A while back I wrote a post explaining why I believe Microsoft’s Windows Update procedure needs a lot of work.
At the time I was hopeful they’d have their act together by now, but I’m afraid that simply isn’t the case.
Virtually every Windows Update they’ve released this year has been buggy and caused problems for a significant percentage of Windows users.
In short, the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.
In fact, one recent update was so bad that one of Microsoft’s recommended “fixes” was to reset the machine’s Windows installation.
I occasionally recommend a Windows reset myself to fix various stubborn issues when the situation justifies it, but there’s really no excuse for ever having to reset an entire Windows installation just to fix a buggy Windows Update.
That’s like having to overhaul your car’s engine because a tune-up went haywire.
I believe Microsoft needs to back off from their aggressive Windows Update schedule until they can manage to take better control of the process. Here are a few ways they could start:
1 – Security updates and important maintenance updates should ALWAYS take priority over feature updates.
At the very least, new feature updates should never be released while there are still outstanding known bugs in the underlying operating system.
2 – The upgrade process itself should be easier for the average person to use and control.
Except in cases when a serious security fix needs to be installed ASAP, the user should always have the option to delay the installation of newly released updates until they can feel reasonably certain that any bugs in those updates have been reported and fixed.
3 – Having to run Windows Update multiple times in order to get a single failing update to finally install is absolutely ludicrous, and it happens far too often. Just sayin’.
4 – Updates should be thoroughly tested and vetted on as many test machines as possible before they’re released to the general public.
Yes, I know Microsoft has a fairly large number of beta testers participating in their “Windows Insider” program – I’m actually one of them. But they need to figure out a way to expand that program in a big way.
Since there are currently more than 1.6 billion devices running Windows, testing updates on just a relatively few machines just doesn’t cut it in my humble opinion.
One easy way to increase that number substantially would be to pay people a cash payment in exchange for their assistance. And it would be money well spent considering how much bug-free update releases would increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
5 – Rolling back a bad update should literally be as easy as restarting your machine.
I realize there’s no way Microsoft will ever be able to completely eradicate all buggy updates.
Regardless of how diligent they become they’ll always have a buggy update slip through on (hopefully) very rare occasions.
But that being said, a bad update should never ruin a user’s entire day. In fact, recovering from one should ALWAYS be easy.
There’s no reason why Microsoft couldn’t add a new screen to the boot process that says “We just installed a new update on your device. Would you like to remove it?” and have Windows display that screen on the next boot after every update.
And even if the user declines the option to remove a recently installed update that option should always be available somewhere in the Settings app.
Bottom line: I believe Windows is a decent operating system overall, but Microsoft’s apparent refusal to give the Windows Update process the attention it deserves is trashing their reputation among their user base. They really need to get this fixed ASAP.
Bonus tip: Until Microsoft gets their act together in regards to the Windows Update procedure you can still protect yourself from buggy updates by creating System Image Backups on a regular basis. These posts explain how.