Windows 8: Making automatic updates less annoying

Windows Update warning - Windows 8

In Windows 8, automatic updates are about to get a little less annoying. This week Microsoft has revealed its plans to make Windows Update more simplified and with not too many restarts.

In a blog post this week, the software giant detailed the work they are making to make Windows Update less intrusive on Windows 8. Microsoft’s Farzana Rahman explained that it is not an easy challenge to quickly push updates and not being intrusive to users in the process. “The challenge we faced was to find the balance between updating with speed and giving notice to the user for upcoming restarts.” Rahman said.

While still not possible to always install updates without restarting the operating system for many reasons — one of them being, for example, the file that needs to be updated in use –, lowering the times that Windows 8 needs to restart is important. What Microsoft wants is to make sure that automatic updates are pushed to every Windows 8 PC without getting on the way of the end-user, but at the same time made them aware when important updates require attention. 

Microsoft is making the following improvements to Windows 8:

Windows Update will download monthly security release. How this is going to help? Windows 8 is only going to restart when new security updates are installed and restart is required. All this translate to only one reboot per month. Critical Windows updates, on the other hand, will be pushed and installed as soon as they become available ignoring this new rule.

Windows Update notifies users when automatic restart are going to happen. In the new login screen is where the Windows 8 user will be notified that Windows Update has been downloaded and installed, and a reboot is required. This notification will be at the login screen for up to 3 days.

Windows Update message shown on login screen

In the case the end-user don’t restart after the grace period (three days), Windows Update will restart the PC, but if any running application is found, Windows 8 will not restart until the user logs back in, at which point the user will get a 15 mins warning alert to save all the work, only then Windows 8 will proceed to the automatically reboot. This is a great approach from Microsoft to avoid data loss to users — and don’t worry Microsoft made sure that you don’t get this notification during game play, presentation, or full screen videos, etc.

Restart Warning - Windows 8

All new changes will be well received by regular and power users, which many of them felt that Windows notifications were a little overwhelming and sometimes frustrated. Now with this new approach, the software maker is managing really well how updates will be handled to protect and keep users up to date with minimal intrusion.