Painless Windows Updates: the great lie of Windows 8

I've just sat here doing nothing for 20 minutes in the busiest part of my day. Why? Because of Windows sodding Update.

I was there at the Build conference in 2011 when Microsoft promised the problem of Windows Update interrupting your work day would be a thing of the past with Windows 8. The rotten, stinking liars.

Windows Update has, if anything, got worse. True, it no longer nags you from the System Tray when there are new updates to install. Now the warning is far too subtly placed on the Settings panel that I barely ever open.

My PC was going to be about as much use as a Bible to Richard Dawkins for the foreseeable future

I rarely ever turn my laptop off - just shut the lid and put it to sleep - so usually the first time I even know I've got updates to install is when I get the pop-up ultimatum saying I've got 20 minutes to save all my work or it's going to install them anyway. And that, of course, is always the moment you're heading off to give a PowerPoint presentation, or there's a massive breaking news story, or some other event that makes rebooting my PC a hideous inconvenience.

This morning, my PC had slowed to a crawl and I decided to reboot, and was presented with the option to "restart" or "update and restart". I chose the latter to avoid the inevitable ultimatum later in the day, but, of course, you get no warning of just how many updates Windows has sucked down from the mothership and plans to install. It turns out this morning there were no fewer than 42 of them.

At this point, I put my feet up and started reading the newspaper, because my PC was going to be about as much use as a Bible to Richard Dawkins for the foreseeable future.

Why are we given no clear warning of how many updates await us? Why is Windows Update still such an unbearable pain in the backside? Microsoft, I'm sending you the invoice for the life I've lost. And I want interest.

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