The Truth Behind Windows Automatic Updates

Most geeks running Windows disable the OS’s automatic update feature at installation, but in case you never did, or if you remember that dialog box from your distant past, this picture should bring a chuckle out of you.

[Via TechEblog]





24 Responses to The Truth Behind Windows Automatic Updates

  1. “Most geeks running Windows disable the OS’s automatic update feature at installation…”

    Oh, I hope not. That would be bad.

    There is a reason why I can run Windows machines without virus scanners, or any other sort of “anti” software, and without ever having a problem. A bit of caution, combined with installing updates when offered, does the trick.

    You are pretty much doomed to accept whatever Microsoft is offering. As a software developer, even more so, as you need to test with every update a customer might install. You certainly do not want to delay on installing updates that close security holes.

    Of course, for the last couple years, my physical machines are all running Ubuntu, and my Windows installations are all in VMs. :)

    • It always depend on what type of geek you are :)

      I’ve got a corporate patch scanner which automatically deploys patches the day after MS black Tuesday… after manually testing them of course. I also get all patch notifications by email the day they come out.

  2. The thing that annoys me is that, often, is that even if you click Restart Later, it doesn’t just wait until the inevitable restart. Instead, it pops up the same message every few minutes, and, if you ignore it, or happen to be away from the computer, it will go ahead and restart without your permission.

  3. You can have your updates install automatically and still work. And keeping as up to date as possible is good practice. (If you’re worried about things breaking, by all means test them out first, but minor hotfixes typically do not cause problems).

    Vista is nice in that you can delay this up to four hours at a time.

    XP of course was different. However, if the prompt is really annoying you and you really don’t have a minute or two to reboot (think seriously about that) then you can take a few seconds to simply stop the autoupdate service – no more prompts. Just remember to reboot.

    • Updates usually don’t cause problems — except for NVIDIA driver updates. One knocked out my video entirely until I rebooted (of course I had several documents open at the time, so I was typing blind while trying to exit), and another one made it so the settings could not be changed from 640×480 16 color until I rolled back the driver and then reinstalled it.

  4. The thing that annoys me is that, often, is that even if you click Restart Later, it doesn't just wait until the inevitable restart. Instead, it pops up the same message every few minutes, and, if you ignore it, or happen to be away from the computer, it will go ahead and restart without your permission.

  5. "Most geeks running Windows disable the OS’s automatic update feature at installation…"

    Oh, I hope not. That would be bad.

    There is a reason why I can run Windows machines without virus scanners, or any other sort of "anti" software, and without ever having a problem. A bit of caution, combined with installing updates when offered, does the trick.

    You are pretty much doomed to accept whatever Microsoft is offering. As a software developer, even more so, as you need to test with every update a customer might install. You certainly do not want to delay on installing updates that close security holes.

    Of course, for the last couple years, my physical machines are all running Ubuntu, and my Windows installations are all in VMs. :)

    • It always depend on what type of geek you are :)

      I've got a corporate patch scanner which automatically deploys patches the day after MS black Tuesday… after manually testing them of course. I also get all patch notifications by email the day they come out.

  6. You can have your updates install automatically and still work. And keeping as up to date as possible is good practice. (If you're worried about things breaking, by all means test them out first, but minor hotfixes typically do not cause problems).

    Vista is nice in that you can delay this up to four hours at a time.

    XP of course was different. However, if the prompt is really annoying you and you really don't have a minute or two to reboot (think seriously about that) then you can take a few seconds to simply stop the autoupdate service – no more prompts. Just remember to reboot.

    • Updates usually don't cause problems — except for NVIDIA driver updates. One knocked out my video entirely until I rebooted (of course I had several documents open at the time, so I was typing blind while trying to exit), and another one made it so the settings could not be changed from 640×480 16 color until I rolled back the driver and then reinstalled it.

  7. You can create a shortcut on your desktop, that can stops Windows Update for your session, which will stop asking for restart every now and then.
    Right-click on the desktop, «New», «Shortcut». Then enter «net stop wuauserv» in the command field, and finish.
    Next time WU asks you for a restart, click no then double-click your brand new shortcut.

  8. You can create a shortcut on your desktop, that can stops Windows Update for your session, which will stop asking for restart every now and then.

    Right-click on the desktop, «New», «Shortcut». Then enter «net stop wuauserv» in the command field, and finish.

    Next time WU asks you for a restart, click no then double-click your brand new shortcut.

  9. How could I forget this pop up message? And then you’re working on something and it completely restarts the computer while you’re getting some water and your work is lost. Thanks Windows!

  10. How could I forget this pop up message? And then you're working on something and it completely restarts the computer while you're getting some water and your work is lost. Thanks Windows!

  11. How is windows update any more invasive then say the Ubuntu update manager, or OS X Software update?

    Turning off updats will only make you prone to malware.

  12. How is windows update any more invasive then say the Ubuntu update manager, or OS X Software update?

    Turning off updats will only make you prone to malware.

  13. Yes I don’t have automatic updates turned on, but I do have “ask me first” turned on. Then I can pick which I want to update, usually all (I think that’s what the poster meant when they wrote:”Most geeks running Windows disable the OS’s automatic update feature at installation”.
    When the “Restart Now” appears, just ignore it and you won’t get the nag popups.

    BTW I’ve never had a virus or trojan on any of my machines because I keep everything updated, use an antivirus and firewall.
    /bob

  14. Yes I don't have automatic updates turned on, but I do have "ask me first" turned on. Then I can pick which I want to update, usually all (I think that's what the poster meant when they wrote:"Most geeks running Windows disable the OS’s automatic update feature at installation".

    When the "Restart Now" appears, just ignore it and you won't get the nag popups.

    BTW I've never had a virus or trojan on any of my machines because I keep everything updated, use an antivirus and firewall.

    /bob

  15. I was answeing an email when my computer started auto updates. It was a lenghty letter, is is gone for good or can I recover it?

  16. I was answeing an email when my computer started auto updates. It was a lenghty letter, is is gone for good or can I recover it?