Researchers confirm ongoing problem with Windows 10 updates | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

16 June,


Researchers confirm ongoing problem with Windows 10 updates

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The last big Windows 10 update, the 'October Update' or version 1809 to be more formal, was something of a disaster for many users. Everything from an Intel driver problem that silenced computers, system crashes and worse of all documents, photos and music files being deleted were reported. So, perhaps it should come as no great surprise that, as we fast approach the April 2019 update, the last one has stuttered badly and as of now only 21.2% of computers running Windows 10 have it installed. This isn't, however, the problem that Microsoft has with Windows 10 updates that I'm most concerned with. A new study has confirmed that the cumulative Windows 10 monthly updates are still annoying and confusing users in equal measure. This is a problem as those updates are the ones that help in keeping the operating system, and the computer running it, as secure as possible. So, what did the researchers find?

Jason Morris, Ingolf Becker and Simon Parkin from University College London published a research report entitled In Control with no Control: Perceptions and Reality of Windows 10 Home Edition Update Features that reveals the impact that updates have in the real world. The researchers decided to investigate how Microsoft implements Windows 10 Home update management through the lens of the experience and perception of the participants in their study. They built a model of the update behavior of Windows 10 that identified the interaction points between the update systems and those users. The results were encouraging in that, as ZDNet reports, 53% of users thought the current update approach was easier than in older versions of Windows 10. Some 43% also agreed that the update process causes fewer interruptions than previous version, although 21% disagreed. That, it has to be said, is pretty much where the compliments end and the problems that Microsoft has still to address properly begin.

The biggest of these is in the automatic restarting of the computer and the 'active hours' feature that enables the user to prevent these restarts from happening during that time. "The pattern of use of almost all users was incompatible with the default setting of the 'active hours' feature" the researchers say, adding that only 28% of the users they surveyed even knew the feature existed. Not surprisingly then, half of the participants reported that they had experienced unexpected restarts. The same number also reported "growing concern about the state of their device if an update took a long time."

This confusion about update management is also reflected in the fact that users were mostly unaware that the monthly (and out of band) updates included bug-fixes and patched security vulnerabilities. Instead, the perception was that the updates were mostly there to add new features to the operating system. This shouldn't matter, of course, as the updates happen automatically so those security patches get installed anyway. But it does matter because experience drives perception, and if that perception is that updates cause problems then users will look for ways to delay installing them. This is mirrored perfectly in the low uptake for the major 'October Update' mentioned earlier.

Microsoft needs to do more to ensure that users are aware of not only the options available to them when it comes to scheduling these automatic updates, but also just why they are so important to the security of their systems and data. The report authors believe that the current update policy is overly static and that restarts should not occur if the system is in active use. This becomes even more important given that not all applications support the Microsoft 'restart' function that would retrieve the application state from before the automatic restart process. They also say that the active hours feature is flawed as it effectively means "the user is in control with no control." By which they mean that prompts that act to shape update installation but don't shape available preemptive controls fail to relate adaptability to visibility. They recommend that the operating system should learn better and more explicit update restart defaults based upon usage activity.

Forbes

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