Microsoft Nixes Third-Party Updates in Windows 8

Windows 8 Start Screen

Windows 8 Start ScreenMicrosoft says that once Windows 8 launches, it will no longer allow updates of third-party software through Windows Update. In a blog post, Farzana Rahman, group program manager for Windows Update, said:

The wide variety of delivery mechanisms, installation tools, and overall approaches to updates across the full breadth of applications makes it impossible to push all updates through [the Windows Update] mechanism. As frustrating as this might be, it is also an important part of the ecosystem that we cannot just revisit for the installed base of software.

Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer for security vendor Qualys, however, told Computerworld that he sees this as a missed opportunity for Microsoft to create goodwill by updating software from the largest vendors and to improve PC security overall. He points to  Adobe’s Reader and Flash Player as good examples. Both have been patched several times this year.

In streamlining updates, Microsoft also plans to minimize restarts and those annoying accompanying pop-up messages. It plans to consolidate restarts around the Patch Tuesday updates, the second Tuesday of each month. The pop-pups and dialog boxes will be eliminated, with notifications displayed in the startup screen. Users will have three days to do a restart. If not Windows Update will do it automatically at a time when no critical applications are running. A big plus: It won’t happen if you are in presentation mode, playing a game, or watching a movie full-screen.

Though CEO Steve Ballmer’s comments at the Microsoft shareholders meeting this week set off a buzz about Windows 8 coming to phones, the company’s PR folks now say that’s not what he meant. Still, a Nokia executive told a French newspaper that it has a Windows 8 tablet coming out next June.

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