Vista’s Windows Update Needs Two Layers of Functionality

The automatic update functionality in Windows Vista has been really irritating me lately, and here’s why: by default Windows Update is set to install updates automatically at a certain time of day. That would be fine if no update required a reboot of the PC, but some do, and Microsoft still lacks the technology to capture the state of the system, apply the patch, reboot, and restore the system state. I learned early on to turn off this setting or I’d lose my work. The next-best option is “Download updates but let me choose whether to install them” – this works great for having system reboots occur on our own time frame, but it sucks because of one application: Windows Defender.

There’s a new Windows Defender anti-spyware update on an almost daily basis. That’s good for protecting me from spyware, but it’s a hassle because I have four PCs that I work on regularly. Basically every day I have to approve the installation of a Windows Defender update across four computers. That’s just a pain. There’s no good reason why something as simple as an anti-spyware profile update should be in the same category of update as a major system patch. Windows Update needs to evolve into a dual-layer system where minor updates that don’t require reboots can be installed automatically, and major updates require user permission. Or perhaps they could just add an option to not install patches requiring a reboot without user permission? There must be a way for an update to be flagged as reboot-necessary or not. Windows Update has to get better, and smarter.