Feeds

Windows 8 aims to make security updates less painful

Fewer restarts, less desktop clutter

The Power of One Infographic

The next version of Microsoft's Windows operating system will introduce changes that are designed to make automatic updates less disruptive by eliminating popup notifications and reducing the number of times machines must be restarted.

In a blog post published on Monday, Microsoft Program Manager for the Windows Update Group Faranza Rahman said the forthcoming Windows 8 will consolidate all restarts required in a single month and synchronize them with the regularly scheduled release on the second Tuesday of each month.

“This means that your PC will only restart when security updates are installed and require a restart,” she wrote. “With this improvement, it does not matter when updates that require restarts are released in a month, since these restarts will wait till the security release.”

Windows 8 will also eliminate popup windows and dialog boxes concerning pending restarts and instead display the notifications in the login screen. The notifications will give users three days to reboot the machine after installing and update. If the machine hasn't been shutdown or restarted by then and Windows Update doesn't detect any critical applications are running, it will automatically restart the machine.

In the event applications are running in the background or there is potentially unsaved work, users will see a message at login asking them to save their work, along with a warning that the machine will be restarted within 15 minutes.

The Power options on the Windows lock screen will also change to offer choices to “Update and restart” and Update and shutdown” immediately after the update occurs.

Rahman said engineers arrived at the changes after analyzing the updating habits of millions of users. In one week, 90 percent of users who need an update have successfully completed the installation, including any restart. About 39 percent of Windows 7 users elect to have updates installed just prior to shutting down their systems, while another 30 percent allow the operating system to restart PCs as needed.

“Allowing restarts to occur without user interaction has helped us to rapidly update a major portion of the Windows ecosystem with critical updates,” she wrote. “On average, within a week of releasing a critical update, 90% of PCs have installed the update.”

The changes are likely to come as good news for users who want fewer interruptions as they use their PCs to watch movies, play games or work. The bad news is that there are no plans for Windows Update to install security patches required by third-party applications.

“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,” Rahman wrote. “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.” ®

Follow @dangoodin001 on Twitter.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.