Windows 10 users frustrated by automatic updates that restart their computer ‘unexpectedly,’ study finds
- University College London researchers surveyed 93 Windows 10 Home users
- About half of users said they’d experienced their PC restarting ‘unexpectedly’
- Many continue to be confused about how Windows 10’s update process works
- Scientists say PCs should obtain ‘explicit permission’ before installing updates
If you’re frustrated by automatic updates on your Windows PC, you’re not the only one.
A new study has found that a sizable number of Windows 10 Home Edition users have witnessed their computer ‘restart unexpectedly’ at the time of a software update.
Windows users have long complained about Microsoft’s forced updates feature, as it has led to many losing unsaved work, or the updates take too long to complete.
Scroll down for video
A new study has found that a sizable number of Windows 10 Home Edition users have witnessed their computer ‘restart unexpectedly’ at the time of a software update
For Microsoft’s part, the firm has introduced additional features that give users control over when the updates take place.
They’ve also added more prominent notifications warning users of an upcoming update.
But a study conducted by researchers from University College London details how those improvements may not be enough.
Researchers surveyed 93 Windows 10 Home users to gauge their opinions on the software’s update process.
Many users continue to view Windows’ update system as being ‘too complicated,’ according to ZDNet.
Microsoft releases major Windows 10 updates twice a year, as well as some minor updates every month.
Researchers created a flowchart to demonstrate how complicated the Windows 10 Home update infrastructure is for users. They recommend getting user ‘consent’ for each update
Users can control when updates start kicking in by adjusting their ‘Active Hours’ settings, which enables them to set a time period when the update will begin downloading.
For example, if you set ‘Active Hours’ to between the hours of 7am and 6pm, updates will only begin downloading outside of that time period.
However, only 28 percent of survey respondents said they were aware of the Active Hours feature.
Almost half of respondents reported that they experienced unexpected restarts.
Additionally, the researchers argue that the Active Hours feature is largely unhelpful for many users, as the default setting is between 8am and 5pm.
A sizable portion of users prefer to use their PC during weekday evenings, ZDNet noted.
‘From the perspective of minimizing disruption, users need to understand the “active hours” concept and conversely the configuration of active hours should ideally align with their usage patterns,’ the study explained.
‘Failing this, a user cannot reliably expect to leave tasks running outside of “active hours” or expect their desktop state to be fully restored upon resumption of active hours.’
A study conducted by University College London shows how Microsoft could improve its system-wide software updates. Many users believe it continues to be too complicated
Researchers further criticized Windows 10 Home for ‘insufficient notice of restarts’ and argued that Windows should ‘obtain explicit permission for restarts consistently.’
‘We think a notification that describes an update as one that “could take a little longer than other updates” is failing to set accurate expectations to support users in planning around the availability impact of these updates,’ the researchers said.
Despite their frustration around the unexpected PC restarts, users say the latest version of Windows 10 Home is still better than previous versions.
About 53 percent of participants who used previous versions of Windows said they felt the updated version was easier to use.
And 43 percent agreed that Windows 10 updates cause fewer interruptions than before.
WHAT WAS THE WINDOWS 10 FILE DELETION BUG?
Microsoft had to fix a bug in its latest Windows 10 October 2018 update that deleted files en masse for some users.
The software giant was forced to pull the update due to the data deletion issues.
The mass-deletion bug only affected a small number of users – specifically those who had manually turned on the ‘check for updates’ feature in advance of the update’s wider release.
The update was then taken offline just two days after it was launched.
The bug only affected a small number of users – specifically those who had manually turned on the ‘check for updates’ feature in advance of the update’s wider release
Microsoft estimates that the number of users affected amounted to one one-hundredth of a percent of installs, but still regards the data loss as ‘serious.’
The firm believes the bug may have been tied to a feature called Known Folder Redirection.
Known Folder Redirection allows users to redirect folders such as documents, desktop and pictures from the default location.
Microsoft introduced code in the 2018 update to remove these empty and duplicate known folders, but in some cases, there was still some data leftover in the folders.
With the latest Windows 10 2018 reissue, the firm said it included a patch.