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Microsoft to make Windows 8 updates "a little less annoying"

by Parm Mann on 15 November 2011, 11:32

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 8

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We didn't hesitate to describe Windows 7 as excellent in our 2009 review, but while that assessment still stands, the operating system has developed a tendency to annoy us in recent years with a dizzying number of over-the-air updates and forced system restarts.

Seriously, is there anything worse than booting your PC only to be told five minutes later that you need to restart, again? Sure, we appreciate the regular security updates, but those pesky restarts - and that 15-minute, yellow-alert countdown window - is a serious bugbear.

Sound all too familiar? Well, there's good news in the pipeline, as Microsoft is making a series of improvements to the automatic updating experience in Windows 8 that it claims will "make restarts a little less annoying."

Unlike Windows 7, which will typically install critical updates as and when available before automatically restarting a user's system at 3am (the default setting), Windows 8 will "consolidate all the restarts in a month, synchronizing with the monthly security release."

As a result, a Windows 8 PC should, in theory, only require one restart a month - taking place on or around the second Tuesday of the month, when Microsoft's monthly security-update is released.

According to Farzana Rahman, the group program manager of Windows Update, this approach will help in three ways. "It keeps the system secure in a timely manner, reduces restarts, and makes restarts more predictable," says Rahman.

Going one step further, Windows 8 will also abolish the current 15-minute countdown window - which we lovingly call the Yellow Alert - and instead give users a three-day grace period. In Windows 8, if updates have been installed and are awaiting a restart, the user will be notified at the login screen (pictured above) and will be given three days to restart at his/her convenience.

No pop-ups, fewer interruptions and less nagging sounds good to us, but the one-restart-a-month will remain a best-case scenario. Microsoft adds that "critical security updates to fix a worm-like vulnerability" are the exception to the rule, and will not necessarily wait for the monthly cycle if "the security threat is dire enough".

Fascinating stuff (well, if you're geeky about your operating system) and plenty more Windows Update info and statistics can be found at Rahman's blog on

HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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I don't mind getting regular updates to my OS; it's the occasional restart without warning that annoys me. I don't know if it's a side-effect of sleeping / hibernating my laptop most of the time, but just occasionally (and it's happened to both me and the better half this week) my lappy will, without any warning, close all my open windows and restart itself. I'm guessing it's picking up an earlier postponement from before I slept / hibernated, but it'd be nice to have just a little warning. If they've improved matters in Windows 8 then that's all for the better (IMNSHO, obviously ;) ).
It's that nasty yellow countdown……if you miss it and it's sat behind another window it's still counting down to reboot….

I really like these changes TBH…..but it is just like Vista/7 again…..small changes that could (should) be patched into the current OS but they will expect another purchase instead.

I am thinking Windows 8 may be the first new version of Windows I do not want. There is nothing ground-breaking in it at all for me so far and most niggles got resolved from Vista to 7.
They need to introduce an API to allow 3rd parties to use it as well.

I don't actually find windows updates as annoying as the:
Constant java updates badgering
Adobe flash player interruptions on logon.
Adobe reader system tray hassling.
Every other piece of junk software nagging for updates when you just want to use it.

The problem with this many different ways of updating is that criminals use this confusion to get malware on computers.

Get it all dealt with by Microsoft update once per month in one lump and you've got a much less annoying system to use and less people will go to Apple systems.

Implementation will have to be well planned and considered however, and IME, development teams are pretty good at making fundamental, obvious mistakes that get missed in testing.
I don't get along with forced updates. Having lost some piece of work or another due to a spontaneous restart (not necessarily MS Office stuff, which has autorecover), I no longer let my laptop automatically install updates - only to automatically download them, and then it can install them if and when I choose to restart. :whip:
90 quid for a version of the OS that you can install on any PC is my main bug bear…. The sooner that MS realise that the average household can afford to upgrade Grannys computer every 2-3 years is a serious flaw. About time that they came up with:

1. a household license
2. an upgrade model from prior OS'es that's affordable! Maybe even “send us your disks”

I really think MS's problem is that they are VISUALLY going for the mass market, which contains corporations. They are losing their userbase because they expect EVERYONE to buy each product as if it were real and distinct. The products may be, but they are not perceived to be.

As for MS's feedback - when was the last time any user was contacted after sending in a crash report?

They need to do more for their money @ £90. It's a great product, but to price is such and EXPECT people to change really does come across as very “Strong Arm” as opposed to “meeting consumer needs.” - ie they release new versions of software only to make money - those consumers have already spent some of their hard earned - support them after the event.

The analogy I'd use is if your brand new car breaks, you don't take it to a garage and expect them to fix it to only run for that day - you want to use it for many more days. A computer is the same. Most of the updates MS provide are bug fixes because their product was flawed in the first instance.

I'm actually for MS licensing on a daily/monthly/annual basis. Pay for what you use!