Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Why Windows 10 Mandatory Updates Shouldn't Be A Major Concern
It has been widely reported, and seemingly acknowledge by Microsoft, that Windows 10 will feature a new mandatory update process that has sparked some concern by many in the tech world. For many the news that Windows 10 updates cannot be stopped comes across as a bit intrusive and shows a lack of end user control, while others are voicing concerns more deeply rooted in Windows history pointing to the fact that in the past updates have been the culprit of many computer crashes and other issues.
The updated Windows EULA reads:
"The software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you. You may obtain updates only from Microsoft or authorized sources, and Microsoft may need to update your system to provide you with those updates. By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.”
In short: Windows 10 will automatically download and install updates and you have no option to switch them off. It is clear Microsoft's intention is that users will be always up-to-date, not only with security patches, but also with feature updates.
While some of this news may be a major concern to most of us geeks, in the long term it will actually end up being great news for the average user and even for businesses. Why you may ask? Because one of the single biggest problems affecting Windows PCs is the risks associated with those PCs not being up-to-date. The holds true mainly in regards to security patches, but the problems also impact incompatibilities that stem from out of date software and drivers, something many day to day users don't thoroughly understand. Now that Windows 10 has complete control over their systems this is far less likely to happen.
The downside to this is clear, the total loss of control over what is and isn't updated on your system and what may or may not be added at a future date. With current versions of Windows, if there is an update a user finds breaks something that they need, they can generally refuse that update for an extended period. We've seen this time and time again with past Service Packs; these are both the most likely updates to break things and the easiest to reject.
There is also the concern that Microsoft may use the new update system to roll out a steady stream of feature updates and other software as they add new capabilities and features to the new operating system. The concern is that users might just find their PCs loaded with new Microsoft related software that they really have no need for.
While both of these may be concerns at the end of the day for the average user the rewards should far out weight any risks! The typical home or business user installing updates likely wouldn't research their updates enough to know which to avoid when installing and which are safe. Even then their is little guarantee that they will or won't work on a given system. Add to that the fact that Microsoft has been much better at releasing stable updates and/or getting fixes out for any that are causing issues and you are less likely to see problems by having automatic updates than you would if you were unpatched.
For us geeks the story is a bit different. We prefer that level of control that allows us to know exactly what is going on with out machines. For those of us that aren't happy with the new changes there will be a couple options. We can either sit and wait for a hack that allows for more control over updates or we can avoid Windows 10 Home and opt for Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, either of which allow a bit more control.