Windows Updates on Windows 8 will be a lot less intrusive

By Tom Warren, on 14th Nov 11 6:23 pm with 22 Comments

Microsoft shared its plans for Windows Update inside Windows 8 on Monday.

The software maker is planning to make its update packages a lot less intrusive to Windows 8 users. Microsoft has been discussing plans to change the Windows Update notifications internally. “The question for us on the WU team is always What is the best way to quickly update the PC while not being intrusive to the user?,” said Microsoft’s Farzana Rahman in a blog post on Monday. Microsoft feels there’s no simple answer to updates in Windows. “The challenge we faced was to find the balance between updating with speed and giving notice to the user for upcoming restarts,” says Rahman.

Microsoft is aiming to change the user experience in Windows 8 to ensure automatic updates are not intrusive to users but they will be made aware when a critical change is taking place. Minimizing restarts and making them more predictable is also a key part of the new update experience in Windows 8. Microsoft has made the following changes in Windows 8:

Windows Update will sync with the monthly security release – Windows 8 PCs will only restart when security updates are installed and require a reboot. This reboot should only happen once a month, providing you use your PC regularly. The result is a simplification of the process, ensuring that end users know when their systems will reboot. Critical out-of-band updates will be pushed and installed automatically outside of the cycle but these instances are very rare.

Windows Update notifies Windows 8 users of upcoming auto reboot – If Windows Update has downloaded and installed updates and requires a restart it will notify an end user of an upcoming reboot at the login screen for 3 days. “We wanted to give you 3 days to allow you to restart at your own convenience,” says Rahman. The notification will look like this:

Windows 8 Windows Update notification

If after three days, a user has still not restarted then Windows Update will automatically restart the PC. The automatic restart will trigger at the end of three-day grace period and Windows Update will detect if any critical apps are running before it starts a reboot. If apps are detected then Windows Update will wait until the next login attempt to restart. At the login prompt, users will be asked to save their work and will see a warning stating their machine will be restarted within 15 minutes. The notifications will not trigger during games, full-screen movies or whilst a mobile device is in presentation mode.

Windows 8 Windows Update reboot notification

The improvements in notifications will be a welcome addition for many Windows users. Microsoft switched to its notification system for Windows 7 and the pop-ups were frustrating for a number of users. Microsoft’s new approach is clearly a well managed way to handle crucial system updates for Windows 8. “With the introduction of Windows Update, we invested heavily in building not just a software delivery service, but a commitment to delivering high quality updates in a timely manner,” said Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky. “Today Windows Update is one of the largest services on the Internet by several measures, and of course we’re using Windows 8 development as a chance to improve the experience of product updates too.”

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  • Anonymous

    Nice to see Microsoft improving the update UX.

  • ama neden

    blue theme looks fascinating :)

  • Guest2009

    Windows 8 should have a centralized update manager, I hate it to keep up with all my software to have the latest version.

    • George Sabourin

      I’m guessing it likely will for any apps downloaded from the Windows Store.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      if you cared to read the blog post, they talk about that in the end…

      and they say WU wont update 3rd party software. and for metro apps there will be windows store to update apps.

      “The wide variety of delivery mechanisms, installation tools, and overall approaches to updates across the full breadth of applications makes it impossible to push all updates through this mechanism. As frustrating as this might be, it is also an important part of the ecosystem that we cannot just revisit for the installed base of software. ”

      “The wide variety of delivery mechanisms, installation tools, and overall approaches to updates across the full breadth of applications makes it impossible to push all updates through this mechanism. As frustrating as this might be, it is also an important part of the ecosystem that we cannot just revisit for the installed base of software. “

    • Anonymous

       This is true. On OS X, the update manager is only for OS X updates. When Firefox needs to update itself it has it’s own interface. The only other way is to do it like the mobile platform where apps are registered into the system and go through it’s update manager. That’s how it works on iOS/Android/WP7 but not on desktop. How to unify it all?

    • Anonymous

      Why should you unify it? Companies like Mozilla will in time make sure firefox works optimal with Windows 8 and therefore use the update mechanism. If they refuse to do that, somebody else will take it over. And with IE10 i am sure lot of people wont need another browser.

    • Nguyen Ngoc Hung

      Oh my ghost, we have LIVE TILE, remember guys. Dont need to check app to app for update. It will show you how may apps have update available in the Windows Store ;)

  • Koki_v3

    Thank god, I’m tired of postponing the reboot every 4 hours :)

    • teusje

      last security update:, I came back and it was already rebooted. forgot to save something :(

  • Alberto

    wtf, why does Windows 8  still needs to reboot the computer to apply patches?
    Thought they had taken the time to redesign that part as well..

    • Anonymous

      Because its the most safe way?

    • Seth_p

      Oh who knows. Why is the sky blue? Why do cats meow and dogs woof? Life’s complicating ;)

      But on a serious note, pick up an operating system book at the library. Don’t need a full background in CS but it’ll get your answer plus more! <>

    • Anonymous

      Because there are system files in use by the system. They are doing the wise thing and pushing updates that require a reboot to once a month. The other updates will install on their own. Definitely better than the current system that reboots the pc while you are at lunch.

  • WixosTrix

    They should have done application save states like in Lion.  If the system needs to restart it could just freeze all the applications, restart, and load everything back up without the user even knowing.  If the system fails to boot after an update, it should automatically perform a system restore and then notify the users to intervene.  It would be a nice feature for always plugged in desktops at least.

    • Tuxplorer

      Metro Style apps ALWAYS save their states. That’s why you can resume right where you left in Metro style apps.

    • WixosTrix

      Well that’s good to know. It’s pretty annoying on Windows Phone how apps aren’t required to tombstone because they can be dropped from the memory so quickly.

  • Anonymous

    compare that to the apple jumping terrier notification dock…..

  • Jairo Luciano Alves

    Windows 8 tablets cant come too soon!!! :)

  • Anonymous

    So they just reduce the intrusion to 3 days and 15mins per month.

  • Brandon

    Cant wait for the Upcoming Windows 8 Beta 1 in January 10th!! :3

  • Gautam Savaliya

    Check out Windows 8 support open source apps /