Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

Summary: Don't be fooled, it's the same old pig underneath.


The other day Microsoft offered us some insight into how Windows 8 will handle restarts after Windows Updates are applied. Buried among the charts and data thrown at us is one clear message ... Microsoft still has a long way to go to make Windows Update as easy and convenient as it should be for the 21st century.

Farzana Rahman, program manager for the Windows Update group, runs through the changes that Microsoft has done to the Windows Update mechanism in Windows 8. The idea was to make the Windows Update process as quick and as painless as possible for Windows users.

While I've not actually had any hands-on time with this new improve update process, based on what information Microsoft has made available, I'm far from impressed.

This screenshot highlights pretty much everything that's wrong with the Windows 8 Windows Update mechanism:

So, what's wrong with this picture?

A lot.

Let's kick off with the whole business of having to reboot after applying updates. If it's possible to set up Linux so that you never have to reboot the OS to apply patches, then I'm not sure why we're still having to reboot Windows boxes every time patches roll in. Given the importance (and not to mention the number) of security updates, I would have expected Microsoft to give priority to making the Windows Updates process as pain-free as possible.

But no ...

OK, given that Microsoft doesn't think that we're worthy of being given something that I can add to an OS such as Ubuntu for free, let's move on to the next issue ... the reboot process. Why does a system reboot (especially one initiated for OS housekeeping purposes like Windows Update) need to disrupt workflow as much as it does? Why can't the system go through the reboot process and then intelligently bring the system back to the state it was in before the reboot, with whatever applications and documents that were open before the reboot being open after the reboot? Microsoft was talking about doing this back in 2005 for Windows Vista (of course it didn't happen). It's now almost 2012 and the best that Microsoft can offer us is a dumb reboot.

But there's more ... take a look at this:


Am I the only one shocked to find that a mechanism that's supposed to protect out PCs from harm is once again being designed in such a way that the mechanism itself can result in data loss? Of everything, this is the bit that makes the least sense to me. A modern OS shouldn't put the user in a position where data loss is possible.

So, Microsoft's jigged around with how the OS reboots following updates, but really it's little more than window dressing on top of the existing mechanism. It looks a little prettier, and will reduce on restarts that users have to endure, but underneath the new 'Metroized' look and snazzy wording is the same old system that we have now, warts and all.

Ignore the lipstick, it's the same old pig underneath.

Microsoft, this isn't good enough. You can, and should, do much better than this.

So, what should Microsoft do? Well, I think the company had the answer back in 2005 with the 'Freeze Dry' technology it tempted us with before Vista hit PCs. The idea was solid ... save the user's data, apply the patch, restart the application and the user is ready to rock again. If we can't get rebootless patching, then this is the second best option.

Given the total mess that Microsoft got into with Vista, I can see how an ambitious feature like this was blown aside for the sake of getting the OS out of the door, but that doesn't explain why the feature wasn't added to Windows 7, and why there's no mention of it in Windows 8.

Come on Microsoft, this is lazy! Here's a chance to actually innovate and do something that will actually make people's lives easier and better, rather than just mess around with the user interface adding touch enhancements that most people won't care about, and even fewer will be able to use.

Image credit (lipstick lips)TaniaSaiz

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

    I noticed a bit of an exageration. You do not have to "reboot Windows boxes every time patches roll in".
    Test Subject
    • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

      @Test Subject
      I agree, the author here is either grossly misinformed or just plain lying.
      I use win7x64 and rarely if ever have to reboot after a windows or nvidia update.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @Sqrly, Test Subject: Well I use Windows 7 32-bit since its release and I could swear that I had to reboot my PC almost every time. By that I mean it's been a two dozen patch Tuesdays and I didn't have to reboot on maybe only 3 of them. Is 64-bit this different?
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        Really, I have the same OS and I have to reboot about a quarter of the time, I have also had it reboot on its own; fortunately I wasn't using my computer at the time.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @Sqrly I end up having to reboot almost every month for patch Tuesday on Win7 x64 machine.

        That said I read that 8 will force reboots after updates after a period of time...not sure if you can turn it off or not.
      • Your kidding right?

        You must be either a MS shill or you're grossly misinformed. Every time my Win7x64 system applies an update it automatically reboots!
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @Sqrly The reboots are almost always on my x32 machine. About the only time I need to reboot! Shameful.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @Sqrly I have Windows 64-bit edition and the vast majority of time my machine requires a reboot. It seems whenever the patch involves around security, then a reboot is required. I would say that about 85% of the time my machine requires a reboot. Also, what happens if I left my computer one and didn't save data, then a patch rolls in and forces my computer to reboot. Gone, lost, and deleted will be any items I didn't save while I was away from my computer. I agree with the author of the article on this one.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        119 comments so far, and the Windows apologists are out in force and frothing at the mouth! Get over it! Windows has its flaws - but that is NOT a personal affront to YOU.

        I agree with Adrian; reboots are required far less frequently in Linux and Mac OS X than Windows. I keep paying for the upgrades (except for Vista) but some of the oldest issues are taking a mighty long time to fix!

        (BTW, the same applies to those who froth at the mouth over Linux, Mac OS X etc. Get a life!)
    • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

      @Test Subject

      Poor effort Adrian. Read the blog post thoroughly first and then do a ZDNet first and apologise.
      • Apologise for what? Windows?

        from that blog: [i]"The automatic updating experience thus needs to be able to handle cases where restarts are required. We know this architectural challenge is one that frustrates administrators and end-users alike, but it does represent the state of the art for Windows."[/i]

        Clearly, what may be "state of the art for Windows" has long since been surpassed by Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X. Indeed, it was only about 5 or 6 years ago that Windows finally reached the point where a change of IP address did [b]not[/b] require a reboot. Pathetic.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @rahbm - many updates for *N*X require a reboot. I updated my OpenSuse VM just the other day and had to reboot it for some updates to complete. I've also had to reboot my MacBookPro running OSX several times after applying updates.

        If an app uses a file/service/subsystem which it holds open when updates are applied, then that app must be shut down and restarted in order for the affected files to be unloaded and replaced. Few apps do this today.

        Components low down in the OS architecture might maintain sessions with dependents that cannot be quickly shut down and restarted and might necessitate a reboot.
    • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

      @Test Subject

      That is quite correct, you only really have to reboot about 1/3 of the time, and with Windows 8 the frequency of reboots is going to decrease even further.
      Doctor Demento
    • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

      @Test Subject

      This is what happens when an Apple dork that doesnt use windows thinks they found a hateful AHA moment. But they never realize that Apple has its updates as well AND ... wait for it.... requires a reboot for those to be applied as well. ( and its reccomended that you save any unsaved documents).
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @JABBER_WOLF Did anyone even mention Apple up to this point? For crying out loud, why does everything in this forum have to come down to the old Apple versus Microsoft spat? Bor-ring!
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @kward4242, it wasn't exactly Apple vs MSFT... He was just saying that OSX also requires the same reboot once in a while when they get updates, even some *nix machines (such as OSX and Ubuntu)... Well, to be fair the author did imply that these reboots can be avoid by doing some magical tech wizardry to the OS/kernel to allow hot-patching (very known in the server industry) to prevent downtime and virtually remove the need to reboot.

        So what JABBER_WOLF is pointing to is why does the author rant on something that also exists on other OS (such as Ubuntu) on the same consumer level? If you ask me, I'm on the same idea. Is the author trying to compare Windows 8 update mechanism to a fully customized IT server that has hot-patching enabled?
      • Well, for one thing, Apple doesn't give you a time bomb ticker on when

        the system is going to reboot. You can work all day if you want and not worry about it until you are done for the day. Secondly, if you have unsaved apps, OS X will prompt you to save and close. If you don't after a certain amount of time, you'll get an error message telling you that logout timed out because app foo couldn't quit. You can then save your work at that point, quit the offending app, and proceed with the restart. In Lion, the OS will automatically save your system state so that after the reboot, everything is back EXACTLY the way you left it. So, yeah, the Windows way of doing this does suck.
      • Yawn!

        Are you [i]really[/i] calling AKH "an Apple dork"? Now that is an LOL moment!

        The differences are that 1) Windows updates require [i]more[/i] reboots than Mac OS X and 2) Windows requires rebooting for updates far more [i]frequently[/i] than OS X.

        But of course, like most of the MS trolls and shills on here, you have to try to deflect the criticism away from MS and point the finger at your nemesis. Sigh.

        NO operating system is perfect; however, many people have decided that the flaws in Windows are enough of a reason to move away. Get over it.
      • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

        @baggins_z: You've clearly not used Windows in a while because Windows Update works exactly like you describe OSX behaving.

        Lion will only be able to restore apps that implement full session persistence - this amounts to a very small minority of apps today.

        FWIW, Microsoft introduced app restart capability back in Vista. Alas, too few app vendors have done the work on their site to hydrate and de-hydrate state in response to the app restart requests from the OS.

        Hopefully, MS will make it app restart support a mandatory feature of Windows app certification in the future.
    • RE: Microsoft slaps lipstick on Windows Update pig

      @Test Subject

      Yes, some patches require a reboot but is it that painful? Really people we're talking about a Desktop OS here. On the server side yes this is much more of a problem, but I don't see how a laptop of desktop user can't survive. You have the option to delay the restart or do it the next time you step away to the john.