Windows 10 should never reboot your PC without your express permission, researchers conclude

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If you think Windows should never, ever update while you’re using it, a new survey by the University College, London agrees with you.

In a survey of 93 participants, the study found that Windows 10 Home’s WIndows Update patching experience proved frustrating, in part because users simply weren’t familiar with the tools that Microsoft provided for automatically updating their PCs. Windows itself also provided limited information to assist users in making decisions on when to allow patches, and its built-in tools were inadequate, the researchers said.

The three authors (Jason Morris, Ingolf Becker, and Simon Parkin) recommended that operating systems like Windows 10 obtain explicit permission for restarts to apply Windows Update patches.

The paper, though, acknowledges the fundamental tension at the heart of providing updates. Microsoft’s approach of choosing unilaterally when to fix bugs, patch vulnerabilities, and provide new features means users lose a little control of their PCs.

“Crucially, the system operates independently of the user’s working context,” the paper said. “The outcome is a maximally secure system, but one that impedes the primary task. We suggest that the update model in Windows 10 Home Edition sits towards this end of the spectrum.”

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