Better Windows Updates in Windows 8

Remember back in the days of Windows Classic (95, 98, ME, 2000) when the simple idea of installing updates to your computer foreshadowed hours spent using a slow computer while the software installed, shutting down, restarting, over and over again?

And do you remember how the whole update process gradually got better as the processors and internet speeds got faster? Well yes the whole update process got faster because of those factors, but it also got faster because the Windows Update program got faster as well as Windows itself.

Now, you can plug your iPod into your brand new laptop, automatically download all the drivers and updates in the background, and never even have to think about restarting.

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The Windows Update process is getting easier.

Microsoft decided to find out why we have to restart at all after updating. They found out that we have to restart because we are still using our computers while updating, and most of the time, we are using files that are currently being updated.

Therefore we have to restart afterwards just to make sure that all the files are in place. This is why you may see a dialog box asking you to close a certain program or risk having to restart your computer.

Even if you could still run the programs in the background, there would still be vulnerabilities until you restarted the machine.

Steven Sinofsky explained this pretty clearly, ” It is important to understand that for many updates, even if you could continue running the existing code that is already in memory, it is that very code that is a security vulnerability (for example), so the risk to the security (or reliability) of the machine would remain until you restart your machine.”

So while Microsoft works on that entire issue, he suggests that users still use the Windows Restart Manager, which is currently available, to manage restarting after updating.

To make the updating and restarting process more streamlined, the Windows 8 team came up with three principles to as how th whole process should work.

They are as follows:

  • The automatic updating experience is not intrusive to users but keeps them aware of critical action
  • Minimize restarts and make them more predictable
  • Continue to keep the PC and the ecosystem up-to-date and secure in a timely manner

So after working on the Windows Update process for a while, the came up with some pretty good solutions in my opinion. Firstly, either the new Windows Update, you only have to restart on the second Tuesday of every month (the day when all of Microsoft’s security updates are released.)

This will allow people to plan around the restart, and not just have it happen randomly, especially in companies.

The new Windows Update will also notify you a few days before a restart, if you don’t want to have to keep track of when it regularly does update. There will be a notification on the lock screen as to how many days you have left until you have to restart and the power option will change from  “Shutdown” to “Update and restart.”

Once the big day comes, Windows Update will let you know how much time you have left until you have to restart, and then will preserve your current session, and go ahead through with it.

I think the new Windows Update is going to be a nice change from the current one. I will be notified long before having to restart, and I won’t have to keep postponing it like I have to now.
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