It's amazing to me to watch news outlets just now peering into Windows 10 features and having something to say about them. Take, for example, the Peer updating capability of Windows 10. Microsoft has titled the feature Delivery Optimization. We've covered it on WindowsITPro a couple times already. You can catch that coverage at the following links:
But, now with Windows 10 publicly available for upgrades, the feature is getting some additional focus. Some this week are throwing alarms over the feature – alarms which might be warranted. Peer Update capability should be seen as huge plus, as long as it's configured correctly. This feature is basically a Bittorrent for receiving and delivering Windows Updates where a single PC downloads the updates and then makes them available for other connected systems. Ultimately, the feature should save on bandwidth.
Just like every other setting in Windows 10, Peer Update can be configured to match requirements and personal conviction. But, the default setting for this Peer Update capability might cause some concern for some.
By default, for every Windows 10 edition except Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, Peer Update is set to ON and to allow updates to be sent to PCs on the local network AND PCs connected over the Internet. This last piece is the concerning one for some, where Windows 10 PCs anywhere can received Windows Updates from your computer.
The best practice here is probably just to enable the feature, but configured it to only send to PCs on the local network. That way only those PCs connected locally and close to you can benefit from the feature, instead of opening up the PC to the entire connected world.
To locate the setting go to: Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, and then select Advanced options. On the Advanced options page, select Choose how updates are delivered.
From a security and privacy perspective (which is the piece that is concerning folks) Microsoft says that Delivery Optimization uses the same security measures as Windows Update and the Windows Store. Windows Update uses information obtained securely from Microsoft to validate the authenticity of files downloaded to a PC. Delivery Optimization also checks the authenticity of each part of an update or app that it downloads from other PCs before installing it. Additionally Delivery Optimization doesn’t access personal files or folders or change any files on the PC.