How-To

How to Access ESD Files in Windows 10 Insider Previews

With the introduction of differential updates in Windows 10, ESD files are no longer available to create ISO images of latest builds. Here’s how to restore access to them again.

Users participating in the Windows 10 Insider Program might notice significant changes to the update experience. We recently discussed a few new changes and additions to the latest Windows 10 builds including how Windows update now works. Differential Updates, for example, removes the option to keep a copy of the ESD file, which is a compressed Windows Image which users can convert into a bootable ISO. That said, differential updates aren’t all bad. The benefits include smaller updates, server side processing and fewer users running into the commonly annoying “stuck at 0%” during Windows 10 updates.

Personally, seeing that I do a lot of Windows 10 tweaking and hacking, so differential updates is not a feasible option when you need to install the latest Windows 10 Insider build on multiple machines and Virtual machines. Here’s how to get access to them with a few registry hacks.

Restore the Option to Download ESD Files in Windows 10 Insider Build

Note: As always, when you plan on making changes to the Windows 10 Registry, you should always first take a backup of your registry in addition to creating a system restore point; just in case something goes wrong.

To restore the option of downloading ESD files, you will need to modify two registry keys called EnableUUPScan and SupportsUUP.

Click Start, type: regedit
Right click regedit then click Run as administrator

Navigate to the first registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > WindowsUpdate > Orchestrator

Right-click the DWORD value for EnableUUPScan

Click Properties

Change the Value to 0

Click OK

Navigate to next registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > WindowsUpdate

Repeat the same step by changing the DWOD value date: 0 for SupportsUUP

This will disable the new differential method of updating and restore the original ESD method. When the next Windows 10 build downloads, you can grab the Install.ESD file from C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources folder. If you don’t see the Sources folder, make sure Show Hidden Files and Folders is enabled in File Explorer.

Your next challenge will be to convert the Install.ESD file into a bootable ISO image so you can then burn it to a blank DVD. To do this, just do a search for ESD Decrypter utility using your preferred search engine. The tool is regularly updated so be sure to grab the latest version and one that supports the build you want to decompress.

For the public releases of Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Creators Update, Microsoft will always provide a bootable ISO using the Media Creation Tool


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