updated 10:15 pm EST, Mon November 14, 2011
Updates to eliminate interruption
Microsoft has previewed a number of improvements to its Windows Update system that are designed to make software updates less intrusive. The Windows 8 team is attempting to address criticisms of Windows 7 and earlier versions, which require users to face frequent notifications and automatic restarts that must be manually stopped.
To make the updating experience less intrusive, Windows 8 will consolidate all restarts to occur once a month with each security release. The change will reduce the number of unnecessary restarts and make the schedule predictable, as security patches are released on the second Tuesday of each month. To avoid leaving systems vulnerable to threats, however, security updates that address serious and imminent threats will bring an automatic restart immediately after download.
Windows 7 currently forces the automatic restart after just 15 minutes, leaving a small window for users to intervene. Windows 8 extends the automatic window to three days, while the notifications will be placed on the login screen rather than popping up when a user is logged in.
"Having a restart notification or dialog pop up in the middle of an important presentation, a game or a movie is not a pleasant situation, to say the least," admits Windows Update group program manager Farzana Rahman.