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Academics Say MS Updates Confuse Win10 Home Users

A recent UK academic study finds Windows 10 Home users mostly unaware about Windows Update controls. The overall update process is confusing them, too. That’s why this post is entitled academics say MS updates confuse Win10 Home users. The paper comes from the Workshop on Usable Security (San Diego, CA, 2/24/2019). It includes a Windows Home update process flowchart, reproduced here:

The sheer number of boxes and arrows shows that words like quick, simple and easy don’t necessarily apply to the Win10 Home update process.
[Click image for full-sized view. Source: WUS Paper.]

Why Academics Say MS Updates Confuse Win10 Home Users

The paper’s abstract ticks off the reasons why Win10 users are baffled, and sometimes unhappy, about the update process. If a user sets a specific restart time, the OS will restart then even if the machine is in use. Just over one-quarter (28%) of Win10 Home users know about “Restart outside active hours.” Users are blissfully unaware that “quality updates” are mostly bug fixes. Their perception of updates is that they primarily add features and functions to Windows.

There’s more. Half the surveyed population reported unexpected restarts. Half reported that concern about the state of their PC increases as the time to complete an update rises. Users with prior negative experiences with updates were less likely to believe themselves able to control the update process.

Conclusions from the study include the following:

  • The Windows 10 Home update process frustrates most users
  • Most users don’t really understand what goes on during that process, and what updates really do
  • Microsoft doesn’t really offer much help, insight, or information to help Home users understand the update process
  • Surprise reboots during the update process are disruptive and upsetting
  • Microsoft should offer users the ability to delay or defer restarts before a “surprise reboot” occurs

Gosh! I don’t think the update experience is all that different for users of other Windows 10 versions (Pro, Enterprise, and Education). Fortunately, IT people in organizations of any size bear the brunt of this confusion and distress. But the overall sensations described in the study sure seem familiar to me!

[Note: thanks to Windows Report whose March 1 story “Study shows Windows 10 fails to assist users during the update process” brought the study to my attention.]

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