Microsoft Facing IT Manager Resistance to Automatic Windows 10 Updates

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-11-07 Print this article Print
Windows 10 Update

After the Microsoft response, Bradley issued an update to the petition and expressed hope that the promise of better communication would answer the questions. However, just in case it doesn't, she also included instructions on how to edit the computer's registry so that automatic updates won't be installed.

To some extent, the root of this issue is that Microsoft has changed the way in which updates are applied. Windows Updates used to install a long list of small updates to fix specific problems, but now the process is less granular. In fact, now the process is much like the upgrade process for Apple's iOS in which you simply install a new copy of the entire operating system for a major update.

That means that when you look at the Windows Update screen (which is now under the "Settings" tab), you may see a few security updates, but otherwise you'll likely see simply a single large update for all of Windows.

While there are advantages to the new approach because it makes updates themselves more reliable, it also eliminates the ability to decline specific updates to Windows that may create problems for a specific system. This, in turn, means that testing is critical for business users who need to keep productivity up and who can't afford long periods of downtime.

For current Windows 10 users, the update will happen transparently unless the computer has been set so that it doesn't do this, which can be done using the registry setting provided by Bradley. In addition, updates may be handled somewhat differently at large enterprises with corporate accounts.

But so far what's missing is a sure-fire way for business users to manage their Windows updates in a way that doesn't break things, to phase in update delivery to ensure that the network is ready and to make sure users are trained to what the updates will do to their computers.

Even when the updates are targeted to existing Windows 10 computers, the differences to the user interface can be significant. The start menu is changing over time. The way that Cortana works is changing, and so are other features of Windows 10. While most of these changes won't create a catastrophe if they arrive unexpectedly, there's always the potential that they will.

What business users need right now is simply a way to update a few computers to the current version of Windows 10 long enough for testing, but to delay the updates to the other computers in the business for a month or two. That way, any operational problems will show up either in local testing or in the wider audience of Windows business users everywhere. Then comes the time for updates.

Unfortunately, Myerson's blog entry, while hopeful, didn't really promise a way to get time to test before implementation. That time is what business users need and Microsoft needs to find a way to provide it for them.


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