Microsoft has flagged major changes to how it delivers software updates in Windows 8, with plans to cut pop-up notifications and prevent data loss caused by forced reboots.
Windows Update group program manager Farzana Rahman said in a blog post that instead of forcing users to restart their machines every time an update is downloaded, Windows 8 would require only one forced restart a month - on Patch Tuesday.
"With this improvement, it does not matter when updates that require restarts are released in a month, since these restarts will wait till the security release," Rahman said.
"Since security updates are released in a single batch on the second Tuesday of every month, you are then getting essentially one restart a month.
"This simplification helps in three ways: it keeps the system secure in a timely manner, reduces restarts, and makes restarts more predictable."
Rahman noted user frustration with the current Windows Update processes, especially where updates are scheduled to run during the night when users are away from their machines.
"We have heard a lot of painful stories of users coming back to their PCs in the morning to find that a restart occurred, and that some important data was lost," Rahman said.
"In other cases, the user doesn't lose data, but needs to restart a job that they were in the middle of (for example, a long copy job)."
In Windows 8, once a security update is made and a restart is required, users will be notified at the log-in screen, rather than via desktop notifications.
Users will be given three days to proactively restart their machines for the updates to take effect.
If three days pass without a restart, Windows Update will still hold back from forcing a restart until it detects that a user is physically at the computer, at which point it will force the issue.
IT administrators will be able to override the new settings, Rahman said.