By Susan Bradley
It appears that Microsoft has heard our complaints about a tedious part of the Windows updating process.
Changes in Windows 8 should make the never-ending task of installing patches a bit easier, by reducing mandatory system restarts.
On Feb. 29, Microsoft will reportedly release a Consumer Preview, beta version of Windows 8. It could be the first comprehensive look at what might be the company’s most advanced — and already controversial — Windows yet. But as you probably know, Microsoft has released hints and sneak peaks about Win8 for months now through its Windows 8 engineering blog, “Building Windows 8,” and the Windows 8 Developer Preview released this past September.
From a Windows updating perspective, one of the more interesting Windows 8 tidbits was discussed in the Nov. 14, 2011, Building Windows 8 blog. It reveals a plan to minimize the number of mandatory system reboots that often take place when Windows automatically adds patches. In fact, Microsoft states that in most cases, Windows 8 users should see only one system restart per month — on Patch Tuesday, when all updates have been installed. The exception would be any out-of-cycle critical patches MS sends out between Patch Tuesdays.
In the blog’s historical background on Windows Update, Microsoft provides an interesting peek into how most people install updates. For example (based on Windows users who have opted into Microsoft’s reporting system), 89 percent of Windows 7 users install Windows updates automatically. Of that group, 39 percent use the Install at shutdown option, 31 percent use the Interactive option, and 30 percent use Install-at-scheduled-time.