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Windows 10 Project - The Bits You Didn't Know!


So if you are a techie the chances are you are involved in a Windows 10 project.  You’ve probably also been faced with a number of issues that have cropped up because of differences with the previous operating systems and compatibility with applications.  Being told that you will have issues after rollout to do with your users browsing the web is probably way down on the priority list.  However, the effects of internet access on a Windows 10 device are more pronounced than any other Microsoft server or desktop operating system.


As anyone who has tried to manipulate the start menu knows it’s not quite as simple as it used to be.  Historically easily manipulated simple shortcuts – Windows 10 now stores start menu items within a database which is complicated to manage.  Equally Microsoft have made changes to the way the operating system handles internet communications (the WinInet subsystem) including the way the system stores data either downloaded by browsers or applications to improve the experience for the user.  This data includes such things as cookies, certificates, scripts and other files and is referred to herein as web data.


Again similar to the start menu a new database, the WebCache, now forms a major part of the functionality, housing majority of the data that was previously held in files and registry keys.  The added problems it brings to a Windows 10 system are;


  • Since Windows 10 release 1709 all cookie files are now stored totally within the WebCache database as opposed to within files on disk
  • Windows 10 has full integration with the Microsoft store and many traditional apps and utilities are now store (universal) applications.  Many of these applications, for example Cortana, access servers on the internet and each one of those has an associated set of web data.  Cortana also stores proprietary information such as a search history and preferences
  • Microsoft Edge stores it’s own set of data within the WebCache, independently of Internet Explorer.  In addition to the default data generated by both browsers if the same website is visited with both browsers two sets of data are stored


All that this means is the size of a WebCache database on a Windows 10 device is over twice the size that it would be on any other operating system.  With file sizes of typically 300MB per user and constantly growing if not addressed up front it will add strain to the network, require further storage than may be available. 


For the user they will receive a great user experience on day 1 but even a relatively small number of websites visited can add a noticeable delay to login times – you can read more on this in our CTO, Peter Jones' blog 'Roaming IE 11 Cookies and History and the Impact on Logon Times' here

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