Windows Update: The Best And Worst of Murphy And Schroedinger…
… A few days ago I was in a computer shop when an enraged customer took issue with the store owner. What was he so angry about? That his computer was meant to be fixed but he had switched it on and it instantaneously ran Windows Update and then installed the updates for almost 20 minutes.
I truly felt sorry for the store owner who patiently explained what Windows Update was, how it worked and even offered to sit with the customer and teach him how to use it.
Whilst this was an extreme case of a computer user who has a limited view of how technology should work, one thing is clear. Windows Update can be a source of frustration to PC users.
It’s not that people get frustrated by yet another vulnerability, patch, hotfix or driver update. It’s the inevitable and unavoidable inconvenience that Windows Update consistently causes them.
PC’s are meant to make us more productive, more efficient and yet Windows Update seems to: –
- Download and run updates at the most inconvenient times.
- Either require restart or postponed restart or in some cases force a restart just when we are getting into our productivity groove.
- To add insult to injury, Windows Update then installs said updates at an apparent molasses like pace, requires multiple restarts and after we think it’s complete it reboots and zings us one more time with the “Leave me alone, I’m installing updates” screen.
Today I read and heard several times online and off complaints and frustrations of people who just wanted to get on with their work and were stuck with updates and restarts.
Windows Update and Maintaining Inner Zen-like Harmony
It’s important to start from a perspective that Windows Update is there to protect you and is necessary and desirable. If you are Windows XP user who hasn’t upgraded now that XP has reached end-of-life you are probably missing Windows Update right about now.
To maintain calm in the face of Windows Update appearing just when you are busiest it’s important to know or decide on a few things first: –
- Inevitability – the first step to inner peace is acceptance; accept that Windows Update is a part of your OS / UX and plays a vital part in keeping you, your data and work safe.
- Patch Tuesday – the first Tuesday of each month Microsoft regularly releases any patches and hotfixes. So add a reminder to your calendar for the first Tuesday of each month to run Windows Update and check how many updates need downloading. Give yourself enough time to do it right.
- Default State – by default Windows Update is set to download and install automatically but it is also set to do so from a specific time.
If you want to change this then go to:
- Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Windows Update\Change settings >
next best choice is “download but let me choose when to install them.”
- Then choose a time of day when you are willing to run the Windows Update and sit through the installation and restart process.
NB* Don’t let this become a way of not running Windows Update. Eventually this mistake will catch up with you.
The Warptest POV
As a Windows user I’m a fan of Windows Update and as a Windows 8 user I like the improvements. As I said earlier, if you are a Windows XP user then you are probably realizing that no more updates leaves you unsecured and exposed; it’s time to upgrade.
Remember that the path to harmonious existence with Windows Update is pre-emptive. Be prepared and run Windows Update, don’t wait for it to run when you need to be productive. So …
… and remember if you need help with this or other problems then you can contact me through the comments.