Windows 10 has a serious upgrade problem which is getting worse. But now Microsoft has taken decisive action in the most welcome and unexpected of ways…
In a new blog post titled “Improving the Windows 10 update experience with control, quality and transparency“, Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Fortin has announced Windows 10 will scrap its most hated feature: forcing updates down users’ throats.
“We are excited to announce significant changes in the Windows update process, changes designed to improve the experience, put the user in more control, and improve the quality of Windows updates,” Forlan explained. “We have heard clear feedback that the Windows update process itself can be disruptive, particularly that Windows users would like more control over when updates happen.”
What this means in practice is starting with Windows 10 v1903 (due in May), users of all Windows versions will be able to decide when updates are installed. This includes the option to delay an update for over a month – essential if word breaks that a new update is causing problems (which is depressingly common).
“We will provide a notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs,” Fortin states. “All customers will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they check for updates or to pause updates for up to 35 days.”
Better still, this applies to both minor updates and major feature upgrades. With the latter, users will be advised what the upgrade includes with the option to download or delay its installation. This is huge news given updates have been known to permanently delete personal data.
Problems? Just one.
Fortin says PCs reaching their end of service will not be able to delay updates because “keeping [older] machines supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health”. This is a cop-out because bad updates impact performance and older machines are less capable of handling that. Personally, I’d be more hesitant to install updates on older PCs than new ones.
Despite this, the scale of Microsoft’s 180 here is remarkable. Ever since Windows 10’s release in 2015, its unstoppable upgrades have been by far its most hated “feature” and a dealbreaker which kept millions on Windows 7 (despite its impending death).