Windows 8's Windows Update gets detailed

Many of us have been in this spot before. You run Windows Update in Windows 7 or Vista and install the updates. Then suddenly, when you are away or asleep, the system restarts. Not only did it restart, but you were working in a program and left it open. All that data is now gone. Microsoft has now detailed how they aim to fix the problem in Windows 8.

Microsoft started off by noting that 90 percent of Windows 7 users automatically update on Windows 7. The company says that this is a sign that Windows Update is highly trusted, authenticated source of updates. Updating is now viewed as a background maintenance task by users as well and below is a chart detailing the breakdown regarding Windows Update in Windows 7.


Windows 7

Automatically install updates


Notify me before install


Notify me before download


Never check for updates


Courtesy of Microsoft: Usage of various modes of automatic updating

Further data from the company indicates that 31 percent of users interact with the automatic update, intervening when Windows notifies them of updates, instead of letting the updates just install. Microsoft is making changes to Windows Update for Windows 8 based off the following principles: minimizing restarts, making automatic updating non-intrusive to users, and continuing to keep the PC and its ecosystem up-to-date and secure.

So how does Microsoft plan to accomplish this? For starters, Windows Update will consolidate all the restarts to one restart when security updates are released. There is one exception to this: critical vulnerabilities that require immediate attention. In addition, you will be given an option to hold off the restart for three days. A message will appear on your login screen, notifying you of this. The power button at the bottom of the screen will add new options to reflect this: update and shutdown or update and restart. Check out the examples of this in the gallery.

If the PC has not been restarted after three days, the PC will then automatically restart. However, it will only do this if the PC is not locked. Apps must not be running in the background as well. Once you log back in, Windows will notify you to save your work and restart. For those of you do not automatically update, you will receive a notification that Windows updates are available.

Microsoft says that the Windows Store will include automatic updating for Metro style apps. However, no automatic updating will occur for other 3rd party applications. Microsoft says enabling this would lead to potential mistrust of Windows Update by users.

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