Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

Summary: When I think of Windows 8 running on tablets the more problems I see, especially when I think about the regular updates that come with Windows. I don't think that will work with tablets.

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One Windows to rule them all. That is the message coming loud and clear from Microsoft about Windows 8. The company intends to have the next version of Windows running on all types of devices, from desktops to tablets. Many who watch Windows are already questioning how well that might work, and I am firmly in that camp. When I think of Windows 8 running on tablets, the full Windows according to Microsoft, the more problems I see, especially when I think about security problems that come with Windows, and the regular updates those require. I don't think that will work with devices designed for auxiliary usage like tablets.

I understand that the need for constant updating to protect Windows users from the bad guys is not Microsoft's fault. It never has been. The platform has been a target to the malware makers because it is so big. Unfortunately, while not Microsoft's fault it is still an ingrained part of the Windows ecosystem. If you run Windows you must plan on regular updates to keep it safe. Windows 8 is going to be the same as every previous version of Windows. Therein lies the rub with devices like tablets.

Tablets are not primary systems that owners will always be using. They are auxiliary systems, picked up occasionally to do something online or to deal with some content. Pick the tablet up, do what you need and then set it back down again. The usage scenario has no place for frequent security updates. The first time you pick up a Windows 8 tablet to do something quickly, only to find that an update needs to be applied, or is downloading in the background, you are going to get frustrated that you can't do what you need to do. They can set it up so that you can postpone the update, but that leaves you vulnerable at best and needing to plan for some time to get the updates applied at worst. Maintenance will be a constant part of Windows 8 ownership, and tablet owners are not going to like that.

Windows Update currently can be configured to apply in the middle of the night you say, minimizing the impact to using tablets in the future. The problem is tablets don't fit that scenario; owners of tablets will tell you they don't necessarily plug them in every night due to long battery life. Or if they do, and a security update comes in while the tablet is sitting charging away, that can bring other problems. The first morning you grab your Windows 8 tablet off the charger to do something and discover the device has rebooted during the night to complete an update, you are going to be frustrated. Especially because like most tablet owners you left several apps running while in standby and maybe your work wasn't saved for the update. Losing work in progress is a very bad thing, having to recreate a work session is also no fun.

Tablets are used differently from other computers, and having the full Windows 8 onboard, with all of the overhead of maintenance that will bring, will not be competitive. Tablets running mobile OSes don't have that overhead, and that is a big draw to owners. They are always on, always ready to pick up where the owner left off, because the OS has no regular maintenance requirements. Windows 8 will never be free of the need for security, and that will be a negative impact on owners.

Image credit: WinRumors

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Tablets, Windows

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204 comments
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  • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

    Why would anyone use Windows tablets when there's iPad? A tablet that needs antivirus, slow, ages of piles of legacy crap and will drain your battery life. But one thing's for sure while iPad users will be enjoying their iPad for more than 8 hours, Windows tablet users on the other hand will be spending their time recharging their tablets and updating their Antivirus software
    shellcodes_coder
    • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

      @shellcodes_coder
      Maybe because some folks want something more than a purely consumptive device?
      rhonin
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @rhonin
        "purely consumptive device" is label given by outsiders, you know. It have nothing to do with "reality". O gee I forgot, you can not run PS on it nor AutoCAD, you are right its just "consumptive device". ;)

        You can do real stuff on iPad. And all apps for tablets (powered by ARM) WILL have to have new software! Or old one recompiled for arm. So no at first there will be not much "non-consumptive" stuff you will be able to do.
        przemoli
      • Then get a cheap laptop.

        @rhonin
        If folks want something more than a "purely consumptive device" there are several cheap laptops that are far more functional than a tablet.
        kraterz
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @przemoli
        I would luv to do some of my work stuff on an iPad. Unfortunately the "office" software that is offered is fairly poor for anything more than minor documents. Even the ported iWorks stuff has been severely hamstrung... :(

        On Android, Polaris Office and QuickOffice offer a fairly good mix to work with MSOffice docx/xlsx/pptx.... much better than the iPad offerings...

        @kraterz
        and your point?
        I want the tablet form (cost is not much of a barrier) that will allow me to do some of my work and play with a good battery life and light weight. I travel a lot and unless I am in 1st class, the room to do work on coast to coast flights is laughable at best for even a netbook.

        :|
        rhonin
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @rhonin - The iPad is a "mostly consumptive" device. I've seen people typing facebook entries and tweets on them.

        Only once have I seen (with my own two eyes) someone typing a "full length article" (not sure what he was typing but it was extensive) on his iPad. The thing is that he had his iPad mounted in a case that had a bluetooth keyboard, which basically turned it into a notebook computer.
        PollyProteus
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @rhonin <br>MS doesn't get what most people want - simplicity and ease of use. They also don't get the difference between consumptive use (90% of users) and content creation use (10%). The two are completely different and require a different OS and a different UI. <br><br>Add malware to this giant concoction and your user experience goes right down the tubes... People want to read a book on the tablet, not scan for viruses and do re-boots...
        prof123
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @rhonin And the school girl whine continues. You seem to be one of the very few whom are unable to create any content on the iPad, while others seem to have no issue at all, so maybe it's just that you cannot create, and probably because its an Apple product.

        If it had a Windows sticker you'd be yelling from the top of the mountain how great it is....
        T-Wrench
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @rhonin The processors in the Win8 tabs will be the same as the latest netbooks, so I'm not sure how much more you all think you'll be able to do with one, anyway. These aren't going to be desktop Windows machines in your hand. Wanting something more and getting something more are two different things. One is a dream. The only tablets which will run Win8 well will be the $2000+ variety, much like the current Windows tablets.

        Demos I've seen never show anything more than how snappy the user interface is when running on a quad core Kal-El graphics processor. Yes, the screen redraw will be snappy. But when people start doing actual work which uses the CPU, we'll start hearing the same whining we heard from people who bought netbooks and said they didn't work very well for running Windows applications.

        Yes, tablets are a primarily consumptive device, as they should be. Basically, if all you are doing is watching movies, checking email, and browsing, why spend the extra money on a heavier Win8 tablet with shorter battery life? If you plan to do a lot of content creation, a laptop will be cheaper, higher performance, and much more useful for it. I just don't see the appeal of a Win8 tablet with these two options already existing.
        BillDem
    • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

      @shellcodes_coder

      wow. nice try. but it's clear you have little idea what you're talking about. but go on right ahead it makes you feel better. maybe now you can sleep at nights.
      blazing_smiley_face
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @blazing_smiley_face
        Share with us this secret knowledge you pointed out author do not have....
        przemoli
    • Slow and needs antivirus perfectly describes the ipad and hasnt stopped

      them from selling. As for charging, no W8 tablets with have longer battery life on equivalent hw. Windows has much better power management than ios.
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @Johnny Vegas
        "ANY" statistics? Analysis? Proofs?
        Apple did focused on long battery life, thats why you eg do not have full multitasking. Also lack of multitasking alow for a bit better performance (cause you have to worry about much less, thats happening "right now").

        And NO power managment as you know from PC/notebook/netbook want work. It's a bit differen stuff you have to keep in mind (different cpu architecture, more unified devices, more focus on responsivnes, less powerfull hwd/ less power hungry hwd).
        przemoli
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @Johnny Vegas Windows has never had serious power management as a function of the poor integration of operating system and hardware. On the laptop side Apple notebooks have much better battery life than PC's of similar weight and size (and yes battery design is a part of this). Windows hibernation/sleep is still a marginal experience compared to OSX pre 10.5 and 10.7 goes much farther than anything other than iOS in this regard.

        And to correct the author it is MSFT's fault that it is not safe, they are still paying for the hacks they made to crush Wordperfect and Lotus in that most security problems that are in the wild use the scripting and inter-app communications api's that MSFT rushed into Office.
        The other legacy problem that is MSFT's fault is having everything run in Admin space though XP and the resulting need to people to accept all admin rights to so many things under vista/W7 that people do not read the warnings.

        The industry's notion that most malware is a function of market size if mostly propaganda.
        kpbpsw
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @kpbpsw<br>Guess again.<br>I run Win7 on an ASUS UL and get around 10hrs of normal use. Without decent power management software I would not get close to that. <br><br>@przemoli<br>Exactly right. Apple turned it all off and has been slowly turning revised portions back on as they develop energy control options. Even still they put the "your battery life may suffer from..." into their disclaimers.<br>Not saying it is a good way to do it, but it has worked for them. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
        rhonin
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @Johnny Vegas : just one question:<br><br>Who has tested "equivalent hw" between an iPad and a Windows PC? <br><br>Were you allowed insider information regarding Windows running on ARM SoC?<br><br>Or are you just bluffing as a fanboy?
        cosuna
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @Johnny Vegas ,
        Wow! That's amazing Mr. Vegas, since I have an Ipad, a Vista laptop, and Win 7 desktop. And the one I use every day for writing is the iPad, with no antivirus software, no freezes, or any issues at all.

        Runs smooth, has real instant on, loads up any app I want, and very easy to type on when flying in coach, or for me and the wife to enjoy watching a movie...Have any more FUD to spread??????
        T-Wrench
      • There are laptops now with 35 hours of battery life

        @Johnny Vegas I'm sort of counting the days for a windows 8 tablet. I get an annual budget for hardware but it's only for hardware that can hook into the domain. That excludes Android and IOS. The techs want to be able to control what I can do in their domain, including browser settings, what software is running, etc. The company I contracted with gave all the office managers IPad for Xmas. I have yet to see any off them at a meeting. They all bring their "bulky" Lenovo machines with killer processors, 15" screens and still almost endless 9 hours of battery life. Heck, my personal manager has had his IPad still in his box on his shelf. I playfully asked if I could have it. He said he was giving it to his kid for his birthday.
        A Gray
    • The iPad is very disappointing!

      @shellcodes_coder I got an iPad 2 a couple months ago and I've got to say that I'm very disappointed with the device. Sure the build quality is good and the software is kinda pretty, but I'm even bored by that. From a functionality point of view it's not too useful. I mainly use it for reading RSS feeds. BTW. I've been running Windows 7 without antivirus for years now. If you run with the default security config, the only way your system can ever get infected is if you give the virus/malware/spyware explicit authority. The same goes for any other OS. Having said that, I'd rather take responsibility for my device and install what I want instead of having Apple tell me what I can and cannot install on my device.
      General C#
      • RE: Windows 8 tablets and the security update nightmare

        @General C#
        Gee, Do you know what 0-Day exploit is? AV software is good on "any" kind of computing device that have ability to connect to net.

        Do you check regularly if your comp. is not infected? (You know, nowadays you are more likly to get zombied, and puged into bootnet, that get infected by virus that will change your wallpaper).
        przemoli