Microsoft.
The Windows 10 November Update, also known as Windows 10 Version 1511 or Windows 10 Build 10586, was released on November 12. It includes refinements to the interface and Microsoft Edge browser, a smarter Cortana, improvements to multitasking and the introduction of the Skype messaging suite.
The preferred method to get the new version is to let Windows Update automatically download and install it. Microsoft has also provided another method, letting users make installation media with the Media Creation Tool and perform an install that way, without waiting for Windows Update. This also allows users to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 Build 10586 on their computer in the future, without deploying the original release first and then upgrading to the November update.
Yesterday, it became apparent that the Media Creation Tool no longer offers the update. Instead, it only downloads Build 10240, the original public Windows 10 release available since July. Even more puzzling is that users trying to download the November update directly from Windows Update are no longer being delivered the required files.
There is one final piece of the mystery, perhaps the strangest of all. The build 10586 developer tools have also vanished, including the development kits used to write software for the new release and the emulators used to simulate an app running on the build. To all intents and purposes, 10586 appears to have been withdrawn by Microsoft.
The company has since responded to the bizarre series of events, telling WinBeta and other news sites that it hasn’t pulled the release. Instead, it is now rolling it out in waves over time, just as it did back in July on Windows 10's launch day.
Microsoft has confirmed the Media Creation Tool will no longer let users make 10586 installation media. Instead, the company has decided people will have to install the original Windows 10 version, build 10240, first and then use Windows Update to get future releases. It does not elaborate on why this decision was made.
The statement hasn't really cleared up the confusion surrounding the strange series of events. It's unknown why Microsoft has only moved the November update to rolling out in waves now, or why it decided to pull a U-turn on the purpose of the Media Creation Tool. The company has previously actively encouraged people to install the November update using the Media Creation Tool.
The continued absence of a comment on the disappearance of the developer tools only adds to the mystery. If the build is still available, as Microsoft says it is, then it is logical to assume developers should still be able to write software that uses its new features.
There are no widespread known issues in Windows 10 Build 10586 which could have affected this decision. Except for a bug which can prevent people from installing the update if they have an SD card inserted in their computer, the installation process appears to have been very stable for the majority of users. Speculation is beginning to circulate that Microsoft may be trying to cover something up, seeing as its statement doesn't explain why users of 10240 are no longer able to download 10586, even though the company claims the build is still available.
It's unclear how Microsoft will be rolling out Windows 10 updates in the future, or when developers will get the November update emulators and software kits back. It should be noted that users who already have the update installed on their machine are not affected by any of the changes and can continue to use Windows 10 as normal.
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